City Ordinance Violation in Georgia Explained

In Georgia, cities and municipalities can make their own laws called local ordinances.

A city ordinance violation is not considered a misdemeanor or felony, but it is still a punishable offense under state law.

During your arraignment, you or your criminal defense lawyer will enter a plea at your first court date. The Georgia municipal court handles cases that occur in the town where the infraction occurred. You do not have an automatic right to a jury trial for ordinance violations .

Some common types of violations found in towns across the United States are:

  • Disorderly conduct
  • Public intoxication (Being drunk in public)
  • Loitering
  • Simple drug possession
  • VandalismPanhandling (Asking people on the street for money)

Penalties If Found Guilty of a City Ordinance Violation

The maximum punishment is typically up to 6 months in jail and a $1,000 fine. Georgia limit on punishment city ordinance violation 6 months in jail. This is slightly less than misdemeanor crimes in Georgia, which can have up to 12 months jail time.

Your official Georgia criminal history background check generally does not include reports of ordinance violations. However, there will be a record in the local municipal court clerk’s office. Private background check companies may still find this information .

A local city ordinances attorney can help negotiate with prosecutors and potentially get charges reduced or dismissed. Our criminal defense lawyers also defend against Georgia city ordinance violations on junk cars.

You also have the right to a trial before a judge (not before a jury). This is called a bench trial. The prosecutor must prove you violated the ordinance. You can testify in your defense but you are not required to.

Top 10 Defenses Against a City Ordinance Violation

Lack of Evidence
One of the most straightforward defenses is to challenge the sufficiency of the evidence against you. The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you violated the ordinance. If the evidence is weak or insufficient, you may be able to get the charges dismissed.

Mistaken Identity

If you were wrongly identified as the person who committed the violation, you can argue mistaken identity. This defense is particularly useful in cases where someone who may have misidentified you witnessed the violation.

Ordinance Vagueness

You can challenge the ordinance itself if it is too vague or ambiguous. An ordinance must be clear enough for an average person to understand what behavior is prohibited. If it is not, it may be deemed unconstitutional.

Lack of Intent

Many city ordinance violations require a specific intent to commit the prohibited act. If you can show that you did not have the intent to violate the ordinance, this can be a strong defense. For example, if someone accuses you of vandalism but you can prove it was an accident, you may avoid conviction.

Compliance with the Ordinance

Sometimes, you can demonstrate that you were actually in compliance with the ordinance. If you are accused of a noise violation, you can defend yourself by proving that the noise was not too loud. This can be a good defense.

Procedural Defenses

You can also challenge the way the case was handled by law enforcement or the court. This involves arguing that the investigation violated your rights or that proper legal procedures were not followed.

Necessity or Emergency

Sometimes, you may have to break the rule because of an emergency or necessity. For example, if you broke a curfew to seek medical help, this could be a valid defense.

Selective Enforcement

If you can prove that the law is being unfairly enforced against you, it can help your case. This evidence requires showing that others who committed the same violation were not prosecuted.

Constitutional Challenges

You can argue that the ordinance violates your constitutional rights, such as freedom of speech or assembly. If the ordinance infringes on your constitutional rights, it may be invalidated.


If you can prove that you were somewhere else at the time the violation occurred, you can use an alibi defense. This requires credible evidence or witness testimony to support your claim.

By consulting with a knowledgeable attorney, you can better understand your rights and options for defense. It is important to seek legal advice from a professional who is well-versed in Georgia’s city laws.

If you broke a city rule in Georgia, talk to a lawyer. They can look at your case and tell you what to do next. An attorney may be able to help get charges reduced or dismissed and protect your record.

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