Raleigh County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Raleigh County. See below for more information about criminal cases in Raleigh County.
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 Raleigh County a public defender will be appointed by the judge if you cannot afford private representation.
Raleigh County Arraignments
An arraignment is a court hearing. In Raleigh County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Raleigh 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 Raleigh 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.
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.
Required Court Appearances in Raleigh County
Any required court appearances in Raleigh 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 Raleigh County?
For general information about your case the Raleigh 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.
Jury Deliberations in Raleigh County
In Raleigh 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.
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.
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.
Raleigh County Criminal Court hearings
Criminal hearings in Raleigh County will take place at the Raleigh County Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the Raleigh County Criminal Court Locations.
Can I request a Plea Agreement?
In Raleigh 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.
Who is the prosecutor for Raleigh County?
Depending upon the case, the prosecutor for Raleigh County criminal cases will either be a representative of Raleigh 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.
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.
Raleigh County Criminal Court Locations
Raleigh County Circuit Court
Address: 222 Main Street, Beckley, WV 25801
Phone: 304-255-9135 Fax: 304-255-9353
Raleigh County Magistrate Court
Address: 222 Main Street, Beckley, WV 25801
Phone: 304-255-9197 Fax: 304-255-3701
Beckley Municipal Court
Address: 340 West Prince Street, Beckley, WV 25801
Phone: 304-256-1719 Fax: 304-256-1731
Lester Municipal Court
Address: 122 Grandison Road, PO Box 56, Lester, WV 25865
Phone: 304-934-6301 Fax: 304-934-7219
Mabscott Municipal Court
Address: 302 White Stick Street, PO Box 176, Mabscott, WV 25871
Phone: 304-253-5654 Fax: 304-253-5655
Rhodell Municipal Court
Address: 7261 Coal City Road, PO Box 5, Rhodell, WV 25915
Sophia Municipal Court
Address: 100 East Railroad Avenue, PO Box 700, Sophia, WV 25921
Phone: 304-683-4456 Fax: 304-683-3231