Effingham County Criminal Court

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

I need help for my Effingham 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 Effingham 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 Effingham 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.

Plea Agreements

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 Effingham 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.

Effingham County Criminal Court

Effingham County Criminal Court

Effingham County Arraignments

An arraignment is a court hearing. In Effingham County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Effingham 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 Effingham 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.

Mandatory Appearances in Effingham County Criminal Court

At a mandatory or required court appearance in Effingham 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.

The Right to Counsel

The Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the U.s. Constitution give defendants in criminal cases the right to counsel/attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney one will be appointed to represent you. Like other rights a defendant has, this one can be waived as well and alternatively you can choose to represent yourself.

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.

Jury Deliberation

In a jury trial in Effingham 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.

Effingham County Criminal Court hearings

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

Sentencing in Effingham County

In Effingham 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.

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.

Who is the prosecutor for Effingham County?

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

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.

Effingham County Criminal Court Locations

  • Effingham County Superior Court

    Address: 700 North Pine Street, Suite 110, Springfield GA 31329
    Phone: 912-754-2146 Fax: 912-754-6023

  • State Court of Effingham County

    Address: 700 North Pine Street, Suite 110, Springfield GA 31329
    Phone: 912-754-2163

  • Effingham County Magistrate Court

    Address: 700 North Pine Street, Suite 250, Springfield GA 31329
    Phone: 912-754-2124 Fax: 912-754-4893

  • Effingham County Juvenile Court

    Address: 700 North Pine Street, Suite 110, Springfield GA 31329
    Phone: 912-754-2146 Ext. 4

  • Municipal Court of Guyton

    Address: 310 Central Blvd, PO Box 356, Guyton GA 31312
    Phone: 912-772-8745

  • Municipal Court of Rincon

    Address: 107 West 17th Street, PO Box 232, Rincon GA 31326
    Phone: 912-826-5745 Fax: 912-826-2083

  • Municipal Court of Springfield

    Address: 130 South Laurel Street, PO Box 1, Springfield GA 31329
    Phone: 912-754-3061

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