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Coller & Evans
Representing clients in Jacksboro, LaFollette, Caryville, Campbell County and Throughout East Tennessee.

Answering Your Criminal Defense Questions

The following are some of the criminal law questions and answers that we frequently encounter. Of course, everyone's situation is different and this content is not meant to be taken as legal advice. To discuss your particular case, call the Jacksboro law firm of Coller & Evans, Attorneys At Law, at 423-449-9689.

How Do I Make Bond?

After an arrest, the judge will set a bail amount, but in some cases a defendant may be released on his or her own recognizance. Bonds are often required by the court to ensure that a defendant will appear when he or she is scheduled to appear. You can make bond by paying the whole amount in cash. However, most people do not have that kind of money available and will need assistance from a bonding company.

Bonding companies usually require a 10% payment of the total bond upfront. At times the court may agree to a signature bond. In these cases, only a signature is required. However, if the accused fails to appear in court, the person who signed the bond will be liable for the full amount.

Another option is a property bond. However, these should only be considered as a last resort. In these cases, a person will deed over the equity in their property to the clerk's office. If the defendant fails to appear, the person who posted the bond may lose his or her property.

What Happens In The General Sessions Court Or "Misdemeanor Court"?

In the general sessions court, you can either agree to a plea, waive your case to the criminal courts or have a preliminary hearing. Unfortunately, many people opt to plead guilty simply to get out of jail when other options are available. This results in a criminal record available for the whole world to see and can have a far-reaching impact on a person's life.

Waiving a case to the criminal court bypasses the need for a preliminary hearing. People will waive their case if they are charged with a felony, or as a strategic move in an effort to reduce their bond amount or to try and get a better offer from the state.

A preliminary hearing requires the state to show probable cause for the criminal charges. If the judge finds probable cause, the grand jury will review the evidence and decide whether an indictment should be issued. If you are indicted, your case will transfer to criminal court. If you are not indicted, the state may still present your case to the next grand jury. These hearings are a great opportunity to determine if the state has any evidence to support their case.

What Happens In Criminal Court Or "Felony Court"?

Criminal court is more formal than the general sessions court. Our lawyers can file motions for your defense to decide important issues before trial. We will review the evidence with you in detail. The stakes are high in criminal court as you are now on the path to a jury trial. That is why it is important to have our attorneys by your side.

How Much Time Am I Facing?

The amount of time you face depends on the severity of the charge. There are three classes of misdemeanors: A, B and C. A class A is punishable by a maximum incarceration period of 11 months and 29 days and a fine of up to $2,500. A class B is punishable by a maximum incarceration period of six months and a fine of up to $500. A class C is punishable by a maximum incarceration period of 30 days and a fine of up to $50. Some offenses carry minimum jail sentences and others carry a fine only. We work hard in an effort to help our clients avoid jail altogether.

The amount of time one faces for a felony also depends on the severity of the offense. There are five classes of felonies that must be taken into account with the range of the offender. An offender's range is determined by the number of prior felonies and the class of the prior felonies. At this point, a minimum and maximum sentence may be calculated. We will fight to get you the least amount of incarceration time possible.

Can I Get My Record Expunged?

Yes, if you qualify. An expungement means that the offense with which you were charged or convicted is no longer part of the public record. An expungement is usually possible if you have completed a diversion program or if the alleged offense was dismissed. Some offenses can only be expunged after a certain amount of time has passed, while other offenses may never be expunged. If your case qualifies, we will complete the necessary work to have your case expunged at no extra cost.

Contact Us With Your Criminal Defense Questions

We provide free initial consultations to individuals who are facing criminal charges. Call our law office in Tennessee at 423-449-9689. You may also contact us online.

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