First, there is bond. If you were arrested you will have to bond out of jail. If you received a citation, you sign that in lieu of paying a bond. Your signature is saying that you will appear in court.
If you are charged with an offense that doesn’t have a preset bond amount then you have to wait for First Appearance where a Judge will set or deny your bond. If the police arrested you without a warrant, you have to see a Judge within 48 hours, if they had a warrant it is 72 hours. The larger counties/jurisdictions have first appearance everyday and sometimes multiple times a day. In the smaller ones there may be a longer wait. (Georgia has 159 counties)
After you bond out, the first court date is arraignment. Arraignment is where you are formally presented with the charges against you and you plead guilty or not guilty. Once you are arraigned the clock starts ticking on certain motions that you can file to preserve your rights. It’s best to hire an attorney prior to arraignment.
After arraignment, if you or your attorney have filed motions there may be a motions calendar. There are typically months between arraignment and your next hearing. And unfortunately, that time frame has gotten even longer because of the backlog that occurred during covid.
After motions is the trial calendar where you or your attorney can announce that you are ready for trial or that you have accepted a plea. (You don’t necessarily have to wait until this time to plea)
Finally, there is a trial and then sentencing if you are found guilty.
If you need help with your misdemeanor arrest or traffic citation, we are here to help.