Warrant Application Hearings in Georgia

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We have all heard of warrants being issued: arrest warrants, search warrants and bench warrants. All issued by a legal or government official authorizing a body of law enforcement to arrest a person, search a person’s property or “administer justice” in some form or fashion. But, did you also know that everyday citizens can request a warrant for another person to be arrested? They can do so by filing a warrant application and without the assistance of an attorney.

Warrant Application Made by Persons Other Than Law Enforcement

Georgia law, O.C.G.A. § 17-4-40, provides that a citizen who wishes for another person to be arrested must file a warrant application. The application is usually filed in the Magistrate Court of the county, in which, the alleged crime occurred and cost $20 to file. Further, if the 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. However, the warrant application may be denied without the notice required and any testimony from the affiant provided at the time of the application do not demonstrate probable cause for issuing a warrant.

The person applying for the warrant is the “Applicant” and the person you wish to have arrested is the “Respondent.” The Applicant is the prosecutor on the case and is solely responsible for ensuring the application is complete and accurate. The Applicant must present a current picture ID to complete the warrant application and provide the details of the crime, including where and when it occurred. 

The Warrant Application Hearing

At the warrant application hearing, the rules regarding admission of evidence at a commitment hearing shall apply. The person seeking the warrant shall have the 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 the warrant and any other witnesses testifying in support of the application at the hearing. The person whose arrest is sought may present evidence that probable cause does not exist for his or her arrest. The judge or other officer shall have the right to limit the presentation of evidence and the cross-examination of witnesses to the issue of probable cause.

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 of the person whose arrest is sought. If the judge or other officer finds that probable cause exists, the warrant may issue instanter.

Further, a warrant application hearing shall be conducted only after attempting to notify the person whose arrest is sought by any means approved by the judge or other officer which is reasonably calculated to apprise such person of the date, time, and location of the hearing.

If the person whose arrest is sought does not appear for the warrant application hearing, the judge or other officer shall proceed to hear the application and shall note on the warrant application that such person is not present.

Contact Bixon Law Today

If you are the defendant/respondent in an upcoming warrant hearing, contact us today for assistance. As experienced criminal defense attorneys, we can help answer your questions and help you resolve your case. Here at Bixon Law, we represent clients in Atlanta and throughout the state of Georgia. Our lawyers are committed to helping people in difficult situations and working to get our clients the best possible outcome. We invite you to call us at 404-551-5684 for a free consultation today.