Wilson County Criminal Court

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

Wilson County Criminal Court hearings

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

The Right to Counsel

The Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the U.s. Constitution give defendants in criminal cases the right to counsel/attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney one will be appointed to represent you. Like other rights a defendant has, this one can be waived as well and alternatively you can choose to represent yourself.

Wilson County Criminal Court

Wilson County Criminal Court

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.

Mandatory Appearances in Wilson County Criminal Court

At a mandatory or required court appearance in Wilson 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.

Who can help me in Wilson County?

For general information about your case the Wilson 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.

Arraignments in Wilson County

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

Who is the prosecutor for Wilson County?

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

Burden of Proof Requirement

In a criminal case in the United States, the burden of proof always requires the prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty. This is a high threshold that must be met by the prosecution when presenting evidence in a case. If the prosecution fails in it’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt the judge must find the defendant not guilty. In a jury trial, the judge will inform the jury what this burden is and their obligation to find the defendant not guilty if they feel the prosecution did prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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.

Jury Deliberations in Wilson County

In Wilson 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.

Defendant Sentencing

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.

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.

Wilson County Criminal Court Locations

  • Wilson County Circuit Court

    Address: 134 South College Street, Room 100, Lebanon, TN 37087
    Phone: 615-466-5315

  • Wilson County Chancery Court

    Address: 134 South College Street, Room 200, Lebanon, TN 37087
    Phone: 615-444-2835

  • Wilson County Criminal Court

    Address: 115 East High Street, Lebanon, TN 37087
    Phone: 615-444-1488

  • Wilson County General Sessions Court, Division 3 (Family Court)

    Address: 134 South College Street, Room 100, Lebanon, TN 37087
    Phone: 615-466-5315

  • Wilson County General Sessions Court, Divisions 1 and 2

    Address: 115 East High Street, Lebanon, TN 37087
    Phone: 615-444-2045

  • Wilson County Juvenile Court

    Address: 115 East High Street, Lebanon, TN 37087
    Phone: 615-444-2114

  • Lebanon City Court

    Address: 406 Tennessee Boulevard, Lebanon, TN 37087
    Phone: 615-443-2831

  • Mount Juliet City Court

    Address: 2425 North Mt. Juliet Road, PO Box 322, Mount Juliet, TN 37121
    Phone: 615-754-2550

  • Watertown City Court

    Address: 112 Public Square, Watertown, TN 37184
    Phone: 615-237-3225

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