The Felony Court Process in Nashville: What to Expect

For individuals facing felony charges in Nashville, understanding the court process is essential for navigating the legal system effectively. In this blog post, we provide factual insights into what to expect during the felony court process in Nashville, outlining the key stages and procedures involved from arrest to resolution.

1. Arrest and Booking

The felony court process typically begins with the arrest of the defendant by law enforcement officers. Upon arrest, the individual is taken into custody and booked into the county jail or detention center. During the booking process, personal information is recorded, and fingerprints and photographs may be taken.

2. Initial Appearance

Following the arrest, the defendant will go before a magistrate or judge. During this initial appearance, the judge informs the defendant of the charges against them, advises them of their rights, and sets conditions for release, such as bail or bond.

3. Preliminary Hearing

In felony cases, a preliminary hearing may be held to determine whether there is sufficient probable cause to go to trial. During the preliminary hearing, the prosecution presents evidence and witnesses to establish probable cause, and the defense has the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses and challenge the evidence presented.

4. Grand Jury Indictment

Alternatively, the prosecution may choose to present the case to a grand jury for indictment. Should the grand jury discern probable cause from the evidence presented, they will proceed to issue an indictment, officially accusing the defendant of the alleged felony offense(s).

5. Arraignment

After the indictment or preliminary hearing, the defendant faces arraignment in felony court, where they receive formal notification of the charges against them and are prompted to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. Should the defendant plead not guilty, the case advances to the subsequent stage of the court proceedings.

6. Pretrial Proceedings

During the pretrial phase, the prosecution and defense engage in discovery, exchanging evidence and information relevant to the case. Pretrial motions may also be filed, addressing legal issues or evidentiary matters. Negotiations for plea bargains or diversion programs may occur during this stage.

7. Trial

If the case proceeds to trial, both the defense and prosecution present evidence, witnesses, and arguments to the court. The prosecution must convince the judge or jury of the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt for a conviction to be obtained. After hearing all evidence and arguments, the judge or jury deliberates and reaches a verdict.

8. Sentencing

Upon conviction at trial or upon entering a guilty plea, the court convenes a sentencing hearing to ascertain the fitting punishment. Potential sentences may encompass imprisonment, probation, fines, community service, or other sanctions as decreed by the court.


Navigating the felony court process in Nashville can be complex and daunting, but understanding the key stages and procedures involved can help individuals facing felony charges better prepare for their legal proceedings. By being informed about what to expect at each stage of the court process, defendants can make informed decisions, protect their rights, and work towards achieving the best possible outcome for their case. If facing felony charges in Nashville, seeking legal representation from an experienced criminal defense attorney is crucial for understanding your rights and options and navigating the legal process effectively.