Any citizen may make an application for a warrant after the event has been reported to the appropriate law enforcement agency. There are certain requirements needed prior to filing:
- The applicant must be 18 years of age or older or the parent or guardian must file on his/her behalf.
- The person against whom the warrant is being requested must be 17 years old or older.
- The alleged crime must have taken place in Carroll County.
- The applicant must provide an incident report from local law enforcement agency which gives statements pertaining to the alleged crime. No application will be accepted without a report.
- A complete mailing address for the person of whom you are requesting a warrant is required.
- The applicant must swear before the clerk of court that the facts given on the application are the truth...
- A $20 application fee must be paid. If the alleged offense falls under the family violence act, or if the applicant is a pauper as defined by law, there is no fee.
The Magistrate Court does not issue restraining ordes or temporary protective orders. Those actions must be filed in the Superior Court of Carroll County. You may however, request a Good Behavior Bond which is a temporary bond and acts like a restraining order.
- Good Behavior Bond
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.
As a practical matter, most bonds for good behavior cases involce family violence; a few involce ongoing, escalating disputes between neighbors. In many cases, the bond for good behavior is one of several possible remedies for a victim. Some of the typical situations where good behavior bonds are used include (1) where a crime has occurred, but the victim is reluctant to pursue criminal prosecution; (2) where probable cause exists for cross-warrants against both parties; (3) where probable cause exists for the crime of terroristic threats but there is no corroboration required for conviction; (4) where stalking of a former domestic partner is combined with a history of past violence; (5) where the seriousness of the criminal conduct does not yet warrant prosecution, but some action is needed to prevent escalation.
A good behavior bond is temporary and acts like a restraining order. If placed on this bond you must comply with specific conditions which may include but are not limited to:
- not violating any criminal laws of any governmental unit or engaging in any illegal or criminal activity
- not engaging in any injurious or vicious habits, especially use of alcoholic beverages and any use of narcotics or other dangerous drugs unless lawfully prescribed to you
- not engaging in any harassing conduct toward the victim directly or indirectly. If you encounter the victim anywhere inadvertently at any time, you must leave immediately and must not come within 200 yards of the victim
- return for a status hearing within 60 days to determine whether the bond will be extended or terminated.
Additional stipulations to bond may include an order for an evaluation and/or treatment for violent behavior, alcohol dependency, or drug dependency.
While under the bond the Court may at anytime, upon proper proof of non-compliance with this bond, find the defendant in contempt of the court's order and fine the defendant up to $200 at the discretion of the Court, incarcerate the defendant in the county jail for up to 10 days and enter a judgment against the defendant in an amount up to the maximum amount of the bond.
19-13-1 "FAMILY VIOLENCE" defined
As used in this article, the term "family violence" means the occurrence of one or more of the following acts between past or present spouses, persons who are parents of the same child, persons living or formally living in the same household:
- any felony;
- commission of offenses of battery, simple battery, simple assault, assault, criminal damage to property, unlawful restraint, or criminal trespass
The term "family violence" shall not be deemed to include reasonable discipline administered by a parent to a child in the form of corporal punishment, restraint, or detention.
Under current law, there are very few instances when a criminal warrant for arrest can be issued immediately upon the application of a private citizen without the scheduling of a formal warrant hearing.
* O.C.G.A. 17-4-40(b)(1). If application is made for a warrant by a person other than a peace officer or law enforcement officer and the application alleges the commission of an offense against the penal laws, the judge or other officer shall schedule a warrant application hearing as provided in the subsection O.C.G.A. 17-4-40(b)(4). At the warrant application hearing the rules regarding admission of evidence at a commitment hearing shall apply. The person seeking the warrant shall have customary rights of presentation of evidence and cross examination of witnesses. The person whose arrest is sought may cross-examine the person or persons applying for a warrant and any other witnesses testifying in support of the application at the hearing. The person whose arrest is sought may present evidence and the cross examination of witnesses to the issue of probable cause. O.C.G.A. 17-4-40(b)(5) 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 for the person who arrest is sought. If the judge finds that probable cause exists, the warrant may issue instanter.
Once all requirements are met and reviewed by the Chief Deputy Clerk, a formal hearing is scheduled before a Magistrate Judge. Notices are sent via mail to the applicant and the accused.
As an applicant, you MUST come to Court on the date it is scheduled to be heard and bring with you any witnesses and documentary evidence to support you accusation against the alleged offender. If you do not appear for court, you may be cited for CONTEMPT OF COURT and run a risk of a $200 and/or up to ten days in jail.
An essential aspect of this procedure is duty of the court to insure that the accused has legal, due process notice of this hearing. If the court finds that an insufficient address was provided, or the mail was returned, as undeliverable, then the hearing will be canceled and the case will be dismissed due to insufficient information on application or continued and placed on hold to allow time for the applicant to provide the court with a good address. Once this address is provided to the court, the case may be placed back on the calendar.
An application of warrant may be withdrawn with approval of Chief Deputy Clerk and upon payment of $30 dismissal fee and completion of dismissal form and/or affidavit. DISMISSAL OF APPLICATIONS CONCERNING FAMILY VIOLENCE CANNOT BE DISMISSED PRIOR TO COURT AND CAN ONLY BE APPROVED BY MAGISTRATE COURT JUDGE AT THE TIME OF HEARING.
Child Abandonment Warrant
The Child Abandonment Warrant is a probable cause warrant to determine if the child has been abandoned. This involves totally abandoning the child or children. The absent parent has to be 30 straight days without visiting or helping financially to be considered abandonment. If there is a case pending with Child Support Recovery, it would need to be closed before filing. (Two agencies cannot have an active case simutaneously.)
The Magistrate Court does not collect money, and cannot order child support. The Court determines if there is cause to make an arrest from the hearing. If an arrest is made because the defendant is found guilty,he/she may bond out and the case is heard in State Court.