Knox County District Attorney General - Charme P. Allen

Going to Court

Gay Street

Most people don't know what to expect when they go to court for the first time.  In an effort to answer some of the commonly asked questions, we have prepared this information.  If you have additional questions, please call our Victim/Witness Coordinators prior to your court date.

Click here for contact information

Click here to learn about our Victim/Witness Coordinators

Do you validate parking?

If you are a victim or a witness for the State who has received a State subpoena or has a scheduled appointment with the District Attorney’s Office, then we will validate your parking if you choose to park in the Dwight Kessel Parking Garage. Please bring your parking ticket with you and present it to your Victim/Witness Coordinator. You will present your parking ticket and a validated ticket from our Office as you exit the parking garage.

Click here for directions to the City-County Building

Do I need to hire an attorney?

If you are a victim of a crime, one of our lawyers will help you through the criminal justice process.  You do not need to hire a private attorney for the criminal proceeding.  You may contact us to find out which Assistant District Attorney is handling your case and who your Victim/Witness Coordinator will be.

If you need help with a civil case, then you may require the services of a private attorney.  The District Attorney’s Office is prohibited from providing legal advice on any civil matters.  The Knoxville Bar Association offers a lawyer referral service.

Click here for contact information

Click here for KBA Lawyer Referral Service

What should I wear?

All individuals entering the courtroom must be dressed appropriately, cleanly, and neatly.  Dress that is disturbing and distracting in court is inappropriate.  Your clothes and appearance must not disrupt the judicial process.  You may also want to bring a light jacket or sweater in the summer months, as the courthouse is air-conditioned.

The Judges enforce a dress code.  No shorts, short skirts, halter-tops, tank tops, or torn jeans may be worn in court.  Hats and non-prescription dark glasses may not be worn in the courtroom unless you do so for medical or religious reasons.

If you are dressed inappropriately, you may not be allowed into the courtroom.

Bring the proper documentation

Make sure that you have all your available paperwork, and that it is organized and ready to present.  Examples include receipts, letters, bills, phone records, calendars, text messages, and photos.  The Assistant District Attorney and Victim/Witness Coordinator handling your case will want to review any paperwork that supports your case.  This paperwork may be presented to the Judge as a part of your case.

Don't miss your court date

On the scheduled day of trial or hearing, you should appear at the time indicated on your subpoena.  If you have received a State subpoena, do not miss a court date without being excused by the Court or someone from our Office in advance of your court date.  For criminal cases, failing to appear for your court date may result in the Court issuing a capias or warrant for your arrest. 

Allow plenty of time to travel to court

If you are driving to court, allow ample time for parking.  For those not familiar with downtown, allow an extra 30 minutes of time to park and locate the building.  Also, it may take extra time for you to go through City-County Building security and find the correct courtroom. 

Click here for directions to the City-County Building

Click here to obtain KAT public bus and trolley schedules & maps

The City-County Building has metal detectors at its entrances

The purpose of the metal detectors is to provide protection for the public and court personnel.  Any object that could be classified as a weapon, including guns, anything sharp, pocketknives, scissors, chains on a wallet, nail files, anything flammable, etc. cannot be brought into the building and will be confiscated by Security until you leave the building.  Illegal weapons will be confiscated and not returned.  All bags are subject to search.

Go to the correct courtroom

Make sure you know in which court you are supposed to appear.  You may also ask your Victim/Witness Coordinator.  Once you arrive, you may ask the staff at the information booth or one of the court officers to help you find the correct courtroom.  Once in the courtroom, notify your Victim/Witness Coordinator that you are present.

Proper conduct in the courtroom

It is important that everyone be able to hear and see what is happening during court.  Therefore, when court is in session, you should refrain from reading, talking, chewing gum, making distracting noises, or any other inappropriate or distracting conduct. 

Food and beverages are prohibited in all courtrooms.

Children under 6 are not permitted in the courtroom unless they are part of the case.   If you must bring a child to court, it is often best to leave the child outside the courtroom with a responsible adult.  If you have child-care issues, please contact your Victim/Witness Coordinator to let them know about the problem.  We will try to help you find a solution.

Smoking is not allowed in any public area of the court buildings.  There is an area on the 1st floor outdoor balcony where smoking is allowed.

You are not allowed to talk to, or otherwise communicate with, inmates.

Electronic Devices

All cell phones and other electronic devices must be turned off while court is in session.  Any device that makes noise during court is subject to confiscation.  The Court may choose not to return the device or to charge the owner a fine for disrupting the proceedings.  You may not text message or make phone calls in the courtroom.

Do I have to talk to the defense attorney?

It is your decision whether or not to talk to the defense attorney.  If you choose to speak with the defense attorney, you may ask your Victim/Witness Coordinator to be present during that conversation. 

What should I do during trial or a hearing?

The courtroom is a very traditional and polite place.  When speaking to the Judge, you must stand and address him/her as “Your Honor.”  Act respectfully, courteously, and politely to everyone in the courthouse.

Do not talk at a trial or hearing unless it is your turn to speak.  If it is not your turn to speak, sit quietly in the courtroom.  Do not use profanity, argue, or verbally react to statements given in court by the Judge, the defendant, witnesses, or attorneys. Our staff will discuss other courtroom procedures with you prior to your testimony.

If at any point you feel threatened in any way during this process, please tell your Victim/Witness Coordinator right away.

Click here for information about how the criminal justice process works

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City County Building 400 Main Street
Suite 168
Knoxville, TN 37902