Rutherford County Criminal Court

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

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

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.

Rutherford County Criminal Court

Rutherford County Criminal Court

Jury Deliberation

In a jury trial in Rutherford 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.

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 Rutherford 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.

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.

Mandatory Appearances in Rutherford County Criminal Court

At a mandatory or required court appearance in Rutherford 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.

Prosecutor in Rutherford County

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

Who can help me in Rutherford County?

For general information about your case the Rutherford 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.

Sentencing in Rutherford County

In Rutherford 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.

Rutherford County Criminal Court hearings

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

Arraignments in Rutherford County

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

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.

Rutherford County Criminal Court Locations

  • Rutherford County Circuit Court

    Address: 20 North Public Square, Murfreesboro, TN 37130
    Phone: 615-898-7812 (Criminal) Fax: 615-217-7119

  • Rutherford County Chancery Court

    Address: 20 North Public Square, Suite 302, Murfreesboro, TN 37130
    Phone: 615-898-7860 Fax: 615-849-9553

  • Rutherford County General Sessions Court

    Address: 20 North Public Square, Room 101, Murfreesboro, TN 37130
    Phone: 615-898-7831 (Criminal) Fax: 615-898-7835

  • Rutherford County Juvenile Court

    Address: 1710 South Church Street, Suite 2, Murfreesboro, TN 37130
    Phone: 615-898-7972 Fax: 615-217-7120

  • Eagleville City Court

    Address: 126 South Main Street, PO Box 68, Eagleville, TN 37060
    Phone: 615-274-6992

  • LaVergne City Court

    Address: 5093 Murfreesboro Road, LaVergne, TN 37086
    Phone: 615-287-8360

  • Murfreesboro City Court

    Address: 111 West Vine Street, Murfreesboro, TN 37133
    Phone: 615-890-2142

  • Smyrna Municipal Court

    Address: 400 Enon Springs Road East, Smyrna, TN 37167
    Phone: 615-355-5739 (General Sessions) Fax: 615-355-0853

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