Meigs County Criminal Court

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

What if I can’t afford an attorney?

The 6th Amendment guarantees you the right to an attorney whether or not you can afford one. If you cannot afford one, a public defender will be appointed by the court to represent you.

Meigs County Required Court Appearances

In Meigs 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.

Meigs County Criminal Court

Meigs County Criminal 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 Meigs 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.

Meigs County Criminal Court hearings

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

What happens in Meigs County at an arraignment?

In Meigs 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.

Who can help me in Meigs County?

For general information about your case the Meigs 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.

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.

Jury Deliberation

In a jury trial in Meigs 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.

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.

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.

Meigs County Prosecutor

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

Meigs County Criminal Court Locations

  • Meigs County Circuit Court

    Address: 17214 Highway 58, PO Box 205, Decatur, TN 37322
    Phone: 423-334-5821 Fax: 423-334-7201

  • Meigs County Chancery Court

    Address: 17214 Highway 58, PO Box 5, Decatur, TN 37322
    Phone: 423-334-5243

  • Meigs County General Sessions Court

    Address: 17214 Highway 58, Decatur, TN 37322
    Phone: 423-334-5821 Fax: 423-334-7201

  • Meigs County Juvenile Court

    Address: 17214 Highway 58, PO Box 205, Decatur, TN 37322
    Phone: 423-334-5821 Fax: 423-334-7201

  • Decatur City Court

    Address: 17454 Highway 58 North, PO Box 188, Decatur, TN 37322
    Phone: 423-334-5716

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