Oconee County Criminal Court

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

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.

Oconee County Criminal Court locations

Criminal proceedings take place in the Oconee County Criminal Courts. A list of the criminal courts are located here.

Oconee County Criminal Court

Oconee County Criminal Court

I need help for my Oconee 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 Oconee 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 Oconee 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.

What happens in Oconee County at an arraignment?

In Oconee 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.

Sentencing in Oconee County

In Oconee 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.

What is Jury Deliberation?

After both the prosecution and defense have presented their cases, the judge in the case will provide instructions to the jury about what they must decide. The jury will be dismissed to the jury room where they will deliberate about the guilt or innocence of the defendant. After reaching a unaminous decision, they return their decision to the court where it is read aloud in the courtroom. If the jury is unable to reach a unaminous decision, the jury is deadlocked, also known as a hung jury, in which a mistrial will be declared.

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.

Mandatory Appearances in Oconee County Criminal Court

At a mandatory or required court appearance in Oconee 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.

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.

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.

Can I appeal a guilty verdict?

If found guilty, a defendant may decide to appeal his case to an appelate court. The appellate court will not retry the case, they will examine the proceedings in the lower court to make sure they were done in a legal manner. The appellate court can either uphold the original conviction, or determine that due to errors made in the original trial, that there must be a retrial, resentencing or a complete dismissal of the charges.

Oconee County Prosecutor

For criminal cases in Oconee County, the prosecutor will be a representative of Oconee County. The Oconee 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.

Oconee County Criminal Court Locations

  • Oconee County Superior Court

    Address: 23 North Main Street, Room 208, PO Box 1099, Watkinsville GA 30677
    Phone: 706-769-3940 Fax: 706-769-3948

  • Oconee County Magistrate Court

    Address: 23 North Main Street, Room 208, PO Box 1099, Watkinsville GA 30677
    Phone: 706-769-3940 Fax: 706-769-3948

  • Oconee County Juvenile Court

    Address: 23 North Main Street, Room 208, PO Box 1099, Watkinsville GA 30677
    Phone: 706-769-3940 Fax: 706-769-3948

  • Municipal Court of Watkinsville

    Address: 191 VFW Drive, PO Box 27, Watkinsville GA 30677
    Phone: 706-769-5161 Fax: 706-769-4760

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