What is the Criminal Defense Process in Tennessee?

Have you ever been arrested or charged with a crime in Tennessee? If so, you’re likely feeling overwhelmed and confused about what to do next. The criminal justice system can be complex and intimidating, even for those who have never been in trouble with the law before.

At Nash Law, we understand the stress and anxiety that comes with facing criminal charges. We are dedicated to providing our clients with the highest quality legal representation and guidance throughout the criminal defense process.

In this blog post, we will provide a general overview of the criminal defense process in Tennessee. Understanding the criminal defense process can help you make informed decisions about your case. It is important to remember that you have rights, and you should not hesitate to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney if you have been arrested or charged with a crime.

The Stages of a Criminal Defense Process in Tennessee

The criminal defense process in Tennessee can be broken down into several general stages:

The Initial Arrest

If you are arrested for a crime in Tennessee, the police will take you into custody and book you into jail. You will be fingerprinted, photographed, and asked to provide basic biographical information. You will also be informed of your constitutional rights, which include the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney.

It is important to exercise your right to remain silent and request your attorney immediately. Do not answer any questions about the alleged crime or the circumstances surrounding your arrest. Anything you say can be used against you in court.

The Arraignment

Your first court appearance will likely be an arraignment. This is where you will be asked to plead not guilty, guilty, or no contest. It is important to consult with your attorney before entering a plea, as this decision can have significant consequences for your case.

Your attorney will advise you on the potential strengths and weaknesses of your case and help you choose the best plea option. In many cases, entering a plea of not guilty is the best course of action, as it preserves your right to go to trial and challenge the prosecution’s case.

Pre-Trial Release

Depending on the severity of the charges against you, you may be eligible for pre-trial release. This means that you will be released from jail while your case is pending. There are different types of pre-trial release, such as bond, personal recognizance, and supervised release. Your attorney can help you obtain pre-trial release and ensure that you comply with all release conditions.


After the arraignment, both the prosecution and the defense will have the opportunity to gather evidence and exchange information with each other. This is known as discovery. During discovery, you and your attorney may request access to police reports, witness statements, and other evidence that the prosecution intends to use against you. You may also be deposed, which is a formal interview where you are asked questions under oath.

It is important to cooperate with discovery to the extent possible, but your attorney can advise you on how to protect your rights and avoid making any incriminating statements.


In many cases, the criminal charges against you can be resolved through plea negotiations. This means that you agree to plead guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for a more lenient sentence. Your attorney will represent you in plea negotiations and advise you on whether accepting a plea bargain is in your best interests.

Plea negotiations can be a complex process, and it is important to have an experienced attorney on your side to ensure that you get a fair deal.


If your case goes to trial, you have the right to a jury trial. At trial, the prosecution will present their evidence and argue that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. You and your attorney will have the opportunity to present your defense and argue that you are not guilty. The jury will then deliberate and decide whether you are guilty or not guilty.


If you are found guilty, you will be sentenced by the judge. The sentence could include jail time, probation, fines, and other penalties.


If you are unhappy with the outcome of your case, you may have the right to appeal. An appeal is not a new trial, but rather a review of the trial record for errors that may have affected the outcome of your case.

What to Do If You Are Arrested

Remember your rights! If you are arrested in Tennessee, it is important to:

  • Remain silent: Do not say anything to the police without your attorney present. You have the right to remain silent, and anything you say can be used against you in court.
  • Contact your criminal defense attorney: As soon as possible, contact your criminal defense attorney in Tennessee. Your attorney will advise you of your rights, protect your interests, and guide you through the criminal justice process.

Nash Law is Here to Help You Through the Criminal Defense Process in Tennessee

If you have been arrested or charged with a crime in Tennessee, contact Nash Law in Nashville today for a free consultation. We are experienced criminal defense attorneys who are dedicated to protecting your rights and fighting for the best possible outcome in your case.

We understand that the criminal justice system can be complex and confusing. We are here to help you navigate the process and protect your rights. Contact us today at 615-NASH-LAW to learn more about how we can help you through the criminal defense process.

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