The Court of General Sessions handles felony and misdemeanor criminal cases ranging from those with a penalty of more than 30 days and/or a $1,000 fine to those carrying the death penalty.
After a person is arrested, a bond hearing is held in Magistrate Court. The Magistrate will set the conditions of the bond and the first appearance court date. A bond hearing will be held in the Court of General Sessions whenever the Magistrate does not have jurisdiction over the charged offense(s). A defendant can choose self-representation or obtain a defense attorney. The choice of representation of the defendant needs to be determined prior to the first appearance court date.
During the first appearance court date, the assistant solicitor assigned to each criminal case meets with the defendant and defense counsel. The Solicitor’s Office will outline the progress of the defendant’s case and explain what options are available to resolve the case. Based on the circumstances of the case and prior criminal history, a diversion program could be an option.