Williamson County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Williamson County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Williamson 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.
Williamson County Required Court Appearances
In Williamson 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.
Williamson County Arraignments
An arraignment is a court hearing. In Williamson County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Williamson 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 Williamson 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.
Williamson County Criminal Court hearings
Criminal hearings in Williamson County will take place at the Williamson County Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the Williamson County Criminal Court Locations.
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.
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.
I need help for my Williamson 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 Williamson 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 Williamson 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.
Jury Deliberations in Williamson County
In Williamson County, jury deliberations will take place in a jury trial after the prosecution and defense have presented their cases and rested. At this point, the judge will provide a list of instructions to the jury about what they are allowed and not allowed to do and what verdict options are available for them to decide. The jury will be sent to a private room to discuss the evidence presented in the case and attempt to reach a unaminous decision. When a unaminous decision is reached, the jury will inform the judge that they have reached a verdict and will return to the courtroom for the verdict to be read allowed. In the event that the jury cannot reach a unanimous verdict, the jury results in a deadlock and a mistrial is declared.
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.
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 Williamson County a public defender will be appointed by the judge if you cannot afford private representation.
Sentencing in Williamson County
In Williamson 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.
Williamson County Prosecutor
For criminal cases in Williamson County, the prosecutor will be a representative of Williamson County. The Williamson 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.
Williamson County Criminal Court Locations
Williamson County Circuit Court
Address: 135 4th Avenue South, Franklin, TN 37064
Phone: 615-790-5454 (Civil) Fax: 615-790-5432
Williamson County Chancery Court
Address: 135 4th Avenue South, Suite 236, Franklin, TN 37064
Phone: 615-790-5428 Fax: 615-790-5626
Williamson County General Sessions Court
Address: 135 4th Avenue South, Franklin, TN 37064
Phone: (615)-790-5454 (Civil) Fax: 615-790-5432
Williamson County Juvenile Court
Address: 408 Century Court, Franklin, TN 37064
Phone: 615-790-5812 Fax: 615-790-5437
Brentwood City Court
Address: 5211 Maryland Way, Brentwood, TN 37024
Phone: 615-371-2272 Fax: 615-370-4767
Fairview City Court
Address: 7100 City Center Circle, PO Box 69, Fairview, TN 37062
Phone: 615-799-2435 Fax: 615-799-1383
Franklin City Court
Address: 109 3rd Avenue South, Suite 120, Franklin, TN 37064
Phone: 615-794-5362 Fax: 615-591-5633
Nolensville City Court
Address: 7218 Nolensville Road, PO Box 547, Nolensville, TN 37135