Pierce County Criminal Court

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

Where can I get help for my Pierce 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 Pierce 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.

Pierce County Criminal Court

Pierce County Criminal Court

Pierce County Criminal Court locations

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

What happens in Pierce County at an arraignment?

In Pierce 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 Deliberations in Pierce County

In Pierce 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.

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.

Sentencing in Pierce County

In Pierce 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 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.

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.

Prosecutor in Pierce County

In Pierce County, the prosecutor is an attorney representing Pierce County. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent Georgia. For the most part, the prosecutor in Pierce County has discretion to both decide whether to file charges and also negotiate a potential plea deal with the defendant.

Mandatory Appearances in Pierce County Criminal Court

At a mandatory or required court appearance in Pierce 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 if I can’t afford an attorney?

The 6th Amendment guarantees you the right to an attorney whether or not you can afford one. If you cannot afford one, a public defender will be appointed by the court to represent you.

Pierce County Criminal Court Locations

  • Pierce County Superior Court

    Address: 3550 West Highway 84, PO Box 588, Blackshear GA 31516
    Phone: 912-449-2020 Fax: 912-449-2106

  • State Court of Pierce County

    Address: 3550 West Highway 84, PO Box 588, Blackshear GA 31516
    Phone: 912-807-0189 Fax: 912-449-2105

  • Pierce County Magistrate Court

    Address: 3550 West Highway 84, Blackshear GA 31516
    Phone: 912-449-2027 Fax: 912-449-2103

  • Pierce County Juvenile Court

    Address: 3550 West Highway 84, PO Box 588, Blackshear GA 31516
    Phone: 912-449-2020 Fax: 912-449-2106

  • Blackshear Municipal Court

    Address: 219 Nichols Street, Blackshear GA 31516
    Phone: 912-449-7011

  • Municipal Court of Patterson

    Address: 5535 Gardner Street, PO Box 434, Patterson GA 31557
    Phone: 912-647-5776

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