- Municipal Court
- Our Services
Our mission is to ensure prompt, impartial and consistent adjudication of cases and to maximize the community’s confidence and trust in the court through communication, education, and innovation.
We maintain all original citations for traffic misdemeanors and violations of local ordinances. We also assist with processing payments. Feel free to contact us at 470-809-7400 or email the Court Clerk with questions about citations or scheduled appearances. Please submit all documents, including entry of appearances, motions and demands to the same email address.
Municipalities are authorized to appoint prosecuting attorneys to represent the city’s interest municipal court cases. Prosecuting attorneys must be members in good standing of the State Bar of Georgia and admitted to practice in the appellate courts of Georgia (O.C.G.A. § 15-18-91 et seq.).
Depending on the size of the city’s caseload, prosecutors can be part-time or full-time. Full-time municipal court prosecutors may not engage in the private practice of law, and part-time municipal court prosecutors may not engage in private practice in municipal court nor appear in private practice in any matter in which they have exercised jurisdiction as a prosecutor (O.C.G.A. § 15-18-94).
Although state law does not mandate the appointment of a municipal court prosecutor, it is particularly important that cities have attorneys representing them in criminal cases that carry mandatory jail time, such as driving under the influence, where failure to create a proper record can result in costly appeals and conviction reversals.
Christina Sears serves as solicitor for the City of South Fulton. She can be reached at [email protected].
- Traffic Offenses
- Other Misdemeanors
- Ordinance Violations
- Public Defender
- Interpreter Services
- Paying a Fine
State law authorizes municipal courts to hear violations of state and local traffic laws that occur within the city limits. State traffic offenses are misdemeanors that, in some cases, carry penalties of up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine (O.C.G.A. § 17-10-3(a)(1)). In these cases, the law enforcement or code enforcement officer who observed and documented the offense is the city’s main witness. In addition to traditional fines, the court has the power to order abatement of a nuisance, provided that the city can prove its case.
The Municipal Court also has jurisdiction over certain misdemeanor offenses. Penalties vary with the offense and are typically identified in the statute granting jurisdiction. Examples of these offenses include possession of less than one ounce of marijuana and shoplifting property valued at $300 or less (O.C.G.A. §§ 36-32-6, 36-32-9).
City governments may determine certain actions and types of conduct not already prohibited by state law to be inappropriate and prohibit it by passing ordinances, which include suggested penalties (O.C.G.A. § 36-35-3). State law establishes that the maximum punishment for ordinance offenses is six months incarceration and fines of $1,000 per offense (O.C.G.A. § 36-35-6(a)(2)). Some municipal charters limit the city to lesser maximum punishments for ordinance offenses.
Not all ordinance cases heard in Municipal Court are strictly criminal in nature. For example, some cities have adopted nuisance abatement ordinances, which allow complaints to be brought against property owners for maintaining nuisances or allowing code violations to persist. In these instances, the city is either represented by its code.
Defendants in municipal court who are unable to afford an attorney are entitled to have a public defender appointed to represent them at the city’s expense, if they face the possibility of incarceration and can prove their need. Cities can provide these lawyers through different mechanisms, including appointment by a judge. They also can hire full or part-time lawyers as public defenders, which the City of South Fulton has done. Eligibility and requirements for serving as a public defender are set by the Georgia Public Defender Council.
State and federal laws require municipal courts to provide qualified foreign-language interpreters to defendants and witnesses who are limited in English proficiency. The Americans with Disabilities Act and state law require Georgia courts to provide auxiliary aids or services, such as qualified sign language interpreters for defendants and witnesses who are deaf or hard of hearing. A Municipal Court services representative will assist you in obtaining these services.
Defendants can pay fines or traffic tickets for certain offenses online, by phone or in person. Doing so results in a plea of guilty. Those with multiple citations - including one that requires a court appearance - must appear court on all citations and cannot pay fines in advance.
To determine if your citation requires a court appearance, please contact the court at 470-809-7400 at least two business days after the citation was issued.
All payments must be made by 2 p.m. on the Monday prior to the court session scheduled for Tuesday. You can pay with cash, money orders, certified checks, debit cards and credit cards - MasterCard, Visa, Discover Card and American Express - are accepted. A 5% service fee applies to all credit/debit card transactions. No personal checks are accepted. Fines must be paid in full with no partial payments accepted.
Fines can be paid online via the Traffic Ticket payment page.
Pay by Phone
Payments can also be made over the phone by calling (678) 528-1499.
Pay by Mail
Payments that do not require a court appearance can mailed to the address on the front of the citation.
Pay in Person
Payments can be made in person Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the Municipal Court Office at:
Court Clerk’s Office
5440 Fulton Industrial Boulevard SW
Atlanta, GA 30336