Mathews County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Mathews County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Mathews County.
Mandatory Appearances in Mathews County Criminal Court
At a mandatory or required court appearance in Mathews County, the defendant must appear before the court. In the event of a “Failure to Appear” the judge may issue a warrant for the arrest of the defendant. Note: not all criminal hearings are mandatory, in a non-mandatory hearing an attorney may appear on your behalf without you being in court.
Mathews County Arraignments
An arraignment is a court hearing. In Mathews County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Mathews County Criminal Court and the judge will read the charges that were filed against the defendant. The judge will also read the rights the defendant has and ask the defendant if they understand both the charges filed against them and their rights as a defendant in the case. In Mathews County a plea of Guilty, Not Guilty or No Contest may be entered. In a guilty or no contest plea the sentencing of the defendant may take place at the same arraignment hearing or a later date may be scheduled for sentencing. For a not guilty plea, a date will be set for a trial.
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.
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.
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.
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 Mathews 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.
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.
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 Mathews County a public defender will be appointed by the judge if you cannot afford private representation.
Where can I get help for my Mathews 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 Mathews 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.
In a jury trial in Mathews 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.
Where will Mathews County criminal case hearings take place?
Criminal cases will take place at the criminal courts of Mathews County. See here for the location of the criminal courts in Mathews County.
Prosecutor in Mathews County
In Mathews County, the prosecutor is an attorney representing Mathews County. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent Virginia. For the most part, the prosecutor in Mathews County has discretion to both decide whether to file charges and also negotiate a potential plea deal with the defendant.
Mathews County Criminal Court Locations
Mathews County Circuit Court – 9th Judicial Circuit
Address: 10622 Buckley Hall Rd, PO Box 463, Mathews VA 23109
Phone: 804-725-2550 Fax: 804-725-7456
Mathews County General District Court – 9th Judicial District
Address: 73 Bowden St, PO Box 169, Saluda VA 23149
Phone: 804-758-4312 Fax: 804-758-4343
Mathews County Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court
Address: 7400 Justice Dr, #204, PO Box 630, Gloucester VA 23016
Phone: 804-693-4850 Fax: 804-693-7904