In Georgia, any person arrested and charged with an offense will be prosecuted in one of four (4) types of courts:
- municipal court
- state court
- superior court
- federal court
The prosecution of a charge depends on the category of the offense and the jurisdiction in which the alleged offense was committed.
Municipal and State Courts in Georgia
Municipal (city courts) and state courts usually handle the prosecution of the lowest level offenses, including traffic tickets and misdemeanors. Essentially, misdemeanor offenses are those which are punishable by up to twelve (12) months in incarceration or probation or a $1,000.00 fine. Common misdemeanors include:
- Simple Battery
- Theft by Shoplifting
- Theft by Taking
- DUI (Driving Under the Influence), including “less safe” ?
- Possession of Marijuana Less than One Ounce
Additionally, Municipal and state courts deal with High and Aggravated Misdemeanors. These offenses vary in their sentencing range, and are typically more severe than common misdemeanors.
Superior Courts in Georgia
The Superior Courts of Georgia handle prosecution for felony offenses. Punishments for felony offenses are wide-ranging and carry a variety of potential incarceration and fines. Felonies are also the offenses for which a Georgia Department of Corrections sentence are eligible in the State of Georgia. Common felonies include:
- VGCSA (Violation of the Georgia Controlled Substance Act) as Possession of Illegal Drugs
- Possession with Intent to Distribute Illegal Drugs
- Theft Crimes
- Family Violence Crimes including Aggravated Assault and Battery
Federal Courts may choose to prosecute misdemeanors or felonies which constitute a violation of federal statutes, even if the same action is also a violation of a State law.
Why Jurisdiction Matters
The jurisdiction of your offense matters when choosing a defense attorney. Some attorneys specialize in State crimes which appear before the State and Superior Courts in Georgia. Other attorneys specialize in Federal crimes. However, there are some attorneys who have experience in a variety of court systems.
It is therefore wise to choose a defense attorney that regularly practices in the jurisdiction in which you are charged can be beneficial. This is because an attorney’s familiarity with the practices of the Court is important, and demeanor of all those participating in the process of the prosecution.
No matter where you are charged, we at Horne & Griffis are prepared to fight for you against any chargeable offense. Your rights are our priority.