Monongalia County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Monongalia County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Monongalia County.
Mandatory Appearances in Monongalia County Criminal Court
At a mandatory or required court appearance in Monongalia 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.
Who is the prosecutor for Monongalia County?
Depending upon the case, the prosecutor for Monongalia County criminal cases will either be a representative of Monongalia County or a representative from West Virginia. After reviewing evidence it is the prosecutor’s decision whether to file charges or drop a case. Most prosecutors have the ability to negotiate plea bargains, and determine how the case will be prosecuted.
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.
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.
In a jury trial in Monongalia 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.
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.
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 Monongalia County a public defender will be appointed by the judge if you cannot afford private representation.
Arraignments in Monongalia County
During an arraignment in Monongalia 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 Monongalia 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 Monongalia County the defendant may be sentenced at that time or the sentencing may take place at a later date.
If guilty, who sentences the defendant?
If the defendant is found guilty after the trial, the defendent will be sentenced. In some cases, this can occur at the same hearing the defendant is found guilty in court, in other cases a separate hearing will be required. Often the prosecution will request a particular sentence for the defendant and the judge will determine whether to enforce this sentence or impose a different sentence for the defendant.
Who can help me in Monongalia County?
For general information about your case the Monongalia 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.
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.
Monongalia County Criminal Court hearings
Criminal hearings in Monongalia County will take place at the Monongalia County Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the Monongalia County Criminal Court Locations.
Monongalia County Criminal Court Locations
Monongalia County Circuit Court
Address: 243 High Street, Room 110, Morgantown, WV 26505
Phone: 304-291-7240 Fax: 304-291-7273
Monongalia County Magistrate Court
Address: 265 Spruce Street, Morgantown, WV 26505
Phone: 304-291-7296 Fax: 304-284-7313
Blacksville Municipal Court
Address: PO Box 55, Blacksville, WV 26521
Granville Municipal Court
Address: 233 Dents Run Boulevard, PO Box 119, Granville, WV 26534
Morgantown Municipal Court
Address: 300 Spruce Street, Morgantown, WV 26505
Star City Municipal Court
Address: 370 Broadway Avenue, Star City, WV 26505
Westover Municipal Court
Address: 500 DuPont Road, Westover, WV 26501
Phone: 304-296-6860 Fax: 304-296-6582