There are basically two kinds of criminal offenses, felonies and misdemeanors. Felonies are the more serious crimes and are not tried in my court, but instead are sent to a higher court, circuit court. Tennessee law defines felony offenses as crimes that are punishable by more than one (1) year in confinement or jail. Felony offenses are classified as A, B, C, D, or E, with A being the most serious and carrying the most severe punishment and E being the least of the felony offenses. Theft offenses more than $500.00, rape, aggravated assault, and murder of course are examples of felony offenses.
Misdemeanor offenses are defined as offenses punishable by less than one (1) year. There are three different classifications of misdemeanor offenses, A, B, and C, with A being the most severe and C being the least.
Domestic assault, trespass, driving on a revoked license, DUI, simple possession of drugs, and theft under $500.00 are examples of misdemeanor offense in Tennessee. As mentioned above, only the less severe, petty misdemeanor offenses are tried in general session’s court. The felony offenses are either bound over to circuit court following a preliminary hearing in general sessions or the state will simply bring an indictment to the grand jury in hopes that the grand jury will cause a true bill to be issued against the defendant in circuit court.