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What is a Local Ordinance Charge?


Under Georgia law, cities and municipalities are empowered with the right to create their own set of laws and code known as local ordinances or city ordinances. Georgia courts have held that these crimes, which are not technically misdemeanor or felony crimes, are not eligible for a jury trial. In other words, if you are charged with a local ordinance violation, you do not have the automatic right to a jury trial.

Local Ordinance Punishments

Local ordinance crimes can be punished with up to 6 months in jail and a $1,000 fine. This is slightly less than misdemeanor crimes in Georgia, which can be punished with up to 12 months in jail and a $1,000 fine under most circumstances. While most city courts do not generally pursue jail time and sky-high fines on their local ordinance violations, these violations do occasionally draw tough prosecution depending on the crime.

Common Local Ordinance Violations

Some common local ordinance violations in Georgia include:

  • disorderly conduct crimes
  • panhandling and loitering crimes
  • solicitation and prostitution crimes
  • vandalism crimes
  • public intoxication crimes
  • simple drug possession crimes

Local Ordinance Trials

If you are charged with a local ordinance violation, you will be ordered to appear in the city municipal court. Your first court date will be your arraignment date. At arraignment, you are expected to have a lawyer, or be ready to proceed on your own. At arraignment you will likely give the judge your plea of guilty or not guilty, or request to speak with the prosecutor first. While prosecutors are certainly not obligated to speak to you, most will and they will give you a plea offer on your case. In the event you have attended a first court date and requested a trial in front of the judge, you need to find an attorney quickly, as your next court date will likely be a trial date. Remember, in a local ordinance trial you will only be presenting evidence to the judge; you will not have a jury there.

Local Ordinance Lawyers

If you have been charged with a local ordinance violation and are seeking more information and legal services, call my office today. Our lawyers have successfully handled hundreds of these cases and have the knowledge and insight to discuss your best defense. We do not charge for our initial consultation and are flexible on appointment times and payment options should you decide to have us represent you.

We defend local ordinance violations in all North Atlanta municipal courts including:

  • Sandy Springs Court
  • Dunwoody Court
  • Roswell Court
  • Alpharetta Court
  • Milton Court
  • Johns Creek Court
  • Duluth Court
  • Doraville Court
  • Brookhaven Court
  • Canton Court
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