Magistrate Court Warrant Division | Cobb County Georgia (2023)

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About the Program

Through the implementation of the Bad Check Citation Program, the Cobb County Magistrate Court, together with be Cobb County Sheriff s Office and the State Court Solicitor's Office, has streamlined the processing of misdemeanor bad check offenders.

Introduced in 1990 as an alternative to the criminal warrant procedure when dealing with first time offender; this program has proven to be an overwhelming success and beneficial to all parties concerned.

It provides the business person with a more efficient, prompt method of securing payment for a bad check.

(Video) Cobb County police issue arrest warrant for Georgia sheriff following sexual battery investigation

It gives the offender a manner by which to settle the indebtedness without acquiring a criminal record in the process.

It prevents hundreds of people each month from being arrested, processed, and bonded from the county jail and decreases the caseload of the State Court System. This results in substantial savings for the taxpayer.

Use of Citations

While the use of citations (as opposed to criminal warrants) for the collection of bad checks is not original to Cobb County, our program is recognized as one of the most successful of its type in the nation. Several agencies throughout the country have sought out help in implementing similar programs.

(Video) Arrest warrant issued for central Georgia sheriff

Eighty-five percent (85%) of the Bad Check Offenders contacted through the citation program voluntarily accept service and pay their debt in full. The other fifteen (15%) percent are converted to warrants. We encourage local merchants to utilize the Bad Check Citation Program for all collection items that meet the qualification criteria.

When a business accepts a check as payment for goods or services rendered, it is submitted to the bank for collection. Once a check has been returned by the bank twice for insufficient funds, it cannot be submitted again. It is then up to the merchant to send a ten day notice by certified mail to the maker of the check.

The ten day notice, written by the Georgia Legislature, must be sent certified or registered mail, return receipt requested, before criminal bad check prosecution is commenced in Cobb County. The letter should be sent immediately if the check is returned Account Closed or No Account. If you receive a check marked insufficient funds, the letter may be sent after the first time the check is returned or you may re-present the check and wait until after the second time the same check is returned. Our policy requires you to send a letter within ninety (90)days from the time you discovered the check was bad, or a warrant or citation may not be issued.

The purpose of the letter is to let the customer know that his/her check is not good. Accordingly, you need to send the letter to the person who signed the check; to the address that is listed on the check. If you know of another address for the customer, you should send it to both addresses, certified or registered mail. Make an actual copy of each letter you send to use as evidence in obtaining a warrant or citation. You are required to use the exact wording in the letter. This letter is accepted in all 159 counties in Georgia. Should the maker not respond to the Ten Day Notice, the merchant is then entitled to process this item through the judicial system for collection.

The option to issue a Bad Check Citation, as opposed to a warrant, depends upon:

  • The amount of the insufficient check. Citations may be issued only when the check amount is less than $1,500.00.
  • Whether or not the bad check offender has existing warrants and/or a criminal record, in which case he/she is not eligible for the Citation Program.

If the amount of the insufficient check is $1,500.00 or more, the merchant must present the collection item along with the Ten Day Notice letter to the Magistrate's Office in order to have a criminal warrant issued. A processing fee is charged regardless of whether the citation or the warrant is issued. This fee is reimbursed to the merchant by the offender upon collection of the debt.

The warrant process can involve a lengthy time period (usually a year or more) before the case is actually settled, and the merchant may or may not receive restitution. Additionally, the maker of the bad check is left with a permanent criminal record. Therefore, it is in the best interest of both the merchant and the maker of the bad check to utilize the Citation Program whenever possible.

If the amount of the insufficient check is $1,500.00 or less, the merchant can elect to have a Bad Check Citation issued instead of a warrant. The procedure and the cost are the same, however, the settlement process is greatly simplified. Collection time on a citation averages between 45-60 days and the offender will not have a criminal record if the debt is settled promptly.

When the citation method is used, the offender is notified of the Bad Check Citation through the mail via letter from the Cobb County Sheriff's Office Citation Section. The letter informs the offender that a citation was issued by the Magistrate Court of Cobb County charging them with the criminal offense of issuing a bad check. The offender is instruction to "report to the Cobb County Sheriff's Office" and "voluntarily accept service...and avoid having a permanent arrest record." The offender is warned in the letter that "failure to report and accept service could result in the issuance of a criminal warrant and subsequent arrest."

