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What Is a Good Behavior Warrant (Good Behavior Bond)?

Georgia law has a provision that permits judicial officers to issue a “good behavior warrant” or “good behavior bond” to those whose conduct justifies the belief that someone else’s safety is in danger. Upon return of the warrant, the court may require collateral in the form of a bond for the individual’s good behavior for the next six months or until the next superior court term (whichever is greater). If the Georgia courts issue a good behavior warrant against you, here’s what you need to know:

Details of the Law in Georgia

Georgia Code Section 17-6-90 describes the provisions of the good behavior warrant law, as well as the requirement of bond and payment of court costs. According to the law, a judicial officer authorized to hold a court of inquiry has the power to issue a good behavior warrant upon his/her own motion or based on information from someone under oath. The individual who receives the warrant has 24 hours to attend a hearing before the court, or for the sheriff to release him/her on bond.

Good behavior bonds are returnable to the court that issued the warrant, as well as amendable according to the court’s discretion. The individual with the warrant will have seven days after release on bond to attend a hearing before the court that issued the warrant. If the court decides there wasn’t sufficient evidence for the warrant, the person who desired the warrant will have to pay the court fees. Otherwise, the defendant will have to fulfill the terms of the bond to avoid being held in contempt of court or criminal penalties.

Georgia law permits one spouse to ask for and receive a good behavior bond against another spouse. A violation of a good behavior bond can result in action against the person, from which financial recovery will go to the person who requested the bond. The superior or state court has the power to extend the timeline of a good behavior warrant from term to term, for additional 60-day periods, at its discretion.

What to Do If You Receive a Good Behavior Warrant in Savannah, Georgia

If a spouse, friend, or stranger brings a cause of action against you and the courts serve you with a good behavior warrant, it means that someone has given sworn testimony that your conduct justifies the belief that someone else’s safety, property, or peace is in danger of injury or damage. What you need to do is follow the directions of the court warrant exactly. Do not miss your court date and do not criminalize yourself by admitting wrongdoing. Instead, hire an experienced defense attorney for assistance.

Whether someone is accusing you of committing a crime, making a terroristic threat, stalking, harassing, insulting, or some other action that warrants a good behavior bond, you need an attorney to help create a defense. The court has served you with an application to keep the peace. It is up to you to either waive your right to a hearing and be on your best behavior for 60 days or to present your case in front of a judge. A lawyer can help you combat a good behavior warrant, disputing the allegations or sworn testimony against you.

Losing your case won’t result in criminal penalties, but it will mean you must pay restitution to the person who requested the warrant against you. It also means you will have to revisit the court once the 60-day period has ended, with proof of your good behavior in hand. The court has the right to extend your bond for as long as it wishes. Fighting the bond, on the other hand, could lead to the courts dismissing the claim against you. Contact Savannah criminal defense attorney Jarrett Maillet J.D., P.C. for more information about your particular case in Georgia.