Berrien County Criminal Court

Berrien County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Berrien County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Berrien County.

Can I request a Plea Agreement?

In Berrien 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.

What happens in Berrien County at an arraignment?

In Berrien 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.

Berrien County Criminal Court

Berrien County Criminal Court

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.

Berrien County Required Court Appearances

In Berrien 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.

Who is the prosecutor for Berrien County?

Depending upon the case, the prosecutor for Berrien County criminal cases will either be a representative of Berrien County or a representative from Georgia. 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.

Jury Deliberations in Berrien County

In Berrien 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.

Jury by Trial Right

The US Constitution (Article 3 along with the 6th Amendment) ensures an accused defendant the right to a jury trial. This applies to crimes that have a $500 fine or a potential sentence of six months in jail (aka Serious Crimes). This right to trial by jury can also be waived by a defendant.

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.

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 Berrien County a public defender will be appointed by the judge if you cannot afford private representation.

Berrien County Criminal Court hearings

Criminal hearings in Berrien County will take place at the Berrien County Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the Berrien County Criminal Court Locations.

Where can I get help for my Berrien 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 Berrien 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.

Defendant Sentencing

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.

Berrien County Criminal Court Locations

  • Berrien County Superior Court

    Address: 201 North Davis Street, Room 230, Nashville GA 31639
    Phone: 229-686-5506 Fax: 229-543-1032

  • Berrien County Magistrate Court

    Address: 201 North Davis Street, Suite 250, Nashville GA 31639
    Phone: 229-686-7019 Fax 229-686-6328

  • Berrien County Juvenile Court

    Address: 201 North Davis Street, Room 230, Nashville GA 31639
    Phone: 229-686-5506 Fax: 229-543-1032

  • Municipal Court of Alapaha

    Address: 112 NW Railroad Street, PO Box 385, Alapaha GA 31622
    Phone: 229-532-7475 Fax: 229-532-7474

  • Municipal Court of Enigma

    Address: PO Box 40, Enigma GA 31749
    Phone: 229-533-4185

  • Municipal Court of Nashville

    Address: 1406 Saddle Club Lane, Nashville GA 31639
    Phone: 229-686-6558

  • Municipal Court of Ray City

    Address: 8151 Main Street, PO Box 128, Ray City GA 31645
    Phone: 229-455-2501

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