- Magistrate Court
This webpage is made available to the citizens who may have business with the Magistrate Court. It is not intended to be a complete disclosure of all the services provided by this Court or legal procedures and principles pertaining to the Magistrate Court. The Magistrate Court and its employees cannot and will not provide legal advice - to do so would be unlawful. Our office will be happy to explain any process of the various procedures that may be encountered in the Magistrate Court. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask any person associated with the Magistrate Court. Hopefully, this will answer any questions you may have.
Please be advised that all of our Magistrate Judges are prohibited from speaking with any party individually, in person or otherwise, in order to avoid ex parte communications, in accordance with Canon 2, Rule 2.9 of the Code of Judicial Conduct.
For Forms and additional information visit the Georgia Magistrate Council website.
**Effective July 1, 2022, this court will no longer be offering Good Behavior Bond Applications.**
Covid-19 Courtroom Procedures
View COVID-19 precautions to take before entering Washington County Courtroom.
The Magistrate Court of Washington County generally holds court for both civil and criminal matters on Mondays and Wednesdays, with the morning block beginning at 10:00 AM and the afternoon block beginning at 2:00 PM. Bad Check Court and County Ordinance Court are held on the third Wednesday of every month beginning at 9:30 AM. If you believe that you have an upcoming court date, but have not received your notice of hearing in the mail or by e-mail, please contact our office. Except in emergencies, this office will not contact anyone by phone to notify or remind them of their upcoming court date.
First Appearance Hearings, or "Bond Hearings", are conducted every weekday (as needed) at the Washington County Jail at 4 PM.
Civil Matters & Hearings
- Small Claims - The Court's jurisdictional limit is $15,000. Action was taken by individual(s) attempting to collect an unpaid debt. If an answer is filed by the Defendant(s), a hearing is scheduled within (30) days. If a judgment is rendered, an individual has (3) remedies provided by law in which collections may be perfected: Continuing garnishment (wage attachment), one-time garnishment (bank), FIFA (recorded lien against Defendant)
- Dispossessories - Action taken by a landlord to initiate eviction process on a tenant and regain legal possession of the property. If an answer is filed by the Defendant(s), a hearing is scheduled within (2) weeks.
- Writ of Possession - Order by the Court notifying the tenant to vacate said premises within the guidelines of the law.
- Garnishment - Action taken by creditor asks the court to order a third party who is indebted to turn over to the creditor any of the debtor's property (such as wages or bank accounts) held by that third party.
- Foreclosures - Action taken by the party to regain possession of the collateral. If an answer is filed by the Defendant(s), a hearing is scheduled within (2) weeks.
- Writ of Fieri Facias - A lien against Defendant(s) which is recorded through the Clerk of Superior Court. It also can be used as a writ of execution that directs the Sheriff's Department to seize Defendant's personal property to satisfy a money judgment.
- Interrogatories - A question (usually a set of questions) submitted to an opposing party in a lawsuit as part of discovery.
- Abandoned Motor Vehicle Foreclosures - Action taken by a Party to obtain an order from the Court allowing public sale of a vehicle to satisfy an unpaid debt.
Visit Civil E-Filing to submit documents.
Criminal Matters Hearings & Warrants
- Initial Appearance Hearings - Determines if bail can be set in accordance with the laws of the State of Georgia. These hearings are oftentimes conducted pursuant to the laws of the State of Georgia.
- Commitment Hearings - The purpose is to determine if probable cause exists in order to forward the case to the District Attorney's Office for prosecution. These hearings are also known as Preliminary Hearings.
- Pre Warrant Hearings - The purpose is to determine of probable cause exists to justify the issuance of a warrant(s) against an accused. The majority of civilian criminal warrant applications are set for a hearing to provide a fair and impartial inspection of all the facts prior to any decision being rendered. Both the accused and applicant appear at this hearing, along with witnesses, documents, and any other relevant evidence.
- Arrest Warrants - Criminal warrants are issued through the Magistrate Court. Law Enforcement Officers and civilians request warrants based on probable cause. The probable cause determines if a criminal warrant is approved or denied by the Magistrate judge.
- Search Warrants - Law Enforcement Officers are authorized to request search warrants. Civilians cannot apply for a search warrant. The probable cause determines if a search warrant is approved or denied. Search warrants are extremely invasive of a citizen's personal freedom and liberty, therefore tremendous scrutiny is administered when deciding on the approval of this warrant.
- Deposit Account Fraud (Bad Check) - The Magistrate Court handles all misdemeanor bad checks and the prosecution of those misdemeanors while all felony bad checks are prosecuted in Superior Court. Warrants are issued as to these cases.
- County Ordinance Violations - Magistrate courts may try charges of violations of county ordinances. These violations are generally related to illegal use of county dumpster sites, but may include other ordinances as well. If convicted, the maximum penalty for these violations is up to $1,000 in fines and/or imprisonment of no more than 60 days. A representative from CSRA Probation will be present on court days for those who wish to pay their fines through probation services.
- Civil Suits (Small Claims) $ 91.00
- Sheriff's Service (Additional Defendant) $ 50.00
- Dispossessory $ 91.00
- Garnishments $ 91.00
- Writ of Fieri Facias (FIFA) $ 5.00
- Interrogatories $ 10.00
- Pre Warrant Hearing Applications $ 20.00
- Appeals to State Court $212.00 (made payable to Clerk of Superior Court)
- Appeals to Superior Court $202.00 (made payable to Clerk of Superior Court)