If you are cited for an offense, you will be given a date and time to report to Courtroom E located at 3630 Camp Circle, Decatur, Georgia 30030 inside the Camp Circle Court Complex. If you need to reach the Clerk’s Office in regard to a citation you may call 404-294-2099. The hours of operation are Monday-Thursday from 8:00am – 6:00pm and Friday from 8:00am – 5:00pm.
Criminal code and animal control violations require personal service, meaning you must be personally given copies of the alleged violations. However, effective July 1, 2016, the Magistrate Court of DeKalb County will be authorized to rely on tack and mail service for code enforcement violations. This means that in order to prosecute a case successfully, the code enforcement officer may leave a notice of the violation on the door or a prominent place of your house (and must mail a copy to you, too).
The Magistrate Court has set up an Ordinance Violations Division that allows you to pay some of these fines online in lieu of a court appearance. However, some violations require an appearance in court. The violations that require an in-person court appearance include among others: Loitering for Sex; Loitering for Drugs; Disorderly Conduct; Public Indecency; Possession of Marijuana Less Than One Ounce; Dangerous Animal; Code Enforcement citations. Fines for many other violations can be paid online.
If you come to court, at the beginning of your court session, the judge will explain your options, and then call the calendar, which is a list of those cases scheduled for the day. In court, there will be an assistant solicitor present, along with the police, code enforcement or animal control officer who cited you. Assistant solicitors represent these officers, but you can talk to them about resolving your case prior to the judge taking the bench. The public defender will also be available to assist you, where appropriate, and you may, of course, bring your own lawyer with you to court.
When you come to your court date, you should have your case organized for the judge, including bringing documents and having witnesses there. This is because if you are not able to resolve your case with the assistant solicitor at the beginning of the calendar, it is likely to be heard that day. For code enforcement violations, you may wish to bring pictures and other documents to court showing that you have fixed any alleged violations. For those of you charged with animal control violations including rabies and vaccination tag issues, please update your pet’s paperwork and bring that with you to court. For some types of cases, making sure your paperwork is updated may result in a reduced fine.
If you are found guilty, most penalties result in fines. However, the judge is entitled to send you to jail for egregious cases. You are also entitled to a jury trial for this type of case. To the extent the judge of the Ordinance Divisions hears your case and rules against you, you would have thirty (30) days to appeal to the Superior Court of DeKalb County by way of writ of certiorari.
To review the DeKalb County Code of Ordinances, please visit www.municode.com.