Knox Co. General Sessions Court
Old Courthouse, 300 Main Street, Knoxville TN 37902
General Sessions Court, Civil Division, is a place where small disputes can be settled without formal courtroom procedures. Many cases in Civil Sessions Court do not require an attorney. Before you decide to represent yourself, you must determine how complicated your case is and if you feel confident that you can explain it to the judge.
General Sessions Court is a court of limited and special jurisdiction. The judges of the five divisions of Sessions Court have jurisdiction over all civil cases (exclusive of divorce and worker’s compensation) and all criminal offenses. The General Sessions Court's civil jurisdiction includes civil lawsuits up to $25,000.00 except for Actions to Recover Personal Property where possession and alternative money judgments up to $25,000.00 may be awarded. The General Sessions Courts also have original and unlimited jurisdiction over forcible entry and detainer warrants involving landlord-tenant disputes and non-payment of rent.
The General Sessions Courts provide another method to assist you in resolving your dispute. The Court Sanctioned Mediation Program gives the public an opportunity to settle their disputes through the process of mediation after initiating formal legal action, but before coming to trial. The program covers consumer disputes, actions to recover personal property, civil wrongs (torts), and landlord and tenant disputes. There is no cost to you for this service.
Typical cases for return of rent deposits, disputed repair bills, unpaid bills, possession of real property or return of personal property.
Plaintiff (person bringing suit) must provide the defendant’s (person being sued) complete address.
Court clerks and mediators cannot provide legal advice.
The transaction that is the subject of the litigation must have taken place in Knox County.
$178.00 filing fee (if one defendant) for civil warrants. Costs vary for other actions.
Tuesday 9:00 A.M. until docket is completed
Knox Co. General Sessions Court
City-County Building, 400 Main Street, Suite M84
The General Sessions Court – Criminal Division is both a traffic court and the court in which the vast majority of Criminal cases begin and conclude.
The General Sessions Court – Criminal Division is a collection of specialized criminal and traffic case dockets heard in four separate courtrooms on the main floor of the City-County Building. These case dockets are heard on a rotating basis, by Knox County’s five General Sessions Judges.
Defendants charged by citation (not a traffic citation) with a criminal offense, or released from custody prior to an Initial Appearance before a Magistrate, are given a Bonded Arraignment Court date by the citing Law Enforcement Officer or Sheriff’s Detention Facility Officer. These cases are heard beginning at 10:00 A.M. daily. Note – Criminal case citations will also instruct the Defendant to appear at the City-County Building for booking. All dates and times listed on a citation should be thoroughly reviewed and followed.
All other criminal case settings normally begin at 9:00 A.M. When a criminal case is scheduled for a hearing, the Defendant and any prosecution or defense witnesses are sent subpoenas. All subpoenas clearly indicate the date, time, court and case for which the individual’s attendance is required.
Traffic & Citation Court is held in the Fourth Sessions Courtroom. If cited for a traffic, environmental or county ordinance violation, and not charged with a companion criminal offense, then the case is heard on this docket. Some traffic cases can be resolved without even appearing in court. Please consult the following website for complete details regarding the General Sessions Judges’ guidelines for citations, including options to avoid appearing in court. knoxcounty.org/gsjudges/traffic/avoid_court.php
General Sessions Court Clerk, Mike Hammond, and his staff of Deputy Clerks are available to assist you with any questions regarding a case. The Court Clerk’s Office has significantly invested in making case information accessible to the public. At knoxcounty.org/criminalcourt you will be able to search the daily dockets for all General Sessions – Criminal Division cases. Additionally, case information can be searched by name. The website displays the date the case is scheduled, the offender’s name, offense, type of case setting, court identification number, docket number and custody status.
Court Costs may be paid online at knoxcounty.org/criminalcourt or via toll- free twenty-four hour voice response system at (877) 768-4712. If you arrive at the City-County Building and cannot locate the correct courtroom, the Court Clerk has provided a scrolling docket summary on large monitors located just outside the main floor office of the General Sessions Court Clerk. Additionally, the Court Clerk staffs a main floor court information center. Customer service representatives are available by telephone at (865) 215-2375, Monday through Friday, between the hours of 8 A.M. and 4:30 P.M.
Knox County Public Defender’s Community Law Office
1101 Liberty Street, Knoxville TN 37919
(865) 594-6120 www.pdknox.org
The public defender’s office handles representation of defendants assigned by court order. Tennessee courts consider a number of factors in determining eligibility to be represented by a lawyer associated with a public defender office, or a private lawyer handling a case on an appointed basis, including the federal poverty guidelines.
The Knox County Public Defender’s Community Law Office (CLO) practices a holistic, client-centered representation model that combines vigorous legal advocacy with robust social services and access to community resources. The integrated structure of the legal and social services departments at the CLO creates a meaningful opportunity to partner with clients to help them stabilize their lives and get out of the criminal justice system. It provides for comprehensive representation that recognizes the interaction between legal, personal and environmental issues and, in contrast to a more traditional lawyer-centered model, emphasizes the collaboration between client, attorney and social worker. We have a unique mission for a public defender’s office operating within a statewide public defender system. Our mission is driven by our understanding that most of the criminal behavior in our community is symptomatic of other personal, psychological and social dynamics. As a community law office, we are able to advocate for a fair and just process within the criminal justice system, while also increasing our clients’ self-sufficiency and integration into the community, to positively impact the quality of life in Knox County.
Office of the District Attorney General
6th Judicial District • Knox County, Tennessee
P.O. Box 1468 • 400 Main Street, Suite 168 • Knoxville, TN 37901-1468
www.knoxcounty.org/DAG • Phone: 865-215-2515 • Fax: 865-215-4253
The Office of the District Attorney General for the 6th Judicial District represents the people of the State of Tennessee in all criminal cases that occur within Knox County. Its mission is “to stand for justice by pursuing the guilty, protecting the innocent, and upholding the Constitution of the United States of America and the State of Tennessee. [Fout v. State, 4 Tenn. 98 (1816)]”.
RESOURCES FOR VICTIMS & WITNESSES
Victim/Witness Coordinators are employed by the District Attorney’s Office to help victims and witnesses of crimes to understand their rights and answer their questions about the criminal justice system. If you have been a victim of crime, you have certain constitutional rights. These rights may help you better understand what will happen to your case. For more information, visit knoxcounty.org/dag.
“Tough on Crime, Smart on Prevention”
Legal Resource Guide
Finding Legal Assitance in Knoxville
A Public Service of the Knoxville Bar Association
The Knoxville Bar Association is pleased to provide the following directory of Legal Service providers in our community. Learn about government agencies, nonprofits, pro bono organizations and others who help to ensure that all citizens have equal access to justice.