Platte County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Platte County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Platte County.
What happens in Platte County at an arraignment?
In Platte 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.
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 Platte 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.
Who can help me in Platte County?
For general information about your case the Platte 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.
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.
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.
Prosecutor in Platte County
In Platte County, the prosecutor is an attorney representing Platte County. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent Wyoming. For the most part, the prosecutor in Platte County has discretion to both decide whether to file charges and also negotiate a potential plea deal with the defendant.
Platte County Criminal Court hearings
Criminal hearings in Platte County will take place at the Platte County Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the Platte County Criminal Court Locations.
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 Platte County a public defender will be appointed by the judge if you cannot afford private representation.
Sentencing in Platte County
In Platte 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.
Jury Deliberations in Platte County
In Platte 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 Requirement
In a criminal case in the United States, the burden of proof always requires the prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty. This is a high threshold that must be met by the prosecution when presenting evidence in a case. If the prosecution fails in it’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt the judge must find the defendant not guilty. In a jury trial, the judge will inform the jury what this burden is and their obligation to find the defendant not guilty if they feel the prosecution did prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Mandatory Appearances in Platte County Criminal Court
At a mandatory or required court appearance in Platte 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.
Platte County Criminal Court Locations
Platte County District Court
Address: 800 9th Street, PO Box 158, Wheatland, WY 82201
Phone: 307-322-3857 Fax: 307-322-5402
Platte County Circuit Court
Address: 800 9th Street, PO Box 306, Wheatland, WY 82201
Phone: 307-322-3441 Fax: 307-322-1371
Chugwater Municipal Court
Address: 248 2nd Street, PO Box 243, Chugwater, WY 82210
Phone: 307-422-3493 Fax: 307-422-3366
Glendo Municipal Court
Address: 204 South Yellowstone, PO Box 396, Glendo, WY 82213
Phone: 307-735-4242 Fax: 307-735-4422
Guernsey Municipal Court
Address: 81 West Whalen Street, PO Box 667, Guernsey, WY 82214
Phone: 307-836-2335 Fax: 307-836-2601
Wheatland Municipal Court
Address: 600 9th Street, Wheatland, WY 82201