Hockley County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Hockley County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Hockley County.
Hockley County Criminal Court hearings
Criminal hearings in Hockley County will take place at the Hockley County Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the Hockley County Criminal Court Locations.
What is Jury Deliberation?
After both the prosecution and defense have presented their cases, the judge in the case will provide instructions to the jury about what they must decide. The jury will be dismissed to the jury room where they will deliberate about the guilt or innocence of the defendant. After reaching a unaminous decision, they return their decision to the court where it is read aloud in the courtroom. If the jury is unable to reach a unaminous decision, the jury is deadlocked, also known as a hung jury, in which a mistrial will be declared.
Hockley County Required Court Appearances
In Hockley County, there are both required and non-required court appearances for the defendant. At a required or mandatory appearance hearing, the defendant is required to appear in person before the court. Failing to appear at your required hearing may result in a bench warrant being issued for your arrest by the judge.
Hockley County Prosecutor
For criminal cases in Hockley County, the prosecutor will be a representative of Hockley County. The Hockley 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.
Sentencing in Hockley County
In Hockley County if the defendant is found guilty (by trial or plea), the defendant will be sentenced. This sometimes occurrs immediately after being found guilty, but can also take place at a later date. In most instances, a judge will impose the sentence that is requested by the prosecution, but they also have the descretion to impose a different sentence.
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.
What happens in Hockley County at an arraignment?
In Hockley County the defendant is brought into court and informed by the judge of the charges that have been filed against them along with informing them of their rights. At this time, the defendant can plead guilty, not guilty or no contest. If the defendant pleads guilty or no contest, there will be no trial and the defendant may be sentenced immediately or at a later date. If the defendant pleads not guilty a trial date is set.
A Plea Agreement, sometimes known as a Plea Bargain is an agreement between the prosecution and the defendant, where the defendant pleads guilty or no contest often in exchange for a lesser charge or lighter recommended sentence. A large majority of criminal cases end in a plea agreement. In Hockley County you can inform your attorney to negotiate with the prosecution to attempt to come to a plea agreement, but this is dependent upon the charge severity and also the prosecutors willingness to accept a plea deal.
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.
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.
The Right to Trial by Jury
The Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees the right to a trial by a jury. This is applicable for when the crime can carry a sentence of 6 months in jail OR a $500 fine, these are known as “Serious Crimes”. The defendant can also waive their right to a speedy and public trial.
Who can help me in Hockley County?
For general information about your case the Hockley 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.
Hockley County Criminal Court Locations
Hockley County 286th District Court
Address: 802 Houston St, #316, Levelland TX 79336
Phone: 806-894-8527 Fax: 806-894-3891
Hockley County Constitutional Court
Address: 802 Houston St, #213, Levelland TX 79336
Phone: 806-894-3185 Fax: 806-894-6917
Hockley County Justice of the Peace Precinct 1
Address: PO Box 96, Ropesville TX 79358
Hockley County Justice of the Peace Precinct 2
Address: PO Box 746, Sundown TX 79372
Hockley County Justice of the Peace Precinct 4
Address: PO Box 62, Anton TX 79313
Hockley County Justice of the Peace Precinct 5
Address: 802 Houston St, #105, Levelland TX 79336
Anton Municipal Court
Address: PO Box 556, Anton TX 79313
Levelland Municipal Court
Address: 1709 Avenue H, PO Box 1010, Levelland TX 79336
Phone: 806-894-7975 Fax: 806-894-8029
Ropesville Municipal Court
Address: PO Box 96, Ropesville TX 79358
Sundown Municipal Court
Address: PO Box 600, Sundown TX 79372