Fayette County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Fayette County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Fayette County.
Burden of Proof Requirement
In a criminal case in the United States, the burden of proof always requires the prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty. This is a high threshold that must be met by the prosecution when presenting evidence in a case. If the prosecution fails in it’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt the judge must find the defendant not guilty. In a jury trial, the judge will inform the jury what this burden is and their obligation to find the defendant not guilty if they feel the prosecution did prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Required Court Appearances in Fayette County
Any required court appearances in Fayette County Criminal Court must be attended by the defendant. Failure to appear in court at your required date and time may result in the judge issuing an arrest warrant.
What if I can’t afford an attorney?
The 6th Amendment guarantees you the right to an attorney whether or not you can afford one. If you cannot afford one, a public defender will be appointed by the court to represent you.
What is a Plea Agreement?
A plea agreement is a deal made between the prosecution and the defendant in a case, where the defendant agrees to plea guilty to a particular charge in exchange for some concession from the prosecutor. In practice, more than 90% of criminal cases end with a plea agreement.
Right to Jury Trial
For “Serious Crimes”, those that can have a potential penalty of 6 months in jail OR a minimum $500 penalty, the US Constitution guarantees a right to trial by jury. This is guaranteed by Article III of the Constitution and the 6th Amendment. The accused has the ability to waive their right to trial by jury.
Appealing a guilty verdict
A defendant may appeal a guilty verdict to an appellate court. This is not a request to have another trial, but a request for an appellate court to review the case and determine that it was handled in a correct legal manner. There are a number of outcomes in an appeal including an upholding of the conviction, a finding that errors were made resulting in a retrial or resentencing or possibly a complete disimissal of all charges.
If guilty, who sentences the defendant?
If the defendant is found guilty after the trial, the defendent will be sentenced. In some cases, this can occur at the same hearing the defendant is found guilty in court, in other cases a separate hearing will be required. Often the prosecution will request a particular sentence for the defendant and the judge will determine whether to enforce this sentence or impose a different sentence for the defendant.
In a jury trial in Fayette County, after both the prosecution and defense have rested, the judge will give instructions to the jury and jury deliberations will begin. The jury will convence in a private room to discuss and deliberate the innocence or guilt of the defendant. Once the jury arrives at a unimanous decision, they will inform the judge that they have reached a decision. They will return to the court and the verdict will be read aloud. If the jury cannot reach a unaminous decision, the jury is said to be deadlocked and a mistrial will be declared in the case.
Fayette County Arraignments
An arraignment is a court hearing. In Fayette County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Fayette County Criminal Court and the judge will read the charges that were filed against the defendant. The judge will also read the rights the defendant has and ask the defendant if they understand both the charges filed against them and their rights as a defendant in the case. In Fayette County a plea of Guilty, Not Guilty or No Contest may be entered. In a guilty or no contest plea the sentencing of the defendant may take place at the same arraignment hearing or a later date may be scheduled for sentencing. For a not guilty plea, a date will be set for a trial.
Fayette County Prosecutor
For criminal cases in Fayette County, the prosecutor will be a representative of Fayette County. The Fayette County prosecutor reviews all evidence and ultimately decides whether to file or dismiss charges in the case. Most of the time, the prosecutor has leeway in plea negotiations and determines how the case will be prosecuted.
Fayette County Criminal Court hearings
Criminal hearings in Fayette County will take place at the Fayette County Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the Fayette County Criminal Court Locations.
Who can help me in Fayette County?
For general information about your case the Fayette County court clerk will be able to provide legal information about your specific criminal case. Legal information is not legal advice though, the court clerk will only be able to provide information about your case, like date/time of hearings what will occur at the hearing and what you may be required to do in the hearing. They cannot provide advice about what you should do or what the best legal options may be for your particular case. Only an attorney can provide legal advice and this is your best place for information about your specific criminal proceeding. If you cannot afford to hire a private attorney to represent you, a judge will appoint an attorney to represent you, this is most often a public defender.
Fayette County Criminal Court Locations
Fayette County 155th District Court
Address: 151 N Washington St, #102, La Grange TX 78945
Phone: 979-968-3548 Fax: 979-968-2618
Fayette County Constitutional Court
Address: 246 W Colorado St, PO Box 59, La Grange TX 78945
Phone: 979-968-3251 Fax: 979-968-8531
Fayette County Justice of the Peace Precinct 1
Address: 1646 N Jefferson St, La Grange TX 78945
Phone: 979-968-3648 Fax: 979-968-9258
Fayette County Justice of the Peace Precinct 2
Address: PO Box 458, Fayetteville TX 78940
Phone: 979-378-2573 Fax: 979-378-2824
Fayette County Justice of the Peace Precinct 3
Address: PO Box A, Flatonia TX 78941
Phone: 361-865-3500 Fax: 361-865-2975
Fayette County Justice of the Peace Precinct 4
Address: 312 Paulus St, Schulenburg TX 78956
Phone: 979-743-4041 Fax: 979-743-3014
Flatonia Municipal Court
Address: PO Box 329, Flatonia, TX 78941
La Grange Municipal Court
Address: 243 S College St, La Grange TX 78945
Schulenburg Municipal Court
Address: 535 North Main Street, PO Box 8, Schulenburg, TX 78956