Deposit Account Fraud (Bad Checks)
The Magistrate Court handles the issuance of warrants for the offense of deposit account fraud (also known as bad checks). The proper venue for prosecution of the offense of deposit account fraud is the county in which the check was delivered.
Applying for a Warrant for Deposit Account Fraud
An applicant must apply for the warrant in person in the office of the Clerk of Magistrate Court. The applicant should bring a completed Deposit Account Fraud Warrant Application form. More than one check and more than one defendant may be included on an application form (list on page 2 of the form). The applicant should bring a copy of the certified letter required by statute. View a copy of the language required in letter by statute.
The filing fee is $20 per warrant. Multiple checks from the same defendant that are less than $500 and within 90 days of each other may be processed on the same warrant for no additional fee.
Identification of the Defendant
Since the application may result in the issuance of an arrest warrant, proper identification of the defendant is required. In order for an application to be processed, the applicant must provide at least one of the following identifiers for the defendant: date of birth, social security number, or driver’s license number.
Scheduling of Hearing
A hearing will be scheduled as soon as possible, but no sooner than two weeks from the date of filling in order to provide time for notice to be mailed to the parties and witnesses.
The applicant seeking the warrant shall have the customary rights of presentation of evidence and examination of witnesses. The person whose arrest is sought may cross-examine the person or persons applying for the warrant and any other witnesses testifying in support of the application at the hearing. The person whose arrest is sought may bring witnesses and present evidence that probable cause does not exist for his or her arrest. The judge shall have the right to limit the presentation of evidence and the cross-examination of witnesses to the issue of probable cause. Both parties should bring any relevant documents, photos, recordings, or other evidence with them to the hearing.
At the warrant application hearing, the judge will decide whether this is enough evidence to make an arrest. If the judge finds that probable cause exists, the warrant may be issued at the hearing.
Recordings of Hearings
Warrant application hearings are recorded. A party may request a copy of the recording for $10. The request must be in writing, indicate the names of the parties involved and the date of the hearing, and include payment for the recording.
Representation By An Attorney
Either party has the right to be represented by an attorney at the warrant application hearing. Cases will not be continued automatically for failure of a party to seek counsel prior to the hearing. Any legal questions should be directed to an attorney.
Additional Rights of Persons Accused of Crimes
The accused has the right to remain silent, and any testimony given by the accused may be used against him or her. The accused is under no duty to present any evidence tending to prove innocence and is not required to take the stand and testify. If the accused elects not to testify, no inference adverse to the accused shall be drawn by the judge, nor shall such fact be held against the accused in any way. If the accused testifies, the testimony will be recorded and could be used against the accused if the case is prosecuted.
Further Information on Deposit Account Fraud-
Link to law O.C.G.A. § 16-9-20