Once the offender contacts the Sheriff's Office, he/she has fifteen (15) days in which to satisfy the bad check and the processing costs associated with the bad check. If the offender fails to meet this requirement, the court date set at the time of acceptance of the citation will be invoked, and the offender will have to appear before the Magistrate Court to make payment. Payment may be made until 5:00PM on the court date. If payment is not made, the citation is converted to a misdemeanor arrest warrant.

(Video) Georgia's 230,000 unserved arrest warrants: How many are in Bibb County?

If the amount of the insufficient check is $1,500.00 or more

If the amount of the insufficient check is $1,500.00 or more, the merchant must present the collection item along with the Ten Day Notice letter to the Magistrate's Office in order to have a criminal warrant issued. A processing fee is charged regardless of whether the citation or the warrant is issued. This fee is reimbursed to the merchant by the offender upon collection of the debt. The warrant process can involve a lengthy time period (usually a year or more) before the case is actually settled, and the merchant may or may not receive restitution. Additionally, the maker of the bad check is left with a permanent criminal record. Therefore, it is in the best interest of both the merchant and the maker of the bad check to utilize the Citation Program whenever possible.

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If the amount of the insufficient check is $1,500.00 or less

If the amount of the insufficient check is $1,500.00 or less, the merchant can elect to have a Bad Check Citation issued instead of a warrant. The procedure and the cost are the same, however, the settlement process is greatly simplified. Collection time on a citation averages between 45-60 days and the offender will not have a criminal record if the debt is settled promptly.

When the citation method is used, the offender is notified of the Bad Check Citation through the mail via letter from the Cobb County Sheriff's Office Citation Section. The letter informs the offender that a citation was issued by the Magistrate Court of Cobb County charging them with the criminal offense of issuing a bad check. The offender is instruction to "report to the Cobb County Sheriff's Office" and "voluntarily accept service...and avoid having a permanent arrest record." The offender is warned in the letter that "failure to report and accept service could result in the issuance of a criminal warrant and subsequent arrest."

Once the offender contacts the Sheriff's Office, he/she has fifteen (15) days in which to satisfy the bad check and the processing costs associated with the bad check. If the offender fails to meet this requirement, the court date set at the time of acceptance of the citation will be invoked, and the offender will have to appear before the Magistrate Court to make payment. Payment may be made until 5 p.m.on the court date. If payment is not made, the citation is converted to a misdemeanor arrest warrant.

(Video) Cobb police issue arrest warrant for Georgia sheriff after sexual battery investigation

FAQs

How long does it take for a warrant to go away in Georgia? ›

A Ramey warrant usually expires after 90 days from the date it was issued.

How do warrants work in GA? ›

If a Judge finds probable cause exists to believe a crime was committed, the Judge can issue an arrest warrant for the Applicant, the Accused, or witnesses regardless of whether they are present at the hearing. In rare instances, the judge may issue a warrant without a hearing, pursuant to O.C.G.A § 17-4-40(b)(6).

How long do you stay in jail for a bench warrant in Georgia? ›

Arrest on a bench warrant, Driver's License Suspension, Jail for up to 3 days or a fine of up to $200.

What is a warrant hearing in Georgia? ›

At the warrant application hearing, a determination shall be made whether or not probable cause exists for the issuance of a warrant for the arrest of the person whose arrest is sought. If the judge or other officer finds that probable cause exists, the warrant may issue instanter.

Can you pay off a warrant in GA? ›

If you know or find out a bench warrant is out for your arrest, you can call the clerk of the court or the police department and arrange to come in and the pay the bail. Once you pay the bail, the warrant will be recalled.

What happens after a warrant is issued? ›

The bailiff will usually send the defendant a letter saying that a warrant has been issued and that he or she must pay within seven days. If the defendant pays, the court will send you the money. This could take up to 15 days if the defendant paid by cheque.

How long does a warrant stay active? ›

Warrants do not last forever; the police have up to three months to arrest a person after a warrant being issued. Certain terms and police powers will also be laid out in a warrant. For instance, the courts may set a time frame determining when an arrest can take place.

How long can a jail hold you on a warrant from another county in Georgia? ›

A: Generally, the arresting county is going to transport the person to the original county where the FTA occurred so they can appear in court. The county can hold the person up to 30 days before they transport them.

