Virtual Hearings FAQs

For the health and safety of the public and court staff, the Magistrate Court is operating remotely. The Magistrate Court hears Criminal, Civil, and Ordinance matters virtually each day.

What is a Virtual Hearing?
A virtual hearing is one where the judge, court staff, and the parties do not come into the courthouse. Instead, a hearing is held using an online platform in order to keep everyone safe. All the rules at an in-person hearing still apply to virtual hearings. Normal courtroom decorum rules still apply.
DeKalb County Magistrate Court uses ZOOM for virtual hearings. You will receive an email and/or letter regarding the date, time, and password for your hearing.
The login information should not be shared with anyone other than the participants appearing in the court hearing, unless the court approves otherwise. The public may watch Court proceedings on DeKalb County Magistrate Court’s YouTube channel.

What if I do not have access to the Internet or a phone?
If you do not have internet access, you can connect to the Zoom hearing via telephone. If you must call in via telephone, you are required to call the Clerk at the phone number listed on your hearing notice at least two days in advance to make arrangements. The judge will determine next steps.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you are not currently permitted to appear in-person at the courthouse. If you appear in-person to the courthouse, you will not be allowed access to the courtroom.
If you do not have access to a phone, please contact the Clerk immediately at the phone number listed on your hearing notice. Your case may be postponed until everyone can safely participate.

How Should I Prepare for a virtual hearing?
Please click on Tips for Preparing and Participating in a Virtual Court Proceeding in the DeKalb County Magistrate Court

How is attending a virtual hearing different from attending in-person?
Remember, even though your hearing is happening over the phone or through the internet, it is a court proceeding. You should act the way you would if you were in the courtroom in person. Normal courtroom decorum rules apply. Please speak slowly and do not interrupt anyone else when they are speaking. You will be given an opportunity to speak.
Please do not do other things while on the call. Just like in an actual courtroom, you must give your undivided attention to the proceedings. If you fail to do so, you may miss something that is said or something the judge asks you to do.
The judge conducts the hearing. The parties should speak directly to the judge, not to each other.

Are the hearings open to the public?
Proceedings that are publicly accessible will continue to be publicly accessible. The hearings will be broadcast on the Court’s YouTube channels.

Will my case be scheduled for a virtual hearing?
Maybe. Magistrate Court is handling the oldest cases first. Unfortunately, there is a large backlog of cases due to the COVID19 pandemic. Additionally, due to the complexities of certain cases, it is more appropriate to have an in-person hearing. Before any virtual hearing, the Court will notify all parties to ensure that everyone can participate remotely.

What happens if I do not attend my virtual hearing:
Do not ignore the virtual hearing. If you cannot attend the hearing or have a conflict, notify the Clerk immediately. Failure to attend a hearing may result in an adverse decision by the judge. If you have issues connecting to the hearing, call the number listed in your hearing notice.

What happens after my virtual hearing?
After your hearing, the clerk enters any order issued by the judge into the Odyssey system for civil matters. All parties can log onto https://ody.dekalbcountyga.gov in order to retrieve a copy of an order entered in the case.
Orders from Ordinance Court or Criminal Court matters can be requested from the Clerk.

For updates and information on the re-opening of the courthouse, please return to the main page.

For more useful tips on virtual hearings please click the following link: Tips for Virtual Hearings