Ward County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Ward County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Ward County.
Ward County Criminal Court hearings
Criminal hearings in Ward County will take place at the Ward County Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the Ward County Criminal Court Locations.
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.
Ward County Prosecutor
For criminal cases in Ward County, the prosecutor will be a representative of Ward County. The Ward 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.
Right to an attorney
The US Constitution’s Sixth Amendment ensures the right to an attorney regardless of whether or not you can afford one. In Ward County a public defender will be appointed by the judge if you cannot afford private representation.
Where can I get help for my Ward County criminal case?
The 6th amendment of the United States Constitution provides a criminal defendant with the right to an attorney. As read in the miranda rights, this means that if a defendant cannot afford to hire a private attorney a legal attorney will be appointed to the defendant to represent him at no cost to the defendant. This is often a public defender. In addition, the court clerk for Ward County will also be able to provide general information about a specific criminal case. The clerk can only provide information and is not an attorney so they cannot provide legal advice, only a licensed attorney can provide legal advice about what the best options for are for your particular case.
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.
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.
Required Court Appearances in Ward County
Any required court appearances in Ward 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.
Arraignments in Ward County
During an arraignment in Ward 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 Ward 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 Ward County the defendant may be sentenced at that time or the sentencing may take place at a later date.
Sentencing in Ward County
In Ward 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.
Can I request a Plea Agreement?
In Ward 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.
In a jury trial in Ward 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.
Ward County Criminal Court Locations
Ward County 143rd District Court
Address: 400 S Allen, #202, PO Box 440, Monahans TX 79756
Phone: 432-943-2751 Fax: 432-943-3810
Ward County Constitutional Court
Address: 400 S Allen St, #101, Monahans TX 79756
Phone: 432-943-3294 Fax: 432-943-6054
Ward County Justice of the Peace Precincts 1 & 4
Address: 3600 S Stockton St, PO Box 165, Monahans TX 79756
Phone: 432-943-5060 Fax: 432-943-3138
Ward County Justice of the Peace Precincts 2 & 3
Address: 3600 S Stockton St, PO Box 342, Monahans TX 79756
Phone: 432-943-7237 Fax: 432-943-2630
Monahans Municipal Court
Address: 301 S Allen Ave, Monahans TX 79756
Wickett Municipal Court
Address: PO Box 185, Wickett TX 79788