Hamilton County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Hamilton County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Hamilton County.
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.
Hamilton County Prosecutor
For criminal cases in Hamilton County, the prosecutor will be a representative of Hamilton County. The Hamilton County prosecutor reviews all evidence and ultimately decides whether to file or dismiss charges in the case. Most of the time, the prosecutor has leeway in plea negotiations and determines how the case will be prosecuted.
Appealing a Criminal Conviciton
A defendant may appeal a criminal conviction to an appellate court. In an appeal, the actual trial is not redone, but the appellate court hears arguments that the criminal case was not handled in a legal manner at the original criminal court. The appellate court can either uphold the conviction, or determine that errors were made and may request a retrial, a resentencing of the defendant or that the charges be dismissed.
What is the Burden of Proof?
The term “Burden of Proof” means that the prosecutor is required to prove the guilt of the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecutor cannot provide proof of the defendants guilt, then the judge or jury in a trial must find the defendant not guilty. In the United States the principle innocent until proven guilty derives from this that the defendant is assumed innocent and the prosecution has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty.
Jury Deliberations in Hamilton County
In Hamilton 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.
Mandatory Appearances in Hamilton County Criminal Court
At a mandatory or required court appearance in Hamilton 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.
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.
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 Hamilton County criminal case hearings take place?
Criminal cases will take place at the criminal courts of Hamilton County. See here for the location of the criminal courts in Hamilton 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.
Hamilton County Arraignments
An arraignment is a court hearing. In Hamilton County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Hamilton 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 Hamilton 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.
Who can help me in Hamilton County?
For general information about your case the Hamilton 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.
Hamilton County Criminal Court Locations
Hamilton County Circuit Court
Address: 625 Georgia Avenue, Room 500, Chattanooga, TN 37402
Phone: 423-209-6700 Fax: 423-209-6701
Hamilton County Chancery Court
Address: 625 Georgia Avenue, Chattanooga, TN 37402
Phone: 423-209-6600 Fax: 423-209-6601
Hamilton County Criminal Court
Address: 600 Market Street, Room 102, Chattanooga, TN 37402
Phone: 423-209-7500 Fax: 423-209-7501
Hamilton County General Sessions Court
Address: 600 Market Street, Room 111, Chattanooga, TN 37402
Phone: 423-209-7630 Fax: 423-209-7631
Hamilton County Juvenile Court
Address: 1600 East 3rd Street, Chattanooga, TN 37404
Phone: 423-209-5100 Fax: 423-697-7876
Chattanooga City Court
Address: 600 Market Street, Room 104, Chattanooga, TN 37402
Phone: 423-425-6311 Fax: 423-757-4999
Collegedale City Court
Address: 4910 Swinyar Drive, Collegedale, TN 37363
Phone: 423-468-1891 Fax: 423-396-3138
East Ridge City Court
Address: 1517 Tombras Avenue, East Ridge, TN 37412
Phone: 423-867-2701 Fax: 423-867-2712
Lakesite City Court
Address: 9201 Rocky Point Road, Lakesite, TN 37379
Lookout Mountain City Court
Address: 710 Scenic Highway, PO Box 111, Lookout Mountain, TN 37350
Red Bank City Court
Address: 3117 Dayton Boulevard, Red Bank, TN 37415
Signal Mountain City Court
Address: 1111 Ridgeway Avenue, PO Box 355, Signal Mountain, TN 37377
Soddy Daisy City Court
Address: 9835 Dayton Pike, Soddy-Daisy, TN 37379