Wilkes County Criminal Court

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

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.

Wilkes County Required Court Appearances

In Wilkes 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.

Wilkes County Criminal Court

Wilkes County Criminal Court

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 Wilkes County

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

Who can help me in Wilkes County?

For general information about your case the Wilkes 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.

Jury by Trial Right

The US Constitution (Article 3 along with the 6th Amendment) ensures an accused defendant the right to a jury trial. This applies to crimes that have a $500 fine or a potential sentence of six months in jail (aka Serious Crimes). This right to trial by jury can also be waived by a defendant.

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.

Wilkes County Criminal Court hearings

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

Wilkes County Arraignments

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

Burden of Proof Requirement

In a criminal case in the United States, the burden of proof always requires the prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty. This is a high threshold that must be met by the prosecution when presenting evidence in a case. If the prosecution fails in it’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt the judge must find the defendant not guilty. In a jury trial, the judge will inform the jury what this burden is and their obligation to find the defendant not guilty if they feel the prosecution did prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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.

Sentencing in Wilkes County

In Wilkes 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.

Wilkes County Criminal Court Locations

  • Wilkes County Superior Court

    Address: 23 East Court Street, Room 205, Washington GA 30673
    Phone: 706-678-2423 Fax: 706-678-2115

  • Wilkes County Magistrate Court

    Address: 23 East Court Street, Suite 427, Washington GA 30673
    Phone: 706-678-1881 Fax: 706-678-1865

  • Wilkes County Juvenile Court

    Address: 23 East Court Street, Room 205, Washington GA 30673
    Phone: 706-678-2423 Fax: 706-678-2115

  • Municipal Court of Tignall

    Address: PO Box 218, Tignall GA 30668
    Phone: 706-285-2551

  • Municipal Court of Washington

    Address: 102 East Liberty Street, PO Box 9, Washington GA 30673
    Phone: 706-678-3244 or 706-678-3277 ext 244

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