Davidson County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Davidson County. See below for more information about criminal cases in Davidson County.
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.
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.
Prosecutor in Davidson County
In Davidson County, the prosecutor is an attorney representing Davidson County. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent Tennessee. For the most part, the prosecutor in Davidson County has discretion to both decide whether to file charges and also negotiate a potential plea deal with the defendant.
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.
Where will Davidson County criminal case hearings take place?
Criminal cases will take place at the criminal courts of Davidson County. See here for the location of the criminal courts in Davidson County.
If guilty, who sentences the defendant?
If the defendant is found guilty after the trial, the defendent will be sentenced. In some cases, this can occur at the same hearing the defendant is found guilty in court, in other cases a separate hearing will be required. Often the prosecution will request a particular sentence for the defendant and the judge will determine whether to enforce this sentence or impose a different sentence for the defendant.
In a jury trial in Davidson 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.
Arraignments in Davidson County
During an arraignment in Davidson 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 Davidson 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 Davidson County the defendant may be sentenced at that time or the sentencing may take place at a later date.
Can I request a Plea Agreement?
In Davidson 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.
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.
Required Court Appearances in Davidson County
Any required court appearances in Davidson 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.
Who can help me in Davidson County?
For general information about your case the Davidson 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.
Davidson County Criminal Court Locations
Davidson County Circuit Court
Address: 1 Public Square, Suite 302, Nashville, TN 37201
Phone: 615-862-5181 Fax: 615-862-5191
Davidson County Chancery Court
Address: 1 Public Square, Suite 308, Nashville, TN 37201
Phone: 615-862-5710 Fax: 615-862-5722
Davidson County Criminal Court
Address: 408 2nd Avenue North, Suite 2120, Nashville, TN 37201
Phone: 615-862-5601 Fax: 615-862-5633
Davidson County General Sessions Court
Address: 408 2nd Avenue North, Suite 2110, Nashville, TN 37201
Phone: 615-862-5195 Fax: 615-862-5924
Davidson County General Sessions Court – Traffic Division
Address: 408 2nd Avenue North, Suite 1160, Nashville, TN 37201
Davidson County Juvenile Court
Address: 100 Woodland Street, PO Box 196306, Nashville, TN 37213
Phone: 615-862-7980 Fax: 615-862-7982
Belle Meade City Court
Address: 4705 Harding Road, Nashville, TN 37205
Phone: 615-298-1223 Fax: 615-297-0255
Berry Hill City Court
Address: 698 Thompson Lane, Nashville, TN 37204
Phone: 615-292-5531 Fax: 615-297-2391
Goodlettsville City Court
Address: 105 South Main Street, Goodlettsville, TN 37072
Old Hickory City Court
Address: 3401 Hadley Avenue, Old Hickory, TN 37183