Requesting a Warrant
Georgia law (OCGA Section 17-4-40) provides that except in limited circumstances, a citizen who wishes for another person to be arrested must file a warrant application. In Athens-Clarke County, the Magistrate Court has procedures to handle applications for arrest warrants.
Procedure to Apply for a Warrant
In order to apply for a warrant, an applicant must have a copy of the incident report from the Police Department. In order to obtain a copy of the report, you should contact the Athens-Clarke County Police Department at 706-613-3330.
If the crime is a felony, the case must be investigated by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) before you may apply for a warrant. If you have not been contacted by the CID after seven days from the incident, call the CID at 706-613-3337 to inquire about the case. A warrant application will not be scheduled on a pending felony investigation except at the request of the investigating detective.
Complete the Warrant Application Form. For all parties listed, you must have complete addresses, including the apartment number if applicable, and the correct zip code. Deliver the Warrant Application Form, a copy of the police report, and the filing fee to the Clerk of Magistrate Court.
The cost to file a warrant application is $20. If the crime alleged involves an act of domestic violence or a sex crime, there is no fee to file the warrant application.
Scheduling of Hearing
A hearing will be scheduled as soon as possible, but no sooner than two weeks from the date of filling in order to provide time for notice to be mailed to the parties and witnesses.
The applicant seeking the warrant shall have the customary rights of presentation of evidence and examination of witnesses. The person whose arrest is sought may cross-examine the person or persons applying for the warrant and any other witnesses testifying in support of the application at the hearing. The person whose arrest is sought may bring witnesses and present evidence that probable cause does not exist for his or her arrest. The judge shall have the right to limit the presentation of evidence and the cross-examination of witnesses to the issue of probable cause. Both parties should bring any relevant documents, photos, recordings, or other evidence with them to the hearing.
At the warrant application hearing, the judge will decide whether this is enough evidence to make an arrest. If the judge finds that probable cause exists, the warrant may be issued at the hearing.
Recordings of Hearings
Warrant application hearings are recorded. A party may request a copy of the recording for $10. The request must be in writing, indicate the names of the parties involved and the date of the hearing, and include payment for the recording.
Representation By An Attorney
Either party has the right to be represented by an attorney at the warrant application hearing. Cases will not be continued automatically for failure of a party to seek counsel prior to the hearing. Any legal questions should be directed to an attorney.
Additional Rights of Persons Accused of Crimes
The accused has the right to remain silent, and any testimony given by the accused may be used against him or her. The accused is under no duty to present any evidence tending to prove innocence and is not required to take the stand and testify. If the accused elects not to testify, no inference adverse to the accused shall be drawn by the judge, nor shall such fact be held against the accused in any way. If the accused testifies, the testimony will be recorded and could be used against the accused if the case is prosecuted.