General Sessions Court

Frequently Asked Questions

Glad you asked. In fact, this is the most frequent question asked. The Tennessee Supreme Court is the highest court of our state. Some consider it the court of “last resort.” General Sessions Court is just the opposite – It’s kind of a court of “first opportunity.” Most cases are heard or start in General Sessions. It’s the court that most individuals encounter first in Sumner County.

No. There are bench trials where the judge alone determines the outcome of the case.

Yes, General Sessions also handles Orders of Protection.

In Sumner County, yes. We have 3 – Division I (Adult Court), Division II (Juvenile Court and Domestic Relations), and Division III (Adult Court).

Yes, in fact, most criminal cases start in General Sessions. General Sessions Court has jurisdiction and handles offenses for misdemeanor cases, such as DUI’s, domestic assault, thefts, and any other crime with a punishment that’s less than a year. For felony cases, General Sessions conducts preliminary hearings to determine if probable cause exists to send a case to the Grand Jury.

Possibly.  In criminal cases, individuals are entitled to a lawyer if they cannot afford one. 

There is no legal right to a lawyer in civil cases.

Civil cases with jurisdictional limits of $25,000 or less, which could include contract disputes, personal injury cases, civil forfeitures, County Code violations.  Also, landlord-tenant actions, orders of protection; Traffic violations, and offenses brought by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.