Georgia Criminal Procedure & Courts: What You Need to Know

You need to be aware of the criminal justice system in Georgia if you have been accused or are under investigation for a crime. Atlanta-based criminal lawyer, I have represented thousands of clients throughout Georgia.

The type of charges and where you were arrested will determine the criminal procedure you face. For example, a misdemeanor at Atlanta Municipal Court has a different process than a Fulton or Cobb County Felony.

Depending on where you are in the legal system, there may be a different criminal procedures. If you are indicted by a Grand Jury at a county court, it is possible to skip some steps in your arrest. For more information, visit the Judicial Council of Georgia.

Superior Courts of Georgia

Superior Courts of Georgia can be divided into 10 judicial districts and 49 circuits. These types of cases are under their jurisdiction.

  • Appeal from lower courts
  • Trial Courts for Felonies
  • Claims Exceeding $15,000 dollars

Georgia Magistrate Courts

Georgia Magistrate Courts have limited jurisdiction over different claims, and they do not hold jury trials. This is where most criminal cases are started. These types of cases are heard by Georgia’s Magistrate Courts:

  • Warrants
  • County Ordinance Violations
  • Preliminary Hearings
  • Arrest and Search Warrants
  • Minor Criminal Offenses(misdemeanors)
  • No more than $15,000 in claims

Georgia State Courts

These courts have jurisdiction over all misdemeanors and civil actions, except where the Superior Courts are exclusive.

Georgia Court of Appeals & Supreme Court System

Georgia Court of Appeals handles criminal appeals from lower courts

Other Courts in Georgia

Other Georgia Courts include Probate Courts that deal with wills and estates; Magistrate Courts and Municipal Courts that handle misdemeanors and traffic cases originating in a city such as Atlanta; Juvenile Courts that deal with juvenile delinquency issues, and State Courts.

A lawyer in court

Georgia Arrest Process

A municipal police officer will stop you for speeding, or for a DUI. Your case will be brought to the Atlanta Municipal Court. You have the right to appeal to the Court of Appeals if you lose in Municipal Court.

If you are arrested by a County Sheriff, State Trooper, or for a felony offense, you will be brought before Magistrate Court in the county.

A preliminary hearing is required to determine the probable cause if you are charged with a felony. If the State can prove probable cause, your case will be sent before the Grand Jury. If you are found guilty by the Grand Jury, your case will be sent to the County Superior Court. The Superior Courts are criminal and felony trial courts.

After being indicted for a crime, you may be required to appear at an initial hearing and possibly a bond hearing. There will also likely be multiple court appearances including arraignments, evidentiary and motion hearings, scheduling hearings and appeals to the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court.

An attorney can file many motions. These could include motions for speedy trials or motions to exclude evidence that was illegally obtained under the 4th Amendment. Discovery motions are used to obtain evidence against you.

Why should you hire SHElaw?

A lawyer is necessary if you are under investigation for a crime. A lawyer is even more important if you are being investigated for a crime. Not only do you need a lawyer but also an experienced Georgia traffic and criminal law attorney, like SHElaw. For decades, I have represented clients in Georgia charged with criminal offenses in every criminal and municipal court. I’m familiar with the Atlanta police, prosecutors, and judges. Many times, we can reduce or dismiss charges right away.

For a no-obligation consultation, please contact me. I can help you to fight these charges and minimize any repercussions. I can help protect your rights, freedom, reputation, finances, and many other things.

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