Polk County Criminal Court

Polk County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Polk County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Polk County.

Can I request a Plea Agreement?

In Polk County you may be able to enter into a plea agreement depending upon the severity of the charges. It is also dependant upon the prosecution willing to accept a plea agreement. You can ask your attorney to attempt to negotiate a plea agreement with the prosecution to avoid having a jury trial along with the potential for a more serious sentence. Approximately 9 out of 10 criminal cases usually end in a plea agreement.

Where will Polk County criminal case hearings take place?

Criminal cases will take place at the criminal courts of Polk County. See here for the location of the criminal courts in Polk County.

Polk County Criminal Court

Polk County Criminal Court

Defendant Sentencing

At a sentence hearing the judge will inform the defendant of the sentence that will be imposed. This sometimes occurs at the same hearing in which the defendant is found guilty (either by trial or plea agreement). In can also occur at a later date, most often this is due to the complexity of the case where more time is needed to determine the appropriate sentence.

Polk County Prosecutor

For criminal cases in Polk County, the prosecutor will be a representative of Polk County. The Polk 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.

Who can help me in Polk County?

For general information about your case the Polk 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.

Arraignments in Polk County

During an arraignment in Polk County, a defendant appears before the court and the judge reads the charges that have been filed against the accused and also informs the defendant of his/her rights. During the arraignment in Polk County, the defendant can choose to plead one of the following 1) Guilty 2) Not Guilty or 3) No Contest. If the defendant enters a plea of Not Guilty, a date for trial is set. In the event of a Guilty or No Contest Plea in Polk County the defendant may be sentenced at that time or the sentencing may take place at a later date.

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.

Polk County Required Court Appearances

In Polk 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.

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.

Jury by Trial Right

The US Constitution (Article 3 along with the 6th Amendment) ensures an accused defendant the right to a jury trial. This applies to crimes that have a $500 fine or a potential sentence of six months in jail (aka Serious Crimes). This right to trial by jury can also be waived by a defendant.

Can I appeal a guilty verdict?

If found guilty, a defendant may decide to appeal his case to an appelate court. The appellate court will not retry the case, they will examine the proceedings in the lower court to make sure they were done in a legal manner. The appellate court can either uphold the original conviction, or determine that due to errors made in the original trial, that there must be a retrial, resentencing or a complete dismissal of the charges.

What is the Burden of Proof?

The term “Burden of Proof” means that the prosecutor is required to prove the guilt of the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecutor cannot provide proof of the defendants guilt, then the judge or jury in a trial must find the defendant not guilty. In the United States the principle innocent until proven guilty derives from this that the defendant is assumed innocent and the prosecution has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty.

Polk County Criminal Court Locations

  • Polk County 258th District Court

    Address: 101 W Mill St, #216, Livingston TX 77351
    Phone: 936-327-6814 Fax: 936-327-6851

  • Polk County 411th District Court

    Address: 101 W Mill St, #216, Livingston TX 77351
    Phone: 936-327-6814 Fax: 936-327-6851

  • Polk County Constitutional Court

    Address: PO Drawer 2119, Livingston TX 77351
    Phone: 936-327-6805 Fax: 936-327-6874

  • Polk County Court at Law

    Address: PO Drawer 2119, Livingston TX 77351
    Phone: 936-327-6805 Fax: 936-327-6874

  • Polk County Justice of the Peace Precinct 1

    Address: 101 W Mill St, #152, Livingston TX 77351
    Phone: 936-327-6841 Fax: 936-327-6884

  • Polk County Justice of the Peace Precinct 2

    Address: PO Box 1417, Onalaska TX 77360
    Phone: 936-646-3674 Fax: 936-646-4197

  • Polk County Justice of the Peace Precinct 3

    Address: 201 W Ben Franklin, Corrigan TX 75939
    Phone: 936-398-4114 Fax: 936-398-5574

  • Polk County Justice of the Peace Precinct 4

    Address: 602 E Church St, #502, Livingston TX 77351
    Phone: 936-327-6865 Fax: 936-327-6861

  • Corrigan Municipal Court

    Address: 1001 N Home St, Corrigan TX 75939
    Phone: 936-398-5923

  • Goodrich Municipal Court

    Address: PO Box 277, Goodrich TX 77335
    Phone: 936-365-6841

  • Livingston Municipal Court

    Address: 200 W Church St, Livingston TX 77351
    Phone: 936-327-9322

  • Onalaska Municipal Court

    Address: 372 South FM 356, PO Box 880, Onalaska TX 77360
    Phone: 936-646-5376 Fax: 936-646-2833

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