FILING A PRIVATE WARRANT APPLICATION IN FULTON COUNTY
The process of filing a private warrant application is laid out in Georgia Code Section 17-4-40. Once the application is filed and found valid, a hearing will be scheduled during which the accused will have a chance to defend themselves as to why they should not be arrested.
This hearing will happen as soon as possible; Fulton County Magistrate Court waits at least two weeks so the defendant has time to be notified and seek legal counsel, and so any witnesses can also be notified. There are times when the arrest will be made immediately, though, if the judge finds probable cause that any of these circumstances apply:
- There is an immediate or continuing threat to the applicant or a third party;
- The person against whom the warrant is issued will attempt to evade arrest or obstruct justice;
- The person sought is in a local, state or federal jail/prison, or otherwise in the custody of law enforcement;
- The defendant is a fugitive from the law;
- The defendant is wanted for deposit fraud (Georgia Code section 16-9-20), and they have already been given a 10-day notice that payment was refused to the drawee due to lack of funds; or
- The defendant is being charged with family violence.
In addition, if the crime is a felony or of a sexual nature, the application process will be halted while law enforcement investigates the allegations. No warrant will be sent out during a pending felony investigation, unless the investigating detective requests it.
There are some small details to consider if you are filing a private warrant application in Fulton County. First, the crime must have been committed in Fulton. Second, when you file the application, there is a $20 fee, unless the crime was domestic violence or sex-related. You must present a photo ID, as well as all of the details of the crime. Finally, you must have the physical address for all parties listed, so they can be notified of the warrant.
The hearing itself will proceed as a customary court case. Both sides have the right to legal counsel, and may present evidence and cross-examine witnesses. However, all evidence and witnesses must be relevant to probable cause. If, at the end of the hearing, the judge decides there is probable cause, a warrant will be issued for an arrest.
Depending on the evidence given, the warrant may be issued for the applicant, respondent, any witness or any other person who may or may not have been at the hearing, but whom the court believes committed a crime. From there, the normal process of a criminal trial will proceed.