Stephens County Criminal Court

Stephens County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Stephens County. See below for more information about criminal cases in Stephens County.

What happens in Stephens County at an arraignment?

In Stephens 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.

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.

Stephens County Criminal Court

Stephens County Criminal Court

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.

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 Stephens 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.

Who is the prosecutor for Stephens County?

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

Where will Stephens County criminal case hearings take place?

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

Required Court Appearances in Stephens County

Any required court appearances in Stephens County Criminal Court must be attended by the defendant. Failure to appear in court at your required date and time may result in the judge issuing an arrest warrant.

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.

I need help for my Stephens 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 Stephens 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 Stephens 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.

Jury Deliberation

In a jury trial in Stephens 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.

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.

Stephens County Criminal Court Locations

  • Stephens County Superior Court

    Address: 70 North Alexander Street, Suite 202, Toccoa GA 30577
    Phone: 706-886-3598 Fax: 706-886-5710

  • State Court of Stephens County

    Address: 70 North Alexander Street, Suite 202, Toccoa GA 30577
    Phone: 706-886-3598 Fax: 706-886-5710

  • Stephens County Magistrate Court

    Address: 70 North Alexander Street, Suite 107, Toccoa GA 30547
    Phone: 706-886-6205 Fax: 706-886-5569

  • Stephens County Juvenile Court

    Address: 70 North Alexander Street, Suite 202, Toccoa GA 30577
    Phone: 706-886-3598 Fax: 706-886-5710

  • Municipal Court of Toccoa

    Address: PO Box 579, Toccoa GA 30577
    Phone: 706-282-3238

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