Wayne County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Wayne County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Wayne County.
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.
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.
Arraignments in Wayne County
During an arraignment in Wayne 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 Wayne 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 Wayne County the defendant may be sentenced at that time or the sentencing may take place at a later date.
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 Wayne 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.
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.
Wayne County Criminal Court locations
Criminal proceedings take place in the Wayne County Criminal Courts. A list of the criminal courts are located here.
Wayne County Prosecutor
For criminal cases in Wayne County, the prosecutor will be a representative of Wayne County. The Wayne 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.
Mandatory Appearances in Wayne County Criminal Court
At a mandatory or required court appearance in Wayne 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.
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.
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.
Who can help me in Wayne County?
For general information about your case the Wayne 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.
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.
Wayne County Criminal Court Locations
Wayne County Circuit Court
Address: 100 Court Circle, Suite 202, PO Box 869, Waynesboro, TN 38485
Phone: 931-722-5519 Fax: 931-722-9949
Wayne County Chancery Court
Address: 100 Court Circle, Suite 201, PO Box 101, Waynesboro, TN 38485
Phone: 931-722-5517 Fax: 931-722-5758
Wayne County General Sessions Court
Address: 100 Court Circle, Suite 203, PO Box 427, Waynesboro, TN 38485
Phone: 931-722-5563 Fax: 931-722-9949
Wayne County Juvenile Court
Address: 100 Court Circle, Suite 203, PO Box 427, Waynesboro TN 38485
Phone: 931-722-5563 Fax: 931-722-9949
Clifton City Court
Address: 142 Main Street, PO Box 192, Clifton, TN 38425
Phone: 931-676-3370 Fax: 931-676-5390
Collinwood City Court
Address: 108 3rd Avenue, Collinwood, TN 38450
Waynesboro City Court
Address: 122 Public Square East, Waynesboro, Tennessee 38485