Whitfield County Criminal Court

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

Jury Deliberations in Whitfield County

In Whitfield 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.

Whitfield County Criminal Court locations

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

Whitfield County Criminal Court

Whitfield County Criminal Court

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.

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.

Whitfield County Arraignments

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

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.

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.

Mandatory Appearances in Whitfield County Criminal Court

At a mandatory or required court appearance in Whitfield 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.

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

Prosecutor in Whitfield County

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

Can I request a Plea Agreement?

In Whitfield County you may be able to enter into a plea agreement depending upon the severity of the charges. It is also dependant upon the prosecution willing to accept a plea agreement. You can ask your attorney to attempt to negotiate a plea agreement with the prosecution to avoid having a jury trial along with the potential for a more serious sentence. Approximately 9 out of 10 criminal cases usually end in a plea agreement.

Who can help me in Whitfield County?

For general information about your case the Whitfield County court clerk will be able to provide legal information about your specific criminal case. Legal information is not legal advice though, the court clerk will only be able to provide information about your case, like date/time of hearings what will occur at the hearing and what you may be required to do in the hearing. They cannot provide advice about what you should do or what the best legal options may be for your particular case. Only an attorney can provide legal advice and this is your best place for information about your specific criminal proceeding. If you cannot afford to hire a private attorney to represent you, a judge will appoint an attorney to represent you, this is most often a public defender.

Whitfield County Criminal Court Locations

  • Whitfield County Superior Court

    Address: 205 North Selvidge Street, Dalton GA 30720
    Phone: 706-275-7450 Fax: 706-275-7456

  • Whitfield County Magistrate Court

    Address: 205 North Selvidge Street, Dalton GA 30720
    Phone: 706-278-5052 Fax: 706-278-8810

  • Whitfield County Juvenile Court

    Address: 205 North Selvidge Street, Dalton GA 30720
    Phone: 706-278-6558

  • Municipal Court of Cohutta

    Address: 5002 Red Clay Road, Cohutta, GA 30710
    Phone: 706-694-3330

  • Municipal Court of Dalton

    Address: PO Box 1205, Dalton GA 30722
    Phone: 706-278-1913

  • Municipal Court of Tunnel Hill

    Address: 210 G Vaughn Parkway, PO Box 159, Tunnel Hill GA 30755
    Phone: 706-673-2355

  • Municipal Court of Varnell

    Address: PO Box 62, Varnell GA 30756
    Phone: 706-694-8800

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