How can I get a bond for good behavior?
Here's how you would go about getting a bond for good behavior:
Step 1. Go to the criminal division of the magistrate court in the county where the incident occurred. Tell the magistrate that you are interested in getting a bond for good behavior taken out on the abuser. Be sure to bring any evidence or police incident reports with you. The magistrate will give you a pre-warrant application form.
Step 2. Fill out the pre-warrant application form. The magistrate may charge you a small fee for this application (often between $30 and $40),1 but this fee can be waived in some situations. You will have to swear that everything you have written is true and sign the forms in front of the magistrate or another court official.
Step 3. The magistrate will take your application to the judge. The judge will review the application. The judge may want to ask you some questions.
Step 4. After reviewing your application, the judge will decide if there is enough evidence and information to have a hearing. If there is not enough evidence, you will have to come back and start over if another incident occurs. If there is enough evidence, the judge will set a hearing date and time. Note: If there is immediate danger to you or to your family, the judge may decide to issue an immediate absolute warrant and arrest the abuser immediately. However, it is much more likely that the judge will just set a hearing date and time.
Step 5. You must go to the hearing. At the hearing, the judge will listen to you and to the abuser, and will look at all the evidence. Then the judge will make a decision. There are three possible decisions:
- The judge may decide that the evidence is so strong, and the situation so dangerous, that the abuser needs to be arrested. In this case, the judge will issue a warrant for the abuser's arrest and take him/her immediately into custody.
- The judge may decide that there is enough evidence to issue a bond for good behavior. (See next steps below.)
- The judge may decide that there is not enough evidence to either issue a bond or to arrest the abuser. In this case, the judge will just let the abuser leave, with no legal action taken.
Step 6. If the judge decides to issue a bond for good behavior, then the abuser will be required to follow the orders set and written down by the judge for the duration of the bond.
Step 7. The abuser will have to pay a certain amount of money to the court or post bond in the form of property. The bond could be anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to several thousand dollars.
Step 8. The bond for good behavior will last for a certain term (such as 6 months),2 but can be renewed in 60-day increments.3 For the duration of the bond, the court will keep the money of the abuser. If the abuser violates the judge's orders or commits any crime against you, then the abuser will lose the money and can be arrested.
Step 9. To renew a bond for good behavior, you must go back to the criminal division of the magistrate court and apply for a renewal.
The magistrate in the criminal division of your county should be able to help you with more specific information if you are interested in filing for a bond for good behavior or you can ask a lawyer for legal advice. Go to our GA Finding a Lawyer page for legal referrals.