- Magistrate Court
- Good Behavior Bonds
Good Behavior Bonds
At a Glance - Quick Definition & Information
A Good Behavior Bond is a temporary bond and acts like a restraining order; essentially, it is a type of "stay away" order. For a Good Behavior Bond to issue, both parties MUST live in Liberty County, Georgia, as the bond orders are ONLY enforceable in the County of issue. The bond order expires within six months of the date of issue. A Good Behavior Bond may be extended upon written request 30 days prior to expiration of the original bond and only after a hearing to show beyond a reasonable doubt that an extension is needed.
- Initial Application - $20.00 non-refundable application fee, as well as a $25.00 non-refundable service fee ($45.00 total)
- Application/Request for Extension of Good Behavior Bond - $10.00 non-refundable application fee, as well as a $25.00 non-refundable service fee ($35.00 total)
- Application for a Rule Nisi for Indirect Criminal Contempt - $25.00 non-refundable service fee
- There is no filing or service fee for Domestic Violence Victims
- Both parties must be residents of Liberty County, Georgia.
- It is helpful, but not necessary, to have copies of any police reports or other evidence pertaining to your issue(s).
- You must provide a valid physical and mailing address along with a date of birth for the defendant. The defendant shall be personally served with notice of the proceeding and the scheduled hearing date.
- An application and affidavit must be completed and sworn testimony must be given to the Court.
- The issuance of a Good Behavior Bond requires that the sworn testimony given, by the plaintiff, pertaining to the conduct of a person within this county, justifies the belief that the safety, peace, or property of another person within this county is in danger of being injured or disturbed. Otherwise, the application may be denied without a hearing.
- A Magistrate will review the application and determine, within the Magistrate’s sole discretion, whether:
- The application should be denied without a hearing for failure to state a prima facie case for a good behavior bond;
- The application should be set for hearing as provided by law and notice of a show cause hearing shall be personally served upon the defendant; or
- Circumstances exist demonstrating that danger to the safety, peace, or property of another person within this county is imminent so that the application should be set for hearing as provided by law and an arrest warrant for the defendant should be issued prior to hearing. The defendant shall be personally served with a copy of the plaintiff’s Affidavit, an Order of Arrest, and an Appearance Bond Order, which will include the court date and special conditions of the bond for the defendant to abide by pending his/her court date.
- If an application is set for hearing, notice of such show cause hearing will be personally served upon the defendant by the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office, as well as mailed to the plaintiff. However, if the application is denied without a hearing, the plaintiff will be notified and no further action will be taken by the Court at that time.
- If the Magistrate determines that the circumstances demonstrate that an arrest warrant should issue against the defendant prior to the hearing, the defendant shall be personally served by the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office with a copy of the Affidavit submitted by the plaintiff, an Order of Arrest, and an Appearance Bond Order, which will include the court date and special conditions of bond for the defendant to abide by pending their court date. In typical Good Behavior Bonds, the special conditions will read that the defendant is to “stay away, absolutely, directly or indirectly, by person, telephone, and in writing, to include, fax, e-mail, text messages, etc.., from the person, home, job, place of worship, and school of (the plaintiff/affiant) , subject to no exceptions, and no third party contact”.
- The defendant, once personally served, is required to appear in court and, if applicable, to abide by the special conditions included in their Appearance Bond Order. If the defendant fails to appear in court, a Bench Warrant for Failure to Appear may be issued for their arrest. If the plaintiff fails to appear, their case may be dismissed.
- During the court hearing, both parties will have the opportunity to offer testimony, present evidence, and call witnesses to testify on their behalf. The Magistrate will determine, after testimony and evidence is presented, whether an Order for a Good Behavior Bond needs to be issued on the defendant. In some cases, the Magistrate may determine that an Order for a Good Behavior Bond also needs to be issued on the plaintiff; these are called Cross Good Behavior Bonds. Depending on the individual circumstances of each case, criminal warrant(s) may be issued on one or both of the parties as well.
- Good Behavior Bonds, once issued, are in effect for up to 6 months from the issue date.
- The conditions of the Good Behavior Bond apply to both parties. The defendant is required to comply with the Order of Good Behavior Bond, and the plaintiff is prohibited from causing the defendant to bring about a violation of the Good Behavior Bond. In gist, neither party is to have any contact with the other unless the Magistrate orders exceptions to the conditions.
- The plaintiff can request an extension of the Good Behavior Bond within 30 days before their Good Behavior Bond expires. After the request/application for an extension of the Good Behavior Bond is submitted, a hearing date may be set, and if so, the defendant shall be personally served by the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office with a show cause hearing notice. At the hearing, the Magistrate will consider all testimony and evidence presented and determine if the Bond should be extended. If granted, the Bond can be extended for up to 6 months.
- If either party alleges the other violated the Good Behavior Bond, he/she can file an Application for a Rule Nisi for Indirect Criminal Contempt in the Magistrate Court. If the application is set for hearing, the alleged contemnor will be personally served by the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office and ordered to appear in court to show cause why they should not be found guilty of Indirect Criminal Contempt for violation of the Court’s order. If the alleged contemnor is found guilty, they can receive a fine and/or jail time.
- Domestic Violence Victims can choose to file a petition for a restraining order or a Temporary Protective Order which are filed through Superior Court in the Liberty County Clerk of Courts Office located at 201 South Main Street, Suite 1200, Hinesville, GA 31313. If a victim needs assistance with filling out and filing their petition they may contact the Tri-County Protective Agency at 912-368-9200, and ask to speak to Cynthia.
- If your situation is not dealing with Domestic Violence, the Superior Court also handles Stalking Protective Orders, which are filed through the Clerk of Court’s office as well.
Good Behavior Bonds are filed in the Magistrate Court located at:
Liberty County Justice Center
201 S Main Street
Suite 2100 (2nd Floor)
Hinesville, GA 31313
Good Behavior Bond Forms
Please refer to the Guidelines for Clerks (PDF) for understanding of what a clerk may or may not do to assist a party.
The information and forms available on this website are not intended as legal advice and should not be considered as such; they are provided for reference only. Consult an attorney for legal advice.