Benton County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Benton County. See below for more information about criminal cases in Benton County.
Benton County Criminal Court locations
Criminal proceedings take place in the Benton County Criminal Courts. A list of the criminal courts are located here.
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 Benton County a public defender will be appointed by the judge if you cannot afford private representation.
Can I request a Plea Agreement?
In Benton 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 Benton County?
For general information about your case the Benton 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.
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.
Who is the prosecutor for Benton County?
Depending upon the case, the prosecutor for Benton County criminal cases will either be a representative of Benton County or a representative from Tennessee. 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.
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.
Arraignments in Benton County
During an arraignment in Benton County, a defendant appears before the court and the judge reads the charges that have been filed against the accused and also informs the defendant of his/her rights. During the arraignment in Benton County, the defendant can choose to plead one of the following 1) Guilty 2) Not Guilty or 3) No Contest. If the defendant enters a plea of Not Guilty, a date for trial is set. In the event of a Guilty or No Contest Plea in Benton County the defendant may be sentenced at that time or the sentencing may take place at a later date.
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.
Sentencing in Benton County
In Benton 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.
Mandatory Appearances in Benton County Criminal Court
At a mandatory or required court appearance in Benton 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.
In a jury trial in Benton 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.
Benton County Criminal Court Locations
Benton County Circuit Court
Address: 1 East Court Square, Room 207, Camden, TN 38320
Benton County Chancery Court
Address: 1 East Court Square, Room 206, Camden, TN 38320
Phone: 731-584-4435 Fax: 731-584-1407
Benton County General Sessions Court
Address: 1 East Court Square, Room 209, Camden, TN 38320
Benton County Juvenile Court
Address: 1 East Court Square, Room 207, Camden, TN 38320
Big Sandy City Court
Address: 65 Front Street, Big Sandy, TN 38221
Camden City Court
Address: PO Box 779, Camden, TN 38320
Phone: 731-584-4622 Fax: 731-584-3858