What to do after being arrested in Franklin, Tennessee
As a Franklin, Tennessee criminal defense attorney I spend a lot of time educating people on the court process and options in General Sessions and Circuit Court in Williamson County, Tennessee.
It’s a scary time and knowing what the process is helps you make an informed decision. After a brief overview of the courts in TN we will discuss General Sessions Courts so you can make an informed decisions after you've been arrested which will help you tremoundously when picking the attorney to aggressively fight for you.
First, you need to bond out of jail. You want to be free when you are fighting your case. If you don't have the money then use what money you have to hire the best attorney you can afford.
If you need a bond company ,I am biased because they're my friends and neighbors, but I know Grumpy's Bail Bond cares and has been around a long time.
Next let's go over the Tennessee Court System:
City Court-which handles non-jail cases such as tickets unless it has General Sessions Jurisdiction also;
Juvenile Court-handles delinquent and criminal matters of those under 18 years of age
General Sessions Court-civil and criminal cases often begin here and bench trials are conducted
Criminal/Circuit Court-where cases sometimes begin or end if not settled in GS, where jury trial take place
Chancery Court- civil and family matters often brought here if not filed in Circuit
Criminal Court of Appeals-where criminal cases may be appealed
TN Supreme Court
TN courts are somewhat unique in that we still have a court called-General Sessions. Other states have small claims court.
General Sessions Court
Specifically criminal cases that begin in General sessions. It’s important to note upfront that each court varies procedurally. For example, General Sessions court will differ somewhat from Davidson County General Sessions. However, all laws are the same with some varied interpretations depending on the District Attorney and the Judge handling the case.
Beyond the Court Systems, Arrested or Cited
You became a lot more interested in Tennessee criminal courts after being arrested. Arrest in Tennessee includes citations, you were given a specified court date to appear in court without being taken to jail, or you were arrested where you are taken to jail.
Fourteen Day Rule
Once in jail you have most likely had an opportunity for bond. If you can’t bond out Tennessee law says you have to appear before the judge within 14 days. This is called the Fourteen Day rule. It’s a good rule so you aren’t sitting in jail without having a chance to see a judge.
So whether you are cited, jailed and/or bonded out you will come to your First appearance in General Sessions Court. The first appearance is to let you know of your discussion date. If you hire us the court allows us to waive your first appearance or discuss settling your case on that date, so talk to us about that.
5 Options on your Trial Date
If your case is one that you can settle your case on your first appearance date (Driving without a license or public intoxication) then you will come back to court. On that date you or your attorney will work to get one of five options:
Negotiate a plea agreement-if you have an attorney he/she will do that for you, if you are representing yourself be careful what you say to the state;
Preliminary hearing-a hearing, not a trial, where the judge listens to the evidence submitted and determines at a lower standard than needed at trial if one a crime was committed and you committed it-the case is then bound over to the grand jury. Waive
Preliminary hearing-Bind Over-skip the preliminary hear and case go directly to grand jury
Bench Trial-the judge, not a jury, hears your cases and decides if you are guilty or not guilty and sentences you.
Continue your case-some reasons might be because your BAC is not back for a DUI charge or some other evidence or conflict;
So those are the options for you for criminal general sessions cases. Sometimes motions are filed in general sessions and sometimes we get cases dismissed in general sessions.
Those dismissals often are the end of your case, however, the district attorney’s office could do a direct presentment to the grand jury. If the District Attorney’s office dismissed or nolle (agrees not to prosecute) then it is finished.
To recap, bond out (Grumpy's Bail Bonds is a great option); understand the court system and where your case is; know your options in court and hire the best attorney you trust and can afford.
We are here to help you. If you need a criminal attorney that will fight for your rights and zealously defend you call 615-Nash-Law.