Palo Pinto County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Palo Pinto County. See below for more information about criminal cases in Palo Pinto County.
What happens in Palo Pinto County at an arraignment?
In Palo Pinto 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.
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.
Jury Deliberations in Palo Pinto County
In Palo Pinto County, jury deliberations will take place in a jury trial after the prosecution and defense have presented their cases and rested. At this point, the judge will provide a list of instructions to the jury about what they are allowed and not allowed to do and what verdict options are available for them to decide. The jury will be sent to a private room to discuss the evidence presented in the case and attempt to reach a unaminous decision. When a unaminous decision is reached, the jury will inform the judge that they have reached a verdict and will return to the courtroom for the verdict to be read allowed. In the event that the jury cannot reach a unanimous verdict, the jury results in a deadlock and a mistrial is declared.
Palo Pinto County Criminal Court hearings
Criminal hearings in Palo Pinto County will take place at the Palo Pinto County Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the Palo Pinto County Criminal Court Locations.
Palo Pinto County Prosecutor
For criminal cases in Palo Pinto County, the prosecutor will be a representative of Palo Pinto County. The Palo Pinto 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.
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.
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.
Burden of Proof
The burden of proof is always on the prosecution in a criminal trial. In other words, the prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime. The defense must only prove that there is a reasonable possibility that the defendant did NOT commit the crime. If the prosecution cannot prove that the defendant committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, the jury will be instructed to find the defendant not-guilty.
Required Court Appearances in Palo Pinto County
Any required court appearances in Palo Pinto 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.
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.
Appealing a Criminal Conviciton
A defendant may appeal a criminal conviction to an appellate court. In an appeal, the actual trial is not redone, but the appellate court hears arguments that the criminal case was not handled in a legal manner at the original criminal court. The appellate court can either uphold the conviction, or determine that errors were made and may request a retrial, a resentencing of the defendant or that the charges be dismissed.
I need help for my Palo Pinto County criminal case
The best place to get information about your criminal case is from an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint one to represent you which will assist in your case. For general information about your case the Palo Pinto County court clerk is able to provide general information about your specific case (e.g. date/time hearings, mandatory appearance, what will take place and what you will be required to do). The court clerk for Palo Pinto County will NOT be able to provide legal advice for your case, only an attorney can provide legal advice. The court clerk can provide legal information (like the information found on this website) about your case but cannot provide advice about what you should do in your legal manner.
Palo Pinto County Criminal Court Locations
Palo Pinto County 29th District Court
Address: PO Box 189, Palo Pinto TX 76484
Phone: 940-659-1279 Fax: 940-659-2590
Palo Pinto County Constitutional Court
Address: 520 Oak St, PO Box 219, Palo Pinto TX 76484
Phone: 940-659-1277 Fax: 940-659-2289
Palo Pinto County Justice of the Peace Precinct 1
Address: PO Box 129, Palo Pinto TX 76484
Phone: 940-659-1202 Fax: 940-659-2356
Palo Pinto County Justice of the Peace Precinct 2
Address: PO Box 183, Graford TX 76449
Palo Pinto County Justice of the Peace Precinct 3
Address: 328 North FM 2353, #2, Graford TX 76449
Phone: 940-779-3551 Fax: 940-779-2947
Palo Pinto County Justice of the Peace Precinct 4
Address: PO Box 367, Strawn TX 76475
Phone: 254-672-5381 Fax: 254-672-5590
Palo Pinto County Justice of the Peace Precinct 5
Address: 109 N Oak, Mineral Wells TX 76067
Phone: 940-325-3201 Fax: 940-325-5422
Mineral Wells Municipal Court
Address: 211 SW 1st Ave, Mineral Wells TX 76067
Strawn Municipal Court
Address: PO Box 581, Strawn TX 76475