Pleading Not Guilty & Having a Trial

Trial Procedure

At trial, the state has the burden to prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. To have a trial you must attend court on your court (arraignment) date and plead not guilty. Your Municipal Court non-jury (bench) trial will be scheduled for a later date.

If you change your mind and decide you do not want a trial, you may change your plea before your trial date but you must come in person to do so. If you fail to attend the trial as scheduled you will be subject to arrest and assessment of fees and court costs.

Jury Trial

If you are charged with a state misdemeanor violation, you have a right to a jury trial. If you want a jury trial, your case will be transferred from Municipal Court to the State Court of Athens-Clarke County. When you request a jury trial, you will be given a written notice of your new court date (which will be an initial appearance, not a trial date) in State Court.


If you are found guilty at trial, your fine could be up to $1,000 plus surcharges, and you could be required to serve up to 12 months for state law violations or six months for local ordinance violations in jail or on probation. If you are sentenced to probation, you may also be required to pay a monthly probation supervision fee.