Clayton County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Clayton County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Clayton County.
What is a Plea Agreement?
A plea agreement is a deal made between the prosecution and the defendant in a case, where the defendant agrees to plea guilty to a particular charge in exchange for some concession from the prosecutor. In practice, more than 90% of criminal cases end with a plea agreement.
I need help for my Clayton County criminal case
The best place to get information about your criminal case is from an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint one to represent you which will assist in your case. For general information about your case the Clayton County court clerk is able to provide general information about your specific case (e.g. date/time hearings, mandatory appearance, what will take place and what you will be required to do). The court clerk for Clayton County will NOT be able to provide legal advice for your case, only an attorney can provide legal advice. The court clerk can provide legal information (like the information found on this website) about your case but cannot provide advice about what you should do in your legal manner.
The Right to Trial by Jury
The Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees the right to a trial by a jury. This is applicable for when the crime can carry a sentence of 6 months in jail OR a $500 fine, these are known as “Serious Crimes”. The defendant can also waive their right to a speedy and public trial.
Right to an attorney
The US Constitution’s Sixth Amendment ensures the right to an attorney regardless of whether or not you can afford one. In Clayton County a public defender will be appointed by the judge if you cannot afford private representation.
Arraignments in Clayton County
During an arraignment in Clayton County, a defendant appears before the court and the judge reads the charges that have been filed against the accused and also informs the defendant of his/her rights. During the arraignment in Clayton County, the defendant can choose to plead one of the following 1) Guilty 2) Not Guilty or 3) No Contest. If the defendant enters a plea of Not Guilty, a date for trial is set. In the event of a Guilty or No Contest Plea in Clayton County the defendant may be sentenced at that time or the sentencing may take place at a later date.
Required Court Appearances in Clayton County
Any required court appearances in Clayton County Criminal Court must be attended by the defendant. Failure to appear in court at your required date and time may result in the judge issuing an arrest warrant.
What is the Burden of Proof?
The term “Burden of Proof” means that the prosecutor is required to prove the guilt of the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecutor cannot provide proof of the defendants guilt, then the judge or jury in a trial must find the defendant not guilty. In the United States the principle innocent until proven guilty derives from this that the defendant is assumed innocent and the prosecution has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty.
In a jury trial in Clayton County, after both the prosecution and defense have rested, the judge will give instructions to the jury and jury deliberations will begin. The jury will convence in a private room to discuss and deliberate the innocence or guilt of the defendant. Once the jury arrives at a unimanous decision, they will inform the judge that they have reached a decision. They will return to the court and the verdict will be read aloud. If the jury cannot reach a unaminous decision, the jury is said to be deadlocked and a mistrial will be declared in the case.
Where will Clayton County criminal case hearings take place?
Criminal cases will take place at the criminal courts of Clayton County. See here for the location of the criminal courts in Clayton County.
At a sentence hearing the judge will inform the defendant of the sentence that will be imposed. This sometimes occurs at the same hearing in which the defendant is found guilty (either by trial or plea agreement). In can also occur at a later date, most often this is due to the complexity of the case where more time is needed to determine the appropriate sentence.
Clayton County Prosecutor
For criminal cases in Clayton County, the prosecutor will be a representative of Clayton County. The Clayton County prosecutor reviews all evidence and ultimately decides whether to file or dismiss charges in the case. Most of the time, the prosecutor has leeway in plea negotiations and determines how the case will be prosecuted.
Appealing a guilty verdict
A defendant may appeal a guilty verdict to an appellate court. This is not a request to have another trial, but a request for an appellate court to review the case and determine that it was handled in a correct legal manner. There are a number of outcomes in an appeal including an upholding of the conviction, a finding that errors were made resulting in a retrial or resentencing or possibly a complete disimissal of all charges.
Clayton County Criminal Court Locations
Clayton County Superior Court
Address: 9151 Tara Boulevard, Room 1CL25, Jonesboro, GA 30236
Phone: 770-477-4565 Fax: 770-477-3489
State Court of Clayton County
Address: 9151 Tara Boulevard, Room 1CL181, Jonesboro, GA 30236
Phone: 678-479-5521 Fax: 770-472-8159
Clayton County Magistrate Court
Address: 9151 Tara Boulevard, Room 1CL25, Jonesboro GA 30236
Clayton County Juvenile Court
Address: 9163 Tara Boulevard, Jonesboro GA 30236
Phone: 770-477-3270 Fax: 770-477-3255
Municipal Court of Forest Park
Address: 320 Cash Memorial Boulevard, Forest Park GA 30297
Phone: 404-608-2363 Fax: 404-608-2377
Municipal Court of Jonesboro
Address: 170 South Main Street, Jonesboro GA 30236
Phone: 770-478-7407 Fax: 678-479-1827
Municipal Court of Lake City
Address: 5455 Jonesboro Road, Lake City GA 30260
Municipal Court of Lovejoy
Address: 2296 Talmadge Road, PO Box 220, Lovejoy GA 30250
Phone: 770-471-2304 Fax: 770-471-6499
Municipal Court of Morrow
Address: 1500 Morrow Road, Morrow GA 30260
Phone: 770-960-3012 Fax: 678-422-5031
Municipal Court of Riverdale
Address: 7200 Church Street, Riverdale GA 30274
Phone: 770-991-0462 Fax: 770-909-8914