What Is A Warrant Application Hearing in Georgia?
Warrants are a common term in criminal law, and most people would say that they understand the basics of a warrant. We hear of arrest warrants, search warrants, and bench warrants but many people are unaware that citizens can request a warrant for another person to be arrested. According to O.C.G.A. §17-4-40, a citizen who wishes for another person to be arrested must file a warrant application. They can do this with or without the assistance of an attorney, but it is much easier with legal representation. At Lawson and Berry, we are here to help you no matter what stage of the criminal process you are at. If you are thinking about filing a warrant application, contact our offices. If you are the defendant and have a warrant hearing coming up, contact us for assistance. Our attorneys have decades of experience and can answer any and every question you have.
How To Apply For A Warrant?
The cost to file an application for a warrant is $20 for each person you seek to have arrested. You must file the application in the Magistrate Court of the county in which the crime occurred. However, if the crime involves domestic violence or a sex crime, there is no fee to file the warrant application. Most counties encourage the applicant to contact the law enforcement agency where the crime occurred in order to obtain a police report before submitting a request for a warrant. The person seeking the warrant is known as the “Applicant,” and the person you strive to have arrested is the “Respondent.” The Warrant Office cannot help you in completing the application.
What Happens At A Warrant Application Hearing?
The person seeking the warrant has the burden of presenting evidence and witnesses that support the issuance of a warrant. The person whose arrest is sought may also bring witnesses and present proof that probable cause does not exist for his or her arrest. Both parties are allowed and encouraged to bring any relevant documents such as photos, recordings, or anything else with them to the hearing.
After all evidence has been presented, the judge will decide whether there is enough evidence to make an arrest. If so, then a warrant will be issued at the hearing. One important note is that at the hearing if the judge determines that there is anyone else that committed a crime, he may issue a warrant for them. This includes the Applicant, Respondent, Witnesses, and other persons, who may or may not have participated in the hearing.
Both parties have the right to seek legal representation for the warrant application hearing however it is not required. In practice, generally Georgia Criminal Attorneys will use these hearings as an attempt to settle a dispute before a warrant is issued. Sometimes a restitution payment or an apology is all that is needed to resolve the issue.
The criminal justice system is not made for self-service. It is best handled by attorneys who specialize in criminal law. Lawson and Berry and their team of Georgia Criminal Defense Attorneys are the premier criminal defense firm and are ready to help with your case. Whatever stage you are at, we are here. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.