Fulton County Courthouse in Atlanta Georgia
If you’ve been arrested or charged with a crime that requires you to appear in a city court, traffic court, recorders court, magistrate court or municipal court or anywhere else in the State of Georgia, you have several ways to resolve your case. Your basic options include pleading guilty, not guilty or nolo contendere.
If you plead not guilty, your case will be scheduled for a bench trial in that court where the judge will hear the evidence in your case and decide if you are guilty or not guilty. There are no jury trials held in city court. Your case must be bound over to state or superior court if you decide to have a jury trial. (O.C.G.A. 15-7-1)
How you ultimately decide to plead is up to you. Pleading guilty or nolo contendere can result in the Georgia DDS (Georgia Department of Driver Services) assessing points on your driving record if you have a Georgia Drivers license or reporting of the offense to the state in which your are currently licensed. If you are charged with a misdemeanor, you face up to 12 months in jail and/or a $1,000.00 fine, as well as probation, community service, drug or mental health evaluations and other significant penalties which the judge can impose. These types of pleas can also have an impact on your job, sholarship or immigration status.
Transfer & Bind-over of a Traffic Citation or Criminal Charge in Georgia (O.C.G.A. 15-8-1)
If your case is in a city traffic court, city court recorders court or any other court that handles traffic citations or misdemeanor shoplifting or possession of marijuana less than one ounce charges, or you have been charged with a state offense, as opposed to a city offense or city ordinance violation, you have the option of binding over or transferring your case to the county state or superior court located in the county in which that city resides.
The decision to transfer your case to a state court or superior court is an important decision based on many factors. It could be extremely advantageous to transfer your case to the county, however, it could also be a big mistake and result in a much harsher sentence in your case.
Once you bind over your case, you’ll be notified from the clerk of court as to your new court date. That date is called your arraignment. It can take anywhere from a month to a year for you to receive your next court date. If your case is in Sandy Springs Municipal Court, Dunwoody Municipal Court, Alpharetta Municipal Court, Brookhaven Municipal Court or any other city court in Fulton County Georgia, it can take up to 23 months for your case to be formally charged and your first court date to be scheduled.
The decision to bind-over or transfer a case should be made carefully and only after consulting with an experienced criminal defense lawyer who specializes in this area. Only after careful consideration of the law and all of the facts and circumstances surrounding your case should this decision be made.
If you have a court date coming up and you don’t know what you should do,call me now and schedule a free consultation to go over all your options. Calling costs you nothing, not calling could cost you everything!
Thomas C. Nagel
Attorney at Law
5855 Sandy Springs Circle
Atlanta, Georgia 30328