Forsyth County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Forsyth County. See below for more information about criminal cases in Forsyth 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.
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.
Burden of Proof
The burden of proof is always on the prosecution in a criminal trial. In other words, the prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime. The defense must only prove that there is a reasonable possibility that the defendant did NOT commit the crime. If the prosecution cannot prove that the defendant committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, the jury will be instructed to find the defendant not-guilty.
Mandatory Appearances in Forsyth County Criminal Court
At a mandatory or required court appearance in Forsyth 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.
The Right to Counsel
The Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the U.s. Constitution give defendants in criminal cases the right to counsel/attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney one will be appointed to represent you. Like other rights a defendant has, this one can be waived as well and alternatively you can choose to represent yourself.
Forsyth County Criminal Court hearings
Criminal hearings in Forsyth County will take place at the Forsyth County Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the Forsyth County Criminal Court Locations.
Forsyth County Prosecutor
For criminal cases in Forsyth County, the prosecutor will be a representative of Forsyth County. The Forsyth 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.
I need help for my Forsyth 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 Forsyth 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 Forsyth 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.
In a jury trial in Forsyth 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.
Appealing a Criminal Conviciton
A defendant may appeal a criminal conviction to an appellate court. In an appeal, the actual trial is not redone, but the appellate court hears arguments that the criminal case was not handled in a legal manner at the original criminal court. The appellate court can either uphold the conviction, or determine that errors were made and may request a retrial, a resentencing of the defendant or that the charges be dismissed.
Forsyth County Arraignments
An arraignment is a court hearing. In Forsyth County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Forsyth 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 Forsyth 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.
If guilty, who sentences the defendant?
If the defendant is found guilty after the trial, the defendent will be sentenced. In some cases, this can occur at the same hearing the defendant is found guilty in court, in other cases a separate hearing will be required. Often the prosecution will request a particular sentence for the defendant and the judge will determine whether to enforce this sentence or impose a different sentence for the defendant.
Forsyth County Criminal Court Locations
Forsyth County Superior Court
Address: 100 Courthouse Square, Room 010, Cumming GA 30040
Phone: 770-781-2120 Fax: 770-886-2858
State Court of Forsyth County
Address: 100 Courthouse Square Room 010, Cumming GA 30040
Phone: 770-781-2120 Fax: 770-886-2858
Forsyth County Magistrate Court
Address: 1090 Tribble Gap Road, Cumming GA 30040
Phone: 770-781-2211 Fax: 770-844-7581
Forsyth County Juvenile Court
Address: 875 Lanier 400 Parkway, Suite 100, Cumming GA 30040
Phone: 770-781-3099 Fax: 770-781-3089
Municipal Court of Cumming
Address: 301 Veterans Memorial Boulevard, Cumming GA 30040
Phone: 770-781-2002 Fax: 770-781-3481