Do probation warrants expire in Georgia? ›

However, when criminal defendants violate their probation they may be sentenced to serve the rest of their probation in jail. Criminal arrest warrants don't expire. Instead, they must be revoked by a probation officer, judge or other officer of the court.

What is a good excuse to reschedule a court date? ›

Serious health issues or medical emergencies. Being held in custody for another offense. Death of an immediate family member.

How long is a misdemeanor warrant good for in Georgia? ›

Law enforcement has two years from the date of the alleged misdemeanor to bring formal charges. This means a criminal arrest warrant or an accusation filed with the court. If the warrants were executed prior to the two year statute of limitations, then the charges may still be active.

What happens when you get a warrant for not showing up to court? ›

If you do not attend court a warrant will be issued for your arrest and it is likely that the police will come looking for you at your home address, or you could be stopped on the street.

Can a prosecutor issue a warrant? ›

If the findings and recommendations are affirmed by the provincial or city prosecutor, or by the Ombudsman or his deputy, and the corresponding information is filed, he shall issue a warrant of arrest.

Does it warrant meaning? ›

noun. authorization, sanction, or justification. something that serves to give reliable or formal assurance of something; guarantee, pledge, or security.

How do I file for a behavior warrant in Georgia? ›

An applicant filing a Good Behavior Warrant will need to personally come into the Magistrate office (Main Courthouse, 16001 Barnesville Street, Zebulon, Georgia 30295) to fill out an application. The applicant must have the respondent's (defendant's) physical address and an incident report from law enforcement.

How do I clear a warrant in Georgia? ›

Deal with a bench warrant by calling the clerk of court in the county that issued the warrant. Explain to the clerk that you have a bench warrant against you and would like to resolve the matter. You can also call the local police department's non-emergency number and arrange a date to come in and pay your bail.

How do I cancel a warrant? ›

1. Immediately file an application for cancellation of Non Bailable warrant before the magistrate Court who issued the NBW against your father, as the offence is bailable, the court will cancel the same and grant him bail. Anticipatory bail can not be filed in bailable offences.

What's a Ramey warrant? ›

A Ramey Warrant is an arrest warrant signed and issued by a judge directing a law enforcement officer to arrest a specific suspect. It is usually three or four pages in length and includes the name of the suspect, his or her address, and a physical description of the suspect.

Does a warrant have to be signed by the courts? ›

The law states that a warrant does not need a wet-ink signature. The reason a wet-ink signature is not required is that the enforcement agent certificate – which you can request to see when they first show up – must have a wet-ink signature by a judge.

How do you pay for a warrant of control? ›

You may pay the fee by cheque or postal order. Make your cheque out to 'HM Courts & Tribunals Service'. If you are using MCOL to issue your request for a warrant of control, you will be asked to pay the fee by credit card or debit card.

Can you go to jail for a criminal summons? ›

“Sometimes people don't realize what they face when they are served with a summons. A criminal summons can be issued on even serious felony charges in Raleigh NC.” What is a Warrant for Arrest? But for getting arrested and taken to jail, a summons is just like a Warrant for Arrest.

Will I get stopped at the airport if I have a warrant? ›

If an outstanding warrant is discovered, you will likely be detained, the police will be called and you will be arrested at the airport and taken into custody.

What is a first instance warrant? ›

These warrants are issued by the Court when a defendant has failed to appear in court on the date stipulated on either the summons or the bail agreement.

What is the statute of limitations on a felony in Georgia? ›

Criminal Law Statute of Limitations Georgia

If you are accused of felony theft, for example, the state has 4 years from the time the crime occurred to officially charge you. If the state attempts to pursue charges 5 years after the act, you may be able to have the case dismissed based upon the statute of limitations.

How long can they hold you in jail without a bond in Georgia? ›

In Georgia, authorities can keep defendants in jail for up to seventy-two hours before they formally charge them with criminal violations. For warrantless arrests, the law only allows forty-eight hours.

How long can you be held in jail without being convicted? ›

Generally, the standard time the police can hold you for is 24 hours until they will need to charge you with a criminal offence or release you. In exceptional circumstances, they can apply to hold you for longer, up to 36 or 96 hours. This is usually if you are suspected of more serious crimes such a murder.

How long can a criminal case stay open in Georgia? ›

Statute of Limitations: Felonies and Misdemeanors

seven years for felonies against victims younger than 18. seven years for felonies punishable by death or life imprisonment. four years for other felonies, and. two years for misdemeanors.

