Decatur County Criminal Court

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

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.

Mandatory Appearances in Decatur County Criminal Court

At a mandatory or required court appearance in Decatur 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.

Decatur County Criminal Court

Decatur County Criminal Court

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.

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.

Where will Decatur County criminal case hearings take place?

Criminal cases will take place at the criminal courts of Decatur County. See here for the location of the criminal courts in Decatur County.

Jury Deliberations in Decatur County

In Decatur 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.

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.

Where can I get help for my Decatur County criminal case?

The 6th amendment of the United States Constitution provides a criminal defendant with the right to an attorney. As read in the miranda rights, this means that if a defendant cannot afford to hire a private attorney a legal attorney will be appointed to the defendant to represent him at no cost to the defendant. This is often a public defender. In addition, the court clerk for Decatur County will also be able to provide general information about a specific criminal case. The clerk can only provide information and is not an attorney so they cannot provide legal advice, only a licensed attorney can provide legal advice about what the best options for are for your particular case.

Prosecutor in Decatur County

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

What happens in Decatur County at an arraignment?

In Decatur County the defendant is brought into court and informed by the judge of the charges that have been filed against them along with informing them of their rights. At this time, the defendant can plead guilty, not guilty or no contest. If the defendant pleads guilty or no contest, there will be no trial and the defendant may be sentenced immediately or at a later date. If the defendant pleads not guilty a trial date is set.

Decatur County Criminal Court Locations

  • Decatur County Circuit Court

    Address: 22 West Main Street, PO Box 488, Decaturville, TN 38329
    Phone: 731-852-3125

  • Decatur County Chancery Court

    Address: 22 West Main Street, PO Box 488, Decaturville, TN 38329
    Phone: 731-852-3422 Fax: 731-852-3422

  • Decatur County General Sessions Court

    Address: 22 West Main Street, PO Box 488, Decaturville, TN 38329
    Phone: 731-852-3125

  • Decatur County Juvenile Court

    Address: PO Box 488, Decaturville, TN 38329
    Phone: 731-852-3322 Fax: 731-852-3152

  • Decaturville City Court

    Address: 29 East Main Street, PO Box 159, Decaturville, TN 38329
    Phone: 731-852-2034

  • Parsons City Court

    Address: 535 Tennessee Avenue South, PO Box 128, Parsons, TN 38363
    Phone: 731-847-6358

  • Scotts Hill City Court

    Address: 85 State Route 114 South, Scotts Hill, TN 38374
    Phone: 731-549-3175

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