DUI Probation in Cobb County

If you are entering a plea to a DUI in Cobb County, under Georgia law, there are certain penalties which the Court must impose when you enter your guilty plea.

According to Georgia Law, O.C.G.A. 40-6-391, if you plead guilty to DUI, the Court must:

  • Assess a fine of not less than $300 (but not more than $1,000
  • Sentence you to 24 hours imprisonment
  • Sentence you to complete 40 hours of community service at a 501(c)(3) organization
  • Require completion of a DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program
  • Require completion of a clinical evaluation for substance abuse treatment
  • Require you to serve 1 year on probation.

While on probation, you will also be responsible for paying any supervision fees, you will be regularly drug and alcohol screened, and if you commit any other crimes, you may face even stiffer penalties if your probation is revoked.

These sentencing requirements sound very serious (and they are!) but they are also very discretionary. Cobb County judges have a lot of control over the sentence. For example, some judges will allow you to terminate your probation early if you complete any requirements of your sentence in a reasonable amount of time. Other judges will allow you to complete community service in lieu of paying a fine. Some judges will give you credit for any time served in jail at the time of your arrest, and other Cobb County judges will not make you serve any time if you complete your probation requirements.

Entering a guilty plea to DUI in Cobb County can be a tough pill to swallow. With the right attorney beside you, however, you will have your best chance of reducing the time and money spent on probation and incarcerated. Attorneys are able to present mitigating evidence for the Court’s consideration, and argue why the judge should withhold certain sentence requirements. If you are considering a guilty plea to DUI in Cobb County, call our office first. We may be able to help you make the best of a bad situation, and ensure that you are only being sentenced to the absolute minimums. Call us for a free consultation at 404-581-0999.

Written by Attorney Katherine Edmonds

What to expect during a DUI stop in Chamblee, GA

By: Attorney Alex Henson

If you are suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol in Chamblee, GA you might be pulled over and investigated by police. What can you expect during a DUI stop?

First, the officer might ask you if you’ve had anything to drink. You have the right to remain silent and refuse to answer the question, but always be polite and respectful. Any statements you make could be used against you later in court.

Next, the officer might ask you to perform certain exercises to see if you are safe to drive. These exercises are called Standardized Field Sobriety Tests and your performance could be used against you in court later. The most common of these tests are the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN), the one leg stand, and the walk and turn. It is voluntary to participate in field sobriety tests. Refusing to participate cannot be used against you in court later.

The officer may decide that you are under the influence and less safe to drive. If the officer decides to arrest you, he or she may read you Georgia’s implied consent statement and request chemical testing of your breath or blood. These tests are voluntary, but refusal can result in your license being suspended.

If you are arrested for DUI in Chamblee, GA for DUI, your case will be sent to Chamblee