Can you get a bond for probation violation in Georgia? ›

The short answer is "yes bond is possible in a Georgia probation violation." However, the truth is that judges rarely grant bail on a probation violation. Probation Violations in Georgia are serious matters that demand immediate attention because most people remain in jail while the matter is being resolved.

What happens if you violate your probation for the first time? ›

If you violate probation for the first time, you may be sentenced to an extension of probation. When the offense is considered minor, a judge might require you to perform more community service hours or attend a rehabilitation program. The judge might take this opportunity to help you get your life back on track.

Is there a statute of limitations on probation violation in Georgia? ›

Limits. Legally, probation violations do not expire; there is no statute of limitations.

What is a good reason to not appear in court? ›

One of the most common valid excuses to miss a court hearing is when you were not properly notified of the date within a reasonable amount of time. If the court didn't send out your date, you can reasonably explain your situation to the judge.

How do I reschedule my court date in Georgia? ›

To change a court date, you must contact your local court. All requests to change a court date should be made at least 5 days prior to your court date.

What to do if you Cannot attend a court hearing? ›

In Summary

If you can't attend or don't want to attend, let the court know as soon as possible. It is risky to allow a court hearing to go ahead in your absence without letting the court know why you aren't there.

Do misdemeanors go away? ›

How long is a misdemeanor on your record? A misdemeanor stays on your record for life unless you successfully petition for expungement. There is no preset “expiration date” for misdemeanor crimes. Even though misdemeanor offenses are less serious than felonies, they are still serious breaches in the eyes of the law.

How do you find out if I have a warrant? ›

How to Find Out If You Have a Warrant
  1. Look up the local records website for your county court or sheriff's department. ...
  2. If you think there is a federal warrant outstanding, you will have to contact the federal court for your district.
  3. Call a local bail bondsman. ...
  4. Hire an attorney.
19 May 2021

What happens if you don't go to magistrates court? ›

If you fail to turn up at Court without reasonable excuse, the Criminal Prosecution Service will apply for a warrant for your arrest which means the Police will come looking for you, arrest you and hold you in the cells until the Magistrates are able to deal with your case.

What happens when you appear at magistrates court? ›

If you plead not guilty and your case is being tried at the Magistrates' Court, you will return for your trial on the appointed date. The trial will proceed as follows: The prosecution will summarise the case against you. The prosecution will call their witnesses.

What happens if a court summons is ignored? ›

If it's a criminal case - when two or four summons are ignored - the court will issue a Non-Bailable Warrant against the defendant which will be sent to the Court Police or Jurisdictional Police Station based on the distance from the defendant's residence from the court.

Why do prosecutors sometimes choose not to prosecute criminal cases? ›

Prosecutors are supposed to both enforce the law and "do justice." Doing justice means that a prosecutor occasionally decides not to prosecute a case (or files less severe charges) because the interests of justice require it, even if the facts of the case might support a conviction.

What is the first stage in the criminal case process called? ›

Arraignment. The suspect makes his first court appearance at the arraignment. During arraignment, the judge reads the charges filed against the defendant in the complaint and the defendant chooses to plead "guilty," "not guilty" or "no contest" to those charges.

What is Rule 113 of the Rules of Court? ›

Officer may summon assistance. – An officer making a lawful arrest may orally summon as many persons as he deems necessary to assist him in effecting the arrest. Every person so summoned by an officer shall assist him in effecting the arrest when he can render such assistance without detriment to himself.

What is an example of a warrant? ›

Warrant is defined as to guarantee, assure or give someone authority to do something. An example of warrant is to guarantee the freshness of flowers in a delivery. An example of warrant is to promise the delivery of goods tomorrow morning. Authorization or certification; sanction, as given by a superior.

What does warrant mean in law? ›

A writ permitting or directing someone to take some action. Frequently, the term refers to a writ from a judge, permitting law enforcement personnel to take some action, such as make an arrest, search a location, or seize some piece of property.

What Does circumstances warrant mean? ›

verb. If something warrants a particular action, it makes the action seem necessary or appropriate for the circumstances.

What happens after a warrant is issued? ›

The bailiff will usually send the defendant a letter saying that a warrant has been issued and that he or she must pay within seven days. If the defendant pays, the court will send you the money. This could take up to 15 days if the defendant paid by cheque.

