Chatham County Criminal Court

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

Who is the prosecutor for Chatham County?

Depending upon the case, the prosecutor for Chatham County criminal cases will either be a representative of Chatham 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.

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.

Chatham County Criminal Court

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

Appealing a Criminal Conviciton

A defendant may appeal a criminal conviction to an appellate court. In an appeal, the actual trial is not redone, but the appellate court hears arguments that the criminal case was not handled in a legal manner at the original criminal court. The appellate court can either uphold the conviction, or determine that errors were made and may request a retrial, a resentencing of the defendant or that the charges be dismissed.

Mandatory Appearances in Chatham County Criminal Court

At a mandatory or required court appearance in Chatham 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.

What is a Plea Agreement?

A plea agreement is a deal made between the prosecution and the defendant in a case, where the defendant agrees to plea guilty to a particular charge in exchange for some concession from the prosecutor. In practice, more than 90% of criminal cases end with a plea agreement.

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.

What happens in Chatham County at an arraignment?

In Chatham 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.

Jury Deliberation

In a jury trial in Chatham 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.

Where will Chatham County criminal case hearings take place?

Criminal cases will take place at the criminal courts of Chatham County. See here for the location of the criminal courts in Chatham County.

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.

I need help for my Chatham 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 Chatham 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 Chatham 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.

Chatham County Criminal Court Locations

  • Chatham County Superior Court

    Address: 133 Montgomery Street, Room 304, PO Box 10227, Savannah GA 31412
    Phone: 912-652-7200 Fax: 912-652-7380

  • State Court of Chatham County

    Address: 133 Montgomery Street, PO Box 9927, Savannah GA 31412
    Phone: 912-652-7224 Fax: 912-652-7229

  • Chatham County Magistrate Court

    Address: 133 Montgomery Street, Room 303, Savannah GA 31401
    Phone: 912-652-7181

  • Chatham County Juvenile Court

    Address: 197 Carl Griffin Drive, Savannah GA 31405
    Phone: 912-652-6716 Fax: 912-652-6759

  • Recorder’s Court of Chatham County

    Address: 133 Montgomery Street, Room 116, Savannah GA 31401
    Phone: 912-652-7425 Fax: 912-652-7413

  • Municipal Court of Bloomingdale

    Address: 6 Adams Road, PO Box 216, Bloomingdale GA 31302
    Phone: 912-748-8302 Fax: 912-748-4192

  • Municipal Court of Garden City

    Address: 100 Central Avenue, Garden City GA 31405
    Phone: 912-963-2708

  • Municipal Court of Pooler

    Address: 100 Southwest Highway 80, Pooler GA 31322
    Phone: 912-748-7333

  • Municipal Court of Port Wentworth

    Address: 323 Cantyre Street, Port Wentworth GA 31407
    Phone: 912-964-4360

  • Municipal Court of Thunderbolt

    Address: 2821 River Drive, Room 205, Thunderbolt GA 31404
    Phone: 912-629-4667 Fax: 912-629-4668

  • Municipal Court of Tybee Island

    Address: 78 Van Horne Drive, PO Box 1340, Tybee Island GA 31328
    Phone: 912-786-5635

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