Caroline County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Caroline County. See below for more information about criminal cases in Caroline County.
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 Caroline County
Any required court appearances in Caroline 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.
Who can help me in Caroline County?
For general information about your case the Caroline 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.
What happens in Caroline County at an arraignment?
In Caroline 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.
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.
Prosecutor in Caroline County
In Caroline County, the prosecutor is an attorney representing Caroline County. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent Virginia. For the most part, the prosecutor in Caroline County has discretion to both decide whether to file charges and also negotiate a potential plea deal with the defendant.
Can I request a Plea Agreement?
In Caroline 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.
Sentencing in Caroline County
In Caroline 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.
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.
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.
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.
Caroline County Criminal Court hearings
Criminal hearings in Caroline County will take place at the Caroline County Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the Caroline County Criminal Court Locations.
Caroline County Criminal Court Locations
Caroline County Circuit Court – 15th Judicial Circuit
Address: 112 Courthouse Ln, PO Box 309, Bowling Green VA 22427
Caroline County General District Court – 15th Judicial District
Address: 111 Ennis St, PO Box 511, Bowling Green VA 22427
Phone: 804-633-5720 Fax: 804-633-3033
Caroline County Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court
Address: 111 Ennis St, PO Box 462, Bowling Green VA 22427
Phone: 804-633-9550 Fax: 804-633-4065