Hancock County Criminal Court

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

Hancock County Arraignments

An arraignment is a court hearing. In Hancock County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Hancock 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 Hancock 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.

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.

Hancock County Criminal Court

Hancock County Criminal Court

Can I request a Plea Agreement?

In Hancock 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.

Prosecutor in Hancock County

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

Jury by Trial Right

The US Constitution (Article 3 along with the 6th Amendment) ensures an accused defendant the right to a jury trial. This applies to crimes that have a $500 fine or a potential sentence of six months in jail (aka Serious Crimes). This right to trial by jury can also be waived by a defendant.

Who can help me in Hancock County?

For general information about your case the Hancock 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.

Hancock County Required Court Appearances

In Hancock County, there are both required and non-required court appearances for the defendant. At a required or mandatory appearance hearing, the defendant is required to appear in person before the court. Failing to appear at your required hearing may result in a bench warrant being issued for your arrest by the judge.

Jury Deliberations in Hancock County

In Hancock 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.

Hancock County Criminal Court hearings

Criminal hearings in Hancock County will take place at the Hancock County Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the Hancock County Criminal Court Locations.

Sentencing in Hancock County

In Hancock 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.

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.

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 Hancock County a public defender will be appointed by the judge if you cannot afford private representation.

Hancock County Criminal Court Locations

  • Hancock County Circuit Court

    Address: 1237 Main Street, PO Box 347, Sneedville, TN 37869
    Phone: 423-733-2954

  • Hancock County Chancery Court

    Address: 1237 Main Street, Suite 104, Sneedville, TN 37869
    Phone: 423-733-4524

  • Hancock County General Sessions Court

    Address: 1237 Main Street, PO Box 347, Sneedville, TN 37869
    Phone: 423-733-2954

  • Hancock County Juvenile Court

    Address: 1237 Main Street, PO Box 347, Sneedville, TN 37869
    Phone: 423-733-2954 Fax: 423-733-2119

  • Sneedville City Court

    Address: PO Box 377, Sneedville, TN 37869
    Phone: 423-733-2254

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