Knox County Criminal Court

Knox County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Knox County. See below for more information about criminal cases in Knox County.

Mandatory Appearances in Knox County Criminal Court

At a mandatory or required court appearance in Knox 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.

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

Knox County Criminal Court

Knox County Criminal Court

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.

Knox County Criminal Court hearings

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

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.

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.

Knox County Prosecutor

For criminal cases in Knox County, the prosecutor will be a representative of Knox County. The Knox 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.

Jury Deliberation

In a jury trial in Knox 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.

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.

Who can help me in Knox County?

For general information about your case the Knox 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.

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.

Arraignments in Knox County

During an arraignment in Knox 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 Knox 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 Knox County the defendant may be sentenced at that time or the sentencing may take place at a later date.

Knox County Criminal Court Locations

  • Knox County Circuit Court

    Address: 400 West Main Street, Suite M-30, Knoxville, TN 37902
    Phone: 865-215-2400 Fax: 865-215-4251

  • Knox County Chancery Court

    Address: 400 Main Street, Suite 125, Knoxville, TN 37902
    Phone: 865-215-2555 Fax: 865-215-2920

  • Knox County Criminal Court

    Address: 400 West Main Street, Knoxville, TN 37902
    Phone: 865-215-2375 Fax: 865-215-2173

  • Knox County General Sessions Court

    Address: 400 Main Street, Knoxville, TN 37902
    Phone: 865-215-2375 Fax: 865-215-2403

  • Knox County Juvenile Court

    Address: 3323 Division Street, Knoxville, TN 37919
    Phone: 865-215-6400 Fax: 865-215-6546

  • Farragut Municipal Court

    Address: 11408 Municipal Center Drive, Farragut, TN 37934
    Phone: 865-966-7057

  • Knoxville City Court

    Address: 800 Howard Baker Jr. Avenue, PO Box 2749, Knoxville, TN 37901
    Phone: 865-215-7474 Fax: 865-215-7440

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