Carter County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Carter County. See below for more information about criminal cases in Carter County.
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.
Required Court Appearances in Carter County
Any required court appearances in Carter 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.
What if I can’t afford an attorney?
The 6th Amendment guarantees you the right to an attorney whether or not you can afford one. If you cannot afford one, a public defender will be appointed by the court to represent you.
Who can help me in Carter County?
For general information about your case the Carter 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.
Can I request a Plea Agreement?
In Carter 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.
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 Deliberations in Carter County
In Carter 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.
Carter County Criminal Court locations
Criminal proceedings take place in the Carter County Criminal Courts. A list of the criminal courts are located here.
Arraignments in Carter County
During an arraignment in Carter 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 Carter 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 Carter County the defendant may be sentenced at that time or the sentencing may take place at a later date.
Prosecutor in Carter County
In Carter County, the prosecutor is an attorney representing Carter County. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent Tennessee. For the most part, the prosecutor in Carter County has discretion to both decide whether to file charges and also negotiate a potential plea deal with the defendant.
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.
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.
Carter County Criminal Court Locations
Carter County Circuit Court
Address: 900 East Elk Avenue, Suite 906, Elizabethton, TN 37643
Phone: 423-542-1835 Fax: 423-542-3742
Carter County Chancery Court
Address: 801 East Elk Avenue, Elizabethton, TN 37643
Phone: 423-542-1812 Fax: 423-547-1504
Carter County General Sessions Court
Address: 900 East Elk Avenue, Elizabethton, TN 37643
Phone: 423 542-1825
Carter County Juvenile Court
Address: 900 East Elk Avenue, Elizabethton, TN 37643
Elizabethton City Court
Address: 136 South Sycamore Street, Elizabethton, TN 37643
Johnson City City Court
Address: 601 East Main Street, Johnson City, TN 37601
Watauga City Court
Address: 103 4th Avenue, PO Box 86, Watauga, TN 37694