1. What does the District Attorney’s Office do?
Answer: The Forsyth County Office of the District Attorney prosecutes all felony criminal activity occurring in Forsyth County.
2. What does the Solicitor’s Office do?
Answer: The Forsyth County Office of the Solicitor prosecutes all misdemeanor criminal activity occurring in Forsyth County.
3. What is the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor?
Answer: A misdemeanor is a crime that is punishable by a period of up to twelve months. A felony is a more serious crime that is punishable by a period of imprisonment longer than 12 months.
4. Who do the District Attorney and the Solicitor represent?
Answer: The District Attorney and the Solicitor represent the people and the laws of the State of Georgia.
5. Who is the defendant?
Answer: The defendant is the one accused of committing the crime and is the one who is on trial.
6. Do I need to have my own lawyer if I am a victim?
Answer: If the case is criminal in nature, the state may prosecute; and you will not need your own lawyer for the criminal trial.
7. I am the victim and I want to drop the charge. Can I?
Answer: Many people incorrectly believe that a victim has the power to “press charges” against the wrongdoer, or to later “drop the charges”. Criminal complaints are prosecuted on behalf of the State of Georgia. Only the Prosecuting Attorney can dismiss the charges. This is important because it takes the responsibility for prosecuting the wrongdoer off the victim’s shoulders and puts it on the Prosecuting Attorney’s, where it legally belongs. It also means that the defendant cannot “pressure” the victim into dropping the charges.
8. I received a subpoena. What do I do?
Answer: If you receive a subpoena to appear in court, you are required by law to attend. Your cooperation is very important to the prosecution of the person accused of the crime. Unfortunately, court hearings are often postponed for any number of reasons. If you receive a subpoena for the Superior Court, please call Rhonda Sorrells, Witness Coordinator, at 770-205-2268 prior to your scheduled court appearance. She will be able to inform you of any changes in the next day’s scheduled hearings and could help you avoid unnecessary trips to the courthouse.
9. The judge ordered the defendant to pay restitution to me, but so far I haven’t received anything. What do I do?
Answer: If the case was a felony please call the Georgia Probation Department at 770-781-2170 and Georgia Probation Management if the case was a misdemeanor at 770-844-8410. Ask to speak to the probation officer that is assigned to the case. The probation officer should be able to assist you.
10. What is a plea bargain?
Answer: A plea bargain is where the defendant admits guilt in return for something from the prosecutor (typically a reduced sentence and/or a reduced charge).
11. Is a plea bargain good or bad for me?
Answer: A plea bargain can help you avoid a trial. This can spare the victim the stress that sometimes occurs when testifying. A jury trial can be like rolling the dice. Even when the prosecutor has a strong case, a jury may come back with a "not guilty" verdict. With a plea bagain, the defendant admits guilt.
12. What happens to the defendant if he or she is found not guilty?
Answer: If the defendant is found not guilty, he or she will no longer be charged with committing the crime. The crime will not go on his or her record.
13. Will the defendant go to jail/prison?
Answer: If the defendant is found guilty or the crime or if the defendant enters a plea of guilty, then the defendant may go to jail/prison or receive probation depending on the crime and his or her past criminal history.
14. What is the primary purpose of the Juvenile Court System?
Answer: The primary purpose of the Juvenile Court System, as provided by Georgia Law, is rehabilitation, not punishment.
15. What happens to most juvenile offenders as far as the disposition of the case?
Answer: Most juvenile dispositions are multifaceted involving such things as probation, attending special classes, counseling, community service, and restitution.
16. Can victims of Juvenile Crime attend the offenders court proceedings?
Answer: Juvenile proceedings differ from those of adult proceedings before the court. Juvenile offenders, due to their age, are afforded the additional right of confidentially. Hence, you as a victim are not allowed to attend court proceedings unless needed as a witness in the case. Victims do have the right to be heard in the courtroom prior to the final disposition of the case. They also have the right to be told of the final case disposition.
17. What should I wear to court?
Answer: You should not wear tank tops, shorts, jeans, or short skirts to court. Wear clothes that are conservative. If you have any questions about what to wear, call us. Please call our office at 770-205-2268 to answer any other questions you may have.