Morgan County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Morgan County. See below for more information about criminal cases in Morgan 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.
Where can I get help for my Morgan 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 Morgan 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
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.
Prosecutor in Morgan County
In Morgan County, the prosecutor is an attorney representing Morgan County. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent West Virginia. For the most part, the prosecutor in Morgan County has discretion to both decide whether to file charges and also negotiate a potential plea deal with the defendant.
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.
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 Morgan County a public defender will be appointed by the judge if you cannot afford private representation.
Morgan County Arraignments
An arraignment is a court hearing. In Morgan County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Morgan 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 Morgan 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.
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.
Morgan County Criminal Court locations
Criminal proceedings take place in the Morgan County Criminal Courts. A list of the criminal courts are located here.
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.
Mandatory Appearances in Morgan County Criminal Court
At a mandatory or required court appearance in Morgan 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.
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.
Morgan County Criminal Court Locations
Morgan County Circuit Court
Address: 77 Fairfax Street, Room 302, Berkeley Springs, WV 25411
Phone: 304-258-8554 Fax: 304-258-7319
Morgan County Magistrate Court
Address: 77 Fairfax Street, Room 202, Berkeley Springs, WV 25411
Phone: 304-258-8631 Fax: 304-258-8639
Berkeley Springs Municipal Court
Address: 271 Wilkes Street, Berkeley Springs, WV 25411
Phone: 304-258-1102 Fax: 304-258-2038
Paw Paw Municipal Court
Address: 121 Winchester Street, PO Box 35, Paw Paw, WV 25434
Phone: 304-947-7476 Fax: 304-947-5373