Sumter County Criminal Court

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

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.

I need help for my Sumter 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 Sumter 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 Sumter 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.

Sumter County Criminal Court

Sumter County Criminal Court

Who is the prosecutor for Sumter County?

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

Right to Jury Trial

For “Serious Crimes”, those that can have a potential penalty of 6 months in jail OR a minimum $500 penalty, the US Constitution guarantees a right to trial by jury. This is guaranteed by Article III of the Constitution and the 6th Amendment. The accused has the ability to waive their right to trial by jury.

Jury Deliberation

In a jury trial in Sumter 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.

What happens in Sumter County at an arraignment?

In Sumter 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.

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.

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

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.

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.

Sumter County Required Court Appearances

In Sumter County, there are both required and non-required court appearances for the defendant. At a required or mandatory appearance hearing, the defendant is required to appear in person before the court. Failing to appear at your required hearing may result in a bench warrant being issued for your arrest by the judge.

Sumter County Criminal Court hearings

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

Sumter County Criminal Court Locations

  • Sumter County Superior Court

    Address: 500 West Lamar Street, PO Box 333, Americus GA 31709
    Phone: 229-928-4537 Fax: 229-928-4539

  • State Court of Sumter County

    Address: 500 West Lamar Street, PO Box 333, Americus GA 31709
    Phone: 229-928-4537 Fax: 229-928-4539

  • Sumter County Magistrate Court

    Address: PO Box 563, Americus GA 31709
    Phone: 229-928-4524 Fax: 229-928-4527

  • Sumter County Juvenile Court

    Address: 500 West Lamar Street, PO Box 607, Americus GA 31709
    Phone: 229-928-4569 Fax: 229-928-4572

  • Municipal Court of Americus

    Address: 119 South Lee Street, Americus GA 317097
    Phone: 229-924-3677

  • Municipal Court of Leslie

    Address: PO Box 278, Leslie GA 31764
    Phone: 229-874-1259

  • Municipal Court of Plains

    Address: 101 West Church Street, PO Box 190, Plains GA 31780
    Phone: 229-824-5445 Fax: 229-824-5262

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.