As part of the Atlanta Judicial Circuit, Fulton County is home to the largest population in Georgia and includes twelve municipalities along with a number of other unincorporated areas. Fulton is constantly evolving, and it is easy to get lost trying to understand the County’s legal proceedings. Therefore, if you are facing charges in any of Fulton County’s municipalities or unincorporated areas, it is important to consult with an experienced criminal lawyer to help guide you through the process and ensure you know exactly where your case will be held.
Misdemeanor cases in Fulton County can be handled by any of the municipal courts or state courts within the county. Misdemeanor cases that go to state court in Fulton County do not move quite as quickly as they do in municipal court, or as quickly as felony cases do at the state court level.
In Fulton County, any felony case that is brought is initially worked on through the Fulton County Court System, and the Superior Court of Georgia is a general jurisdiction trial court that handles all felony cases.
At the beginning of a felony case, the suspect will be taken to the Fulton County Rice Street Jail, where the arresting officer or detective files a complaint with the District Attorney’s Complaint Room. After the complaint is filed, the person charged with the offense will be arrested, and is usually brought in front of the magistrate judge by 11:00 the morning after the date of the arrest. Following the complaint, this hearing will take place at the Fulton County Rice Street Jail, and at this time depending on the charges, a bond may be set.
Once the bond is set, the person facing charges is given a notice of a court date within the next two weeks for an all-purpose hearing. The Fulton County Court System moves through non-complex or non-violent felony cases extremely quickly.
A person charged with a crime in any of the Fulton County Municipal Courts is subject to state penalties, because all municipal cases that are charged as State law offenses have the opportunity to be bound over to the State Court of Fulton County.
For example, when a person is charged with speeding in the Sandy Springs Municipal Court, if they choose to do so, they can move their case out of Sandy Springs to the State Court of Fulton County by demanding a jury trial. All of the following municipal courts in Fulton County operate this way:
- Municipal Court of Alpharetta
- Municipal Court of Atlanta
- Municipal Court of Chattahoochee Hills
- Municipal Court of College Park
- Municipal Court of East Point
- Municipal Court of Fairburn
- Municipal Court of Hapeville
- Municipal Court of Johns Creek
- Municipal Court of Milton
- Municipal Court of Mountain Park
- Municipal Court of Palmetto
- Municipal Court of Roswell
- Municipal Court of Sandy Springs
- Municipal Court of Union City
Benefits of An Attorney
A good criminal defense lawyer can navigate the waters for you. In addition, he or she can meet with the detectives and sometimes keep cases at the municipal court level rather than send it to the superior court for felony charges to be brought.
An experienced Fulton County criminal lawyer will also know all of the prosecutors, judges, and procedures because Fulton County works differently than any other county in Georgia. There are oftentimes more court dates that move at a more rapid pace in Fulton, while in some cases, court dates may take up to two years to go through the system.