McMinn County Criminal Court

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

Mandatory Appearances in McMinn County Criminal Court

At a mandatory or required court appearance in McMinn 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.

Plea Agreements

A Plea Agreement, sometimes known as a Plea Bargain is an agreement between the prosecution and the defendant, where the defendant pleads guilty or no contest often in exchange for a lesser charge or lighter recommended sentence. A large majority of criminal cases end in a plea agreement. In McMinn County you can inform your attorney to negotiate with the prosecution to attempt to come to a plea agreement, but this is dependent upon the charge severity and also the prosecutors willingness to accept a plea deal.

McMinn County Criminal Court

McMinn County Criminal Court

Where can I get help for my McMinn 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 McMinn 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.

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

Who is the prosecutor for McMinn County?

Depending upon the case, the prosecutor for McMinn County criminal cases will either be a representative of McMinn County or a representative from Tennessee. After reviewing evidence it is the prosecutor’s decision whether to file charges or drop a case. Most prosecutors have the ability to negotiate plea bargains, and determine how the case will be prosecuted.

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.

Burden of Proof

The burden of proof is always on the prosecution in a criminal trial. In other words, the prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime. The defense must only prove that there is a reasonable possibility that the defendant did NOT commit the crime. If the prosecution cannot prove that the defendant committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, the jury will be instructed to find the defendant not-guilty.

McMinn County Criminal Court locations

Criminal proceedings take place in the McMinn County Criminal Courts. A list of the criminal courts are located here.

Defendant Sentencing

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.

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.

What is Jury Deliberation?

After both the prosecution and defense have presented their cases, the judge in the case will provide instructions to the jury about what they must decide. The jury will be dismissed to the jury room where they will deliberate about the guilt or innocence of the defendant. After reaching a unaminous decision, they return their decision to the court where it is read aloud in the courtroom. If the jury is unable to reach a unaminous decision, the jury is deadlocked, also known as a hung jury, in which a mistrial will be declared.

Arraignments in McMinn County

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

McMinn County Criminal Court Locations

  • McMinn County Circuit Court

    Address: 6 East Madison Avenue, Athens, TN 37303
    Phone: 423-745-1923 Fax: 423-744-1642

  • McMinn County Chancery Court

    Address: 6 East Madison Avenue, Athens, TN 37303
    Phone: 423-745-1281 Fax: 423-744-1652

  • McMinn County General Sessions Court

    Address: 6 East Madison Avenue, Athens, TN 37303
    Phone: 423-745-1923 Fax: 423-744-1642

  • McMinn County Juvenile Court

    Address: 6 East Madison Avenue, Athens, TN 37303
    Phone: 423-745-1923 Fax: 423-744-1642

  • Athens City Court

    Address: 815 North Jackson Street, Athens, TN 37371
    Phone: 423-744-2731

  • Calhoun City Court

    Address: 746 Highway 163, Calhoun, TN 37039
    Phone: 423-336-2348

  • Englewood City Court

    Address: 111 South Niota Road, PO Box 150, Englewood, TN 37329
    Phone: 423-887-7224 Fax: 423-887-7715

  • Etowah City Court

    Address: 723 Ohio Avenue, Etowah, TN 37331
    Phone: 423-263-7088

  • Niota City Court

    Address: 201 East Main Street, Niota, TN 37826
    Phone: 423-568-2584

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