Court Process and Terminology

Typical timeline for all misdemeanor cases and traffic offenses in the State Court of Habersham County:

  • Criminal/traffic offense occurs
  • Warrant/citation is issued and served
  • Arrest is made (in some situations)
  • Bond/bail is set
  • Solicitor General's Office receives the warrant/citation and all related materials
  • Investigation is conducted to determine if charges need to be filed
  • If there is sufficient cause to do so, a formal accusation is filed with the Court
  • Arraignment is held
  • Trial is held
  • Sentence is imposed by the Court

Terms Commonly Used in the Court Process

  • Warrant: An arrest order issued by a Judge after probable cause has been shown by a law enforcement officer or victim.
  • Bail/Bond: Bail is set by Judges for misdemeanor charges that allows for the release of the defendant. Bond conditions may be ordered that will limit or deny contact between the defendant and a victim.
  • Arraignment: This hearing is for the defendant to be advised of the charges against him/her and be allowed an opportunity to plead guilty or not guilty. If the defendant pleads guilty, the Judge will usually sentence the defendant on that day. If the defendant pleads not guilty, the case will be scheduled for trial.
  • Trial: Bench trial, the case is tried before the Judge only; jury trial, the case is presented before the Judge and a jury of six people.
  • Subpoena: A court document that requires your presence in court. If you receive an on-call letter with your subpoena, you must respond to the Solicitor General's Office and let them know how you can be reached at all times during the week of trial. On-call is for the witness or victim's convenience. If the subpoena requires that you be in court, you must report to the courtroom listed on the day and time specified.