One common misconception I have witnessed over the years is that there is one omnipotent body of law that governs the entire State of Georgia, but it’s more accurate to say that there are many bodies of law that govern our lives, some of them overlapping with each other. These include constitutional law (both federal and state), statutory law, case law, regulatory law, and local law/city ordinances.
Under Georgia law, cities and individual municipalities have the right to create their own set of governing laws, which are known as local and city ordinances. Georgia courts have held that crimes contained in these ordinances, though not technically misdemeanors or felonies, are not eligible for jury trials. Nonetheless, many local ordinance crimes are punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Common local ordinance violations include, but are not limited to:
- Disorderly Conduct
- Disorderly Conduct while Under the Influence
- Panhandling & Loitering
- Public Intoxication
- Public Indecency
- Cruelty to Animals
- Land use, annexation, zoning, and condemnation
Although local ordinances are not necessarily as severe as misdemeanor or felony charges, they should not be taken lightly. Criminal law in Georgia is complex and its proceedings can be confusing to navigate. While every Georgia court must abide by the same state and federal laws, local rules and ordinances vary among individual counties, which may result in different standards from one jurisdiction to another.
I have successfully handled hundreds of these cases throughout my career, and I understand the issues that must be considered in each type of case, as well as the tools and techniques needed to defend them. If you have been charged with a local ordnance violation, contact my office today for a free consultation and case analysis.