DeKalb County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in DeKalb County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in DeKalb County.
Can I appeal a guilty verdict?
If found guilty, a defendant may decide to appeal his case to an appelate court. The appellate court will not retry the case, they will examine the proceedings in the lower court to make sure they were done in a legal manner. The appellate court can either uphold the original conviction, or determine that due to errors made in the original trial, that there must be a retrial, resentencing or a complete dismissal of the charges.
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.
Mandatory Appearances in DeKalb County Criminal Court
At a mandatory or required court appearance in DeKalb County, the defendant must appear before the court. In the event of a “Failure to Appear” the judge may issue a warrant for the arrest of the defendant. Note: not all criminal hearings are mandatory, in a non-mandatory hearing an attorney may appear on your behalf without you being in court.
DeKalb County Arraignments
An arraignment is a court hearing. In DeKalb County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in DeKalb County Criminal Court and the judge will read the charges that were filed against the defendant. The judge will also read the rights the defendant has and ask the defendant if they understand both the charges filed against them and their rights as a defendant in the case. In DeKalb County a plea of Guilty, Not Guilty or No Contest may be entered. In a guilty or no contest plea the sentencing of the defendant may take place at the same arraignment hearing or a later date may be scheduled for sentencing. For a not guilty plea, a date will be set for a trial.
A Plea Agreement, sometimes known as a Plea Bargain is an agreement between the prosecution and the defendant, where the defendant pleads guilty or no contest often in exchange for a lesser charge or lighter recommended sentence. A large majority of criminal cases end in a plea agreement. In DeKalb County you can inform your attorney to negotiate with the prosecution to attempt to come to a plea agreement, but this is dependent upon the charge severity and also the prosecutors willingness to accept a plea deal.
Who can help me in DeKalb County?
For general information about your case the DeKalb County court clerk will be able to provide legal information about your specific criminal case. Legal information is not legal advice though, the court clerk will only be able to provide information about your case, like date/time of hearings what will occur at the hearing and what you may be required to do in the hearing. They cannot provide advice about what you should do or what the best legal options may be for your particular case. Only an attorney can provide legal advice and this is your best place for information about your specific criminal proceeding. If you cannot afford to hire a private attorney to represent you, a judge will appoint an attorney to represent you, this is most often a public defender.
Where will DeKalb County criminal case hearings take place?
Criminal cases will take place at the criminal courts of DeKalb County. See here for the location of the criminal courts in DeKalb County.
Burden of Proof Requirement
In a criminal case in the United States, the burden of proof always requires the prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty. This is a high threshold that must be met by the prosecution when presenting evidence in a case. If the prosecution fails in it’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt the judge must find the defendant not guilty. In a jury trial, the judge will inform the jury what this burden is and their obligation to find the defendant not guilty if they feel the prosecution did prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
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 DeKalb County a public defender will be appointed by the judge if you cannot afford private representation.
Prosecutor in DeKalb County
In DeKalb County, the prosecutor is an attorney representing DeKalb County. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent Georgia. For the most part, the prosecutor in DeKalb County has discretion to both decide whether to file charges and also negotiate a potential plea deal with the defendant.
Jury Deliberations in DeKalb County
In DeKalb County, jury deliberations will take place in a jury trial after the prosecution and defense have presented their cases and rested. At this point, the judge will provide a list of instructions to the jury about what they are allowed and not allowed to do and what verdict options are available for them to decide. The jury will be sent to a private room to discuss the evidence presented in the case and attempt to reach a unaminous decision. When a unaminous decision is reached, the jury will inform the judge that they have reached a verdict and will return to the courtroom for the verdict to be read allowed. In the event that the jury cannot reach a unanimous verdict, the jury results in a deadlock and a mistrial is declared.
Right to Jury Trial
For “Serious Crimes”, those that can have a potential penalty of 6 months in jail OR a minimum $500 penalty, the US Constitution guarantees a right to trial by jury. This is guaranteed by Article III of the Constitution and the 6th Amendment. The accused has the ability to waive their right to trial by jury.
DeKalb County Criminal Court Locations
DeKalb County Superior Court
Address: 556 North McDonough Street, Decatur GA 30030
Phone: 404-371-2836 Fax: 404-371-4492
State Court of DeKalb County
Address: 556 North McDonough Street, Decatur GA 30030
DeKalb County Magistrate Court
Address: 556 North McDonough Street, Suite 270, Decatur GA 30030
Phone: 404-371-2261 Fax: 404-371-2986
DeKalb County Juvenile Court
Address: 4309 Memorial Drive, Decatur GA 30030
Phone: 404-294-2749 Fax: 404-294-2702
DeKalb County Recorders Court
Address: 3630 Camp Circle, Decatur GA 30032
Municipal Court of Avondale Estates
Address: 21 North Avondale Plaza, Avondale Estates GA 30002
Phone: 404-294-0531 Fax: 404-299-8137
Municipal Court of Brookhaven
Address: 2 Corporate Boulevard, Suite 125, Brookhaven GA 30329
Municipal Court of Chamblee
Address: 3518 Broad Street, Chamblee GA 30341
Phone: 770-986-5004 Fax: 770-986-5017
Municipal Court of Clarkston
Address: 3921 Church Street, Clarkston GA 30021
Phone: 404-292-9465 Fax: 404-298-1522
Municipal Court of Decatur
Address: 120 West Trinity Place, Decatur GA 30030
Phone: 678-553-6655 Fax: 678-553-6660
Municipal Court of Doraville
Address: 3765 Park Avenue, Doraville GA 30340
Phone: 770-455-1001 Fax: 770-455-7148
Municipal Court of Dunwoody
Address: 41 Perimeter Center East, Suite 103, Dunwoody GA 30346
Phone: 678-382-6970 Fax: 770-396-4717
Municipal Court of Lithonia
Address: 2614-B Max Cleland Boulevard, Lithonia GA
Municipal Court of Pine Lake
Address: PO Box 1325, Pine Lake GA 30072
Phone: 404-292-4250 Fax: 404-292-4859
Municipal Court of Stone Mountain
Address: 875 Main Street, Stone Mountain GA 30083
Phone: 770-879-4981 Fax: 770-879-4976