What is a Misdemeanor?
Crimes fall into two main categories: misdemeanors and felonies. A misdemeanor is an offense for which a sentence to a term of imprisonment not more than one year may be imposed. A misdemeanor is less serious than a felony and is punishable by fine and/or imprisonment in a city or county jail rather than in a prison. Examples of misdemeanor crimes include:
- Criminal Trespass
- Family Violence Battery
- Giving a False Name or Date of Birth to a Law Enforcement Officer Engaged in a Lawful Investigation
- Harassing Phone Calls
- Possession of 1 ounce or less of marijuana
- Simple Battery
- Theft of Property valued at $1,500 or less
How Do I Obtain a Misdemeanor Warrant Application?
To apply for a Misdemeanor warrant, you would go to the Criminal Division of the Magistrate Court in the county where the alleged crime occurred. If the criminal offense occurred in DeKalb County, you would go to the Criminal Division of the DeKalb County Magistrate Court. The Criminal Division is located at 3630 Camp Circle Decatur, GA 30032 (view map). We strongly suggest that you make a police report with the police department in the jurisdiction where the crime occurred before coming to the Criminal Division seeking a warrant.
At the Criminal Division, you will complete a criminal arrest warrant application form. Pursuant to state law there maybe a $20.00 warrant application fee (cash only) except in some cases involving allegations of Family Violence or Stalking. You must have the first and last name, complete date of birth and current address for the person(s) you allege committed a crime against you. If you do not have all of this information then you probably need to have police assistance in investigating the matter. It is always best to report the alleged crime to the police before you come to the Criminal Division attempting to have a warrant issued.
After you have completed your application a judge will administer an oath, read your application and hear your sworn testimony. If the judge finds the application and sworn testimony support a finding that probable cause might exist for determining a misdemeanor crime occurred, then under Georgia law most civilian arrest warrant applications are set for a formal warrant application hearing. At this hearing, the accused has an opportunity to respond to the allegations and challenge the existence of probable cause.
Warrant application hearings are conducted at the Magistrate Criminal Division on Camp Circle, except for applications involving allegations of domestic violence. Those hearings are held at the DeKalb County Courthouse, Magistrate Civil Division, Room 1200D. Please refer to your hearing notice for the exact date, time and location of your hearing.
If the judge determines that the application should be set down for a hearing, the court clerk will prepare a court notice document listing the crime alleged and setting the time, date, and location of the hearing. The court clerk will deliver one copy to the warrant applicant at the time of the application. The clerk will also mail one copy to the accused at the address provided by the applicant.
An essential aspect of this procedure is the duty of the court to insure that the accused has legal due process notice of the warrant application hearing as stated in Georgia law. If the court finds that there is insufficient address information, or that mailed notice was returned as undeliverable, then the hearing must be cancelled. Therefore, it is absolutely essential for the applicant to provide the court with correct address information for the accused.
The final determination of whether or not to issue a criminal warrant will be made at the warrant application hearing. If they chose to hire an attorney, either party may be represented by counsel.
If the judge does not find probable cause that a crime has occurred then the case is dismissed and that ends the case before the Magistrate Court.
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