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What Is the Difference Between Misdemeanor Court and Felony Court?

Posted on in Criminal Defense

Campbell County criminal defense attorney

It is true that misdemeanors are not as serious, carrying with them less severe penalties, than felonies. With such a major difference between these two types of general criminal classifications, it might be worth considering the differences between misdemeanor court and felony court in Tennessee. While these two courts serve slightly different purposes, the overall courtroom experience for both is entirely different in terms of procedures, as evidenced by their respective definitions and processes. 

Misdemeanor Court, Explained

Misdemeanor court is also referred to as general sessions court. During these proceedings, you as the alleged perpetrator of the crime are given the following choices in court:

  • Enter a plea.

  • Waive the case and open yourself up to a criminal court proceeding.

  • Proceed to a preliminary hearing.

Many times, people choose to simply respond with a guilty plea because they do not want to deal with the hassles of being in jail at all or facing additional courtroom appearances, especially if they do not have a lawyer. It is best, though, for you not to do that. 

In addition, waiving your case might be worthwhile in the long term if you are hoping to strike a future deal with the state that could reduce the penalty or the bond, but doing so might be risky for your case. 

If you follow through with a preliminary hearing, the prosecution needs to prove probable cause for their criminal charges. If the judge finds probable cause, then a grand jury will need to review the evidence and decide whether you should be indicted for your alleged crimes. If indicted, you will face criminal court. If not, your case might be presented to another grand jury. In the meantime, you and your defense team can see if the prosecution has a strong case as they present their evidence.

Felony Court, Explained

Felony court, also known as criminal court, is much more formal than misdemeanor court. As such, your attorney can file substantial motions in your defense to help you with important issues before the trial even begins. Overall, there is much preparation before any courtroom appearances, with you getting to review the evidence with your lawyer intently so that you will be ready for the jury trial. In that sense, if you are in felony court or your case eventually ends up in criminal court, you will need an experienced lawyer even more so.

Contact a Campbell County Criminal Defense Attorney

Whether you have been charged with a felony or a misdemeanor, you should immediately reach out to a knowledgeable Jacksboro, TN felony and misdemeanor lawyer with the background you need to strategize and help you attain the best possible outcome for your criminal defense case. Call the skillful legal team from the Law Office of William F. Evans at 423-449-7980 to schedule a free consultation.




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