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Court Proceedings
Court Proceedings and Explanation of Your Rights

Plea and Arraignment

 

What is an arraignment?  An arraignment is the process used by the court to advise you of the charges against you.   More importantly, it is for you to tell the court how you plead to the charges.

 

Three Pleas are acceptable:

 

Not Guilty—denies guilt, case set for non-jury trial, witnesses subpoenaed, police officer appears, your witness appear(s), demonstrative evidence used by either side

 

Guilty---admission of guilt, court enters appropriate sentence which may include fines, probation, and/or jail

 

Nolo Contendere---matter of court discretion, neither an admission nor denial of the charges.  States you are not contesting the charges and do not want a trial.  Admission that you believe the city could prove the charges, if not rebutted by your evidence.  You give up taking sworn testimony


Constitutional Rights

You have guaranteed constitutional rights in this or in any other court:

  • The right to have counsel represent you at every stage of the proceedings.  If you cannot afford counsel, counsel will be appointed for you if you are indigent.

  • The burden of proof always remains upon the City of Douglasville to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt to the trier of fact.

  • The presumption of innocence remains with you throughout the trial.

  • You have the right to remain silent, and your silence will not be used against you.

  • You all also have the right to testify in a trial if you give up your right to remain silent.

  • You have the right to appeal the sentence and judgment of the court within 30 days of the judgment to the Superior Court of Douglas County.


Guilty Pleas That Must Be Heard ByThe Court
  • Any offense that involves loss of driving privileges

  • Any offense that involves incarceration

 

What are some of those offenses?

  • Driving Under the Influence

  • Driving on a Suspended License

  • No Insurance

  • Reckless Driving

  • Aggressive Driving

  • Possession of Marijuana less than one ounce

  • Fleeing/Attempting to Elude

  • Theft by Shoplifting

  • Speeding Under 21 Years of Age

  • Speeding 4th or more speeding citation in two years

 

An officer may also make your charge a mandatory court appearance.  If the officer does this, he or she will check the mandatory appearance box on your citation.  If you are unsure if your charge is a mandatory court appearance, please call the Court Services Division.