Wayne County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Wayne County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Wayne County.
What happens in Wayne County at an arraignment?
In Wayne County the defendant is brought into court and informed by the judge of the charges that have been filed against them along with informing them of their rights. At this time, the defendant can plead guilty, not guilty or no contest. If the defendant pleads guilty or no contest, there will be no trial and the defendant may be sentenced immediately or at a later date. If the defendant pleads not guilty a trial date is set.
Who is the prosecutor for Wayne County?
Depending upon the case, the prosecutor for Wayne County criminal cases will either be a representative of Wayne 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.
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 Wayne 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.
I need help for my Wayne County criminal case
The best place to get information about your criminal case is from an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint one to represent you which will assist in your case. For general information about your case the Wayne County court clerk is able to provide general information about your specific case (e.g. date/time hearings, mandatory appearance, what will take place and what you will be required to do). The court clerk for Wayne County will NOT be able to provide legal advice for your case, only an attorney can provide legal advice. The court clerk can provide legal information (like the information found on this website) about your case but cannot provide advice about what you should do in your legal manner.
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.
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.
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 Wayne County a public defender will be appointed by the judge if you cannot afford private representation.
Wayne County Criminal Court locations
Criminal proceedings take place in the Wayne County Criminal Courts. A list of the criminal courts are located here.
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.
Required Court Appearances in Wayne County
Any required court appearances in Wayne 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.
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.
Sentencing in Wayne County
In Wayne County if the defendant is found guilty (by trial or plea), the defendant will be sentenced. This sometimes occurrs immediately after being found guilty, but can also take place at a later date. In most instances, a judge will impose the sentence that is requested by the prosecution, but they also have the descretion to impose a different sentence.
Wayne County Criminal Court Locations
Wayne County Circuit Court
Address: 700 Hendricks Street, PO Box 38, Wayne, WV 25570
Phone: 304-272-6359 Fax: 304-272-6348
Wayne County Magistrate Court
Address: 700 Hendricks Street, PO Box 667, Wayne, WV 25570
Phone: 304-272-6388 Fax: 304-272-5988
Ceredo Municipal Court
Address: 766 B Street, PO Box 691, Ceredo, WV 25507
Fort Gay Municipal Court
Address: 3407 Wayne Street, PO Box 336, Fort Gay, WV 25514
Phone: 304-648-5246 Fax: 304-648-5014
Kenova Municipal Court
Address: PO Box 268, Kenova, WV 25530
Phone: 304-453-2206 Fax: 304-453-1601
Wayne Municipal Court
Address: PO Box 186, Wayne, WV 25570
Phone: 304-272-3221 Fax: 304-272-5791