Wetzel County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Wetzel County. See below for more information about criminal cases in Wetzel County.
Wetzel County Required Court Appearances
In Wetzel County, there are both required and non-required court appearances for the defendant. At a required or mandatory appearance hearing, the defendant is required to appear in person before the court. Failing to appear at your required hearing may result in a bench warrant being issued for your arrest by the judge.
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.
Can I request a Plea Agreement?
In Wetzel 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.
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.
Wetzel County Arraignments
An arraignment is a court hearing. In Wetzel County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Wetzel 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 Wetzel 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.
Jury Deliberations in Wetzel County
In Wetzel 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.
What if I can’t afford an attorney?
The 6th Amendment guarantees you the right to an attorney whether or not you can afford one. If you cannot afford one, a public defender will be appointed by the court to represent you.
What is the Burden of Proof?
The term “Burden of Proof” means that the prosecutor is required to prove the guilt of the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecutor cannot provide proof of the defendants guilt, then the judge or jury in a trial must find the defendant not guilty. In the United States the principle innocent until proven guilty derives from this that the defendant is assumed innocent and the prosecution has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty.
Wetzel County Prosecutor
For criminal cases in Wetzel County, the prosecutor will be a representative of Wetzel County. The Wetzel 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.
Where can I get help for my Wetzel 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 Wetzel 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.
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 will Wetzel County criminal case hearings take place?
Criminal cases will take place at the criminal courts of Wetzel County. See here for the location of the criminal courts in Wetzel County.
Wetzel County Criminal Court Locations
Wetzel County Circuit Court
Address: 200 Main Street, PO Box 263, New Martinsville, WV 26155
Phone: 304-455-8219 Fax: 304-455-1069
Wetzel County Magistrate Court
Address: 303 Main Street, PO Box 147, New Martinsville, WV 26155
Phone: 304-455-5171 Fax: 304-455-2859
Hundred Municipal Court
Address: 30 Pennsylvania Avenue, PO Box 1100, Hundred, WV 26575
New Martinsville Municipal Court
Address: 191 Main Street, New Martinsville, WV 26155
Phone: 304-455-9120 Fax: 304-455-9123
Pine Grove Municipal Court
Address: PO Box 286, Pine Grove, WV 26419
Phone: 304-889-3351 Fax: 304-889-3304
Smithfield Municipal Court
Address: PO Box 67, Smithfield, WV 26437