Van Buren County Criminal Court

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

Required Court Appearances in Van Buren County

Any required court appearances in Van Buren County Criminal Court must be attended by the defendant. Failure to appear in court at your required date and time may result in the judge issuing an arrest warrant.

Van Buren County Criminal Court

Van Buren County Criminal Court

Sentencing in Van Buren County

In Van Buren 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.

I need help for my Van Buren County criminal case

The best place to get information about your criminal case is from an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint one to represent you which will assist in your case. For general information about your case the Van Buren County court clerk is able to provide general information about your specific case (e.g. date/time hearings, mandatory appearance, what will take place and what you will be required to do). The court clerk for Van Buren County will NOT be able to provide legal advice for your case, only an attorney can provide legal advice. The court clerk can provide legal information (like the information found on this website) about your case but cannot provide advice about what you should do in your legal manner.

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.

Where will Van Buren County criminal case hearings take place?

Criminal cases will take place at the criminal courts of Van Buren County. See here for the location of the criminal courts in Van Buren County.

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.

Who is the prosecutor for Van Buren County?

Depending upon the case, the prosecutor for Van Buren County criminal cases will either be a representative of Van Buren 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.

Van Buren County Arraignments

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

Jury Deliberation

In a jury trial in Van Buren 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.

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.

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.

Van Buren County Criminal Court Locations

  • Van Buren County Circuit Court

    Address: 179 Veterans Square, PO Box 126, Spencer, TN 38585
    Phone: 931-946-2153

  • Van Buren County Chancery Court

    Address: PO Box 153, Spencer, TN 38585
    Phone: 931-946-7175

  • Van Buren County General Sessions Court

    Address: 179 Veterans Square, PO Box 126, Spencer, TN 38585
    Phone: 931-946-2314

  • Van Buren Juvenile Court

    Address: 179 Veterans Square, PO Box 126, Spencer, TN 38585
    Phone: 931-946-2153 Fax: 931-946-2190

  • Spencer City Court

    Address: 119 Spring Street, Spencer, TN 38585
    Phone: 931-946-3304

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