Brooke County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Brooke County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Brooke County.
Brooke County Criminal Court hearings
Criminal hearings in Brooke County will take place at the Brooke County Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the Brooke County Criminal Court Locations.
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.
Brooke County Prosecutor
For criminal cases in Brooke County, the prosecutor will be a representative of Brooke County. The Brooke 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.
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.
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.
Mandatory Appearances in Brooke County Criminal Court
At a mandatory or required court appearance in Brooke 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.
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.
Who can help me in Brooke County?
For general information about your case the Brooke 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.
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 Brooke County a public defender will be appointed by the judge if you cannot afford private representation.
Jury Deliberations in Brooke County
In Brooke 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.
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.
Brooke County Arraignments
An arraignment is a court hearing. In Brooke County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Brooke 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 Brooke 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.
Brooke County Criminal Court Locations
Brooke County Circuit Court
Address: 632 Main Street, PO Box 474, Wellsburg, WV 26070
Phone: 304-737-3662 Fax: 304-737-0352
Brooke County Magistrate Court
Address: 744 Charles Street, Suite 4, Wellsburg, WV 26070
Phone: 304-737-1321 Fax: 304-737-1509
Beech Bottom Municipal Court
Address: 11 3rd Street, PO Box 100, Beech Bottom, WV 26030
Phone: 304-394-5545 Fax: 304-394-4772
Bethany Municipal Court
Address: PO Box U, Bethany, WV 26032
Follansbee Municipal Court
Address: 872 Main Street, PO Box 606, Follansbee, WV 26037
Wellsburg Municipal Court
Address: 70 7th Street, Wellsburg, WV 26070
Phone: 304-737-2104 Fax: 304-737-3004