How long does it take for a warrant to be issued in Georgia? ›

As soon as a warrant is issued, it will normally take a minimum of 2 days for it to be processed through the system and considered active to be served to the offender named on the warrant.

What is a good behavior bond in Georgia? ›

Issuance of a good behavior bond requires sworn testimony against a person in the county whose conduct justifies the belief that the safety, peace, or property of another person in the county is in danger of being injured or disturbed. Most bonds for good behavior cases involve family violence.

How long does a warrant stay active? ›

Warrants do not last forever; the police have up to three months to arrest a person after a warrant being issued. Certain terms and police powers will also be laid out in a warrant. For instance, the courts may set a time frame determining when an arrest can take place.

How long do misdemeanor warrants last in Georgia? ›

Law enforcement has two years from the date of the alleged misdemeanor to bring formal charges. This means a criminal arrest warrant or an accusation filed with the court. If the warrants were executed prior to the two year statute of limitations, then the charges may still be active.

Do probation warrants expire in Georgia? ›

However, when criminal defendants violate their probation they may be sentenced to serve the rest of their probation in jail. Criminal arrest warrants don't expire. Instead, they must be revoked by a probation officer, judge or other officer of the court.

How long can a jail hold you on a warrant from another county in Georgia? ›

A: Generally, the arresting county is going to transport the person to the original county where the FTA occurred so they can appear in court. The county can hold the person up to 30 days before they transport them.

Will I get stopped at the airport if I have a warrant? ›

If an outstanding warrant is discovered, you will likely be detained, the police will be called and you will be arrested at the airport and taken into custody.

What is a first instance warrant? ›

These warrants are issued by the Court when a defendant has failed to appear in court on the date stipulated on either the summons or the bail agreement.

What is the statute of limitations on a felony in Georgia? ›

Criminal Law Statute of Limitations Georgia

If you are accused of felony theft, for example, the state has 4 years from the time the crime occurred to officially charge you. If the state attempts to pursue charges 5 years after the act, you may be able to have the case dismissed based upon the statute of limitations.

Can you go to jail for a misdemeanor in Georgia? ›

Misdemeanor Punishments in Georgia

Under Georgia statute O.C.G.A. §17-10-3, misdemeanors are punished by a fine not to exceed $1,000 or by jail time not to exceed 12 months or both. If convicted of a misdemeanor and required to serve time, it will be served in a county or city jail.

What happens when you violate misdemeanor probation in Georgia? ›

Even if you are complying with the probation rules, committing a misdemeanor during your probation period will be a violation. You could face a penalty of 2 years of the probation term being revoked and having to serve those years in jail.

Do misdemeanors go away in Georgia? ›

A misdemeanor will stay on your criminal record for life in Georgia unless you have it deleted. To qualify for expungement, you must have completed your sentence and not have any other convictions.

Can you get a bond for probation violation in Georgia? ›

The short answer is "yes bond is possible in a Georgia probation violation." However, the truth is that judges rarely grant bail on a probation violation. Probation Violations in Georgia are serious matters that demand immediate attention because most people remain in jail while the matter is being resolved.

What happens if you violate your probation for the first time? ›

If you violate probation for the first time, you may be sentenced to an extension of probation. When the offense is considered minor, a judge might require you to perform more community service hours or attend a rehabilitation program. The judge might take this opportunity to help you get your life back on track.

Is there a statute of limitations on probation violation in Georgia? ›

Limits. Legally, probation violations do not expire; there is no statute of limitations.

How long can they hold you in jail without a bond in Georgia? ›

In Georgia, authorities can keep defendants in jail for up to seventy-two hours before they formally charge them with criminal violations. For warrantless arrests, the law only allows forty-eight hours.

How long can you be held in jail without being convicted? ›

Generally, the standard time the police can hold you for is 24 hours until they will need to charge you with a criminal offence or release you. In exceptional circumstances, they can apply to hold you for longer, up to 36 or 96 hours. This is usually if you are suspected of more serious crimes such a murder.

How long can a criminal case stay open in Georgia? ›

Statute of Limitations: Felonies and Misdemeanors

seven years for felonies against victims younger than 18. seven years for felonies punishable by death or life imprisonment. four years for other felonies, and. two years for misdemeanors.

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