Criminal defense is a unique and important area of law. Our office defends traffic tickets, misdemeanor and felony charges in state and federal court. I will explain your charge to you, investigate the allegations, and advise you every step of the way. I will prepare and present your case at trial to a jury. I have successfully represented clients for charges ranging from assault, DUI , and drugs to aggravated assault and burglary, kidnapping, robbery, theft, and violation of probation.

Criminal law and criminal defense include many aspects of the legal system. Beginning when a situation occurs, there are criminal procedures that must be followed by law enforcement, the State, and the court system. You can consult with an attorney at anytime to discuss your situation. The Law Office of J. Derreck Whitson represents clients in traffic tickets and moving violations, misdemeanor charges, DUI arrests, and felony charges. We handle both state and federal criminal defense cases, and can guide you through the court system.

Most Tennessee criminal defense cases begin in general sessions court. The charge usually involves an arrest, followed by a bond being set, and then a preliminary hearing before the sessions court judge. At the preliminary hearing, the district attorney must present the State’s evidence against the defendant to establish “probable cause.” The judge alone will decide if there is enough evidence to establish “probable cause” that the crime, as charged, did occur and by the person charged. If the judge finds that this evidence exists, then the case will be bound over to the grand jury of the county. If the grand jury determines that enough evidence exists, it will file a criminal charge against a personal and this is known as a “true bill.” The person charged in the true bill, a defendant, will be arraigned before the Circuit Judge. The case will then be set on the court’s docket for trial.

The Derreck Whitson Law Office conducts extensive discovery and uses private investigators to thoroughly investigate and prepare your criminal defense case. All the evidence that the State of Tennessee intends to use against our client is reviewed and eva luated before any negotiations with the prosecutor begins. Any evidence that is improper or was obtained illegally will be argued before any criminal defense trial.

Misdemeanor charges are criminal offenses that are considered less serious violations of law than felony criminal charges. Misdemeanor criminal charges can include DUI, simple possession, assault, and theft. However, these charges may also be classified as felony charges which are more serious in nature and have a greater jail sentence. Felony charges can also include crimes such as burglary, drug possession, sell, delivery and other drug related charges, kidnapping, rape, robbery, and theft. All crimin al charges are serious regardless of the classification. The criminal defense of misdemeanor charges and felony charges requires knowledge of criminal law and procedure. Criminal defense also demands a dedication to see that every client is protected fro m violations of their Constitutional rights.

Our office is conveniently located across from the Cocke County Courthouse at 311 East Broadway in Newport. We represent Tennessee criminal defense clients in the criminal courts of Jefferson, Grainger, Sevier, Anderson, Knox and Greene counties. There a re very important aspects to a criminal case including:

  • Arrest/Citation
  • Initial Appearance for Bond
  • Arraignment
  • Investigation and Research into the Facts
  • Competency issues for the defendant
  • Preliminary Hearing OR Trial for misdemeanor charges


  • Indictment/Presentment
  • Arraignment
  • Bond Reduction Motions
  • Discovery Motions and Evidentiary Responses
  • Investigation and Research
  • Motions to Dismiss
  • Plea negotiations
  • Witness location and preparation
  • Trial preparation
  • Jury Trial
  • Post-trial Motions and Expungement


  • Probation
  • Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Programs
  • Alternative Sentencing
  • Early Release
  • Counseling
  • Appeals

Each case is different and should be handled with personal attention and aggressive representation. We will work hard to protect your rights and bring resolution to your charge or charges. With the help of my office staff and investigators, I am able to represent your needs with personal attention.

Trial preparation and strategy is complex and time consuming. You should schedule a consultation with me immediately to protect your rights.

Please contact me at 423-613-0160 to schedule an appointment today.