I was arrested for DUI in Atlanta. I appeared on my case a couple of time in the City of Atlanta Municipal Court, and the case was transferred from the Municipal Court to the Fulton County State Court. It's been over a year and I still don't have a court date. Why does it take so long to get a court date in Fulton County?
It is not at all uncommon for defendants to experience delays in excess of 1 year between the date that their case is transferred to the Fulton County State Court and the date of their initial appearance (arraignment) in Fulton County State Court. The reason for such a long delay is fairly simple: Fulton County State and Superior Courts handle almost 50 percent of the total number of criminal cases for the entirety of the State of Georgia in a single calendar year. That's right, this county is so busy that it processes nearly one-half of the total number of criminal cases for the whole state. Also, consider all of the different sources of misdemeanor criminal cases that feed into the Fulton County State Court. Every one of the municipal courts in Fulton County process cases into the Fulton County State:
- Johns Creek
- Mountain Park
- Sandy Springs
- Chattahoochee Hill Country
- College Park
- East Point
- Union City
And, those are not the only sources of misdemeanor criminal cases being processed into Fulton County State Court. Some cases originate in Fulton County State Court by warrants, some cases are processed into the Fulton County Magistrate Courts, and some cases are referred to the State Court from the Superior Court.
So, the delay is understandable.
But this whole discussion about why delays occur in Fulton County State Court misdemeanor prosecutions ignores the real question that most criminal defendants want to know: are the delays good or bad for me?
DOES THE DELAY IN FULTON COUNTY HURT OR HELP YOUR CASE?
The delay will not be harmful to your defense as long as you or your lawyer are not causing it. I have written extensively about the constitutional speedy trial right in Georgia.
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