Wyoming County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Wyoming County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Wyoming County.
Where will Wyoming County criminal case hearings take place?
Criminal cases will take place at the criminal courts of Wyoming County. See here for the location of the criminal courts in Wyoming County.
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.
Wyoming County Prosecutor
For criminal cases in Wyoming County, the prosecutor will be a representative of Wyoming County. The Wyoming 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.
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.
Who can help me in Wyoming County?
For general information about your case the Wyoming 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.
Wyoming County Arraignments
An arraignment is a court hearing. In Wyoming County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Wyoming 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 Wyoming 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.
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.
Mandatory Appearances in Wyoming County Criminal Court
At a mandatory or required court appearance in Wyoming 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.
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 Wyoming County a public defender will be appointed by the judge if you cannot afford private representation.
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 Wyoming 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.
In a jury trial in Wyoming 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.
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.
Wyoming County Criminal Court Locations
Wyoming County Circuit Court
Address: 24 Main Avenue, PO Box 190, Pineville, WV 24874
Phone: 304-732-8000 Fax: 304-732-7262
Wyoming County Magistrate Court
Address: 44 Cedar Street, PO Box 598, Pineville, WV 24874
Phone: 304-732-8000 Ext. 218 Fax: 304-732-7247
Mullens Municipal Court
Address: 316 Moran Avenue, Mullens, WV 25882
Phone: 304-294-7132 Fax: 304-294-7224
Oceana Municipal Court
Address: PO Box 190, Oceana, WV 24870
Phone: 304-682-6231 Fax: 304-682-4524
Pineville Municipal Court
Address: PO Box 220, Pineville, WV 24874
Phone: 304-732-6255 Fax: 304-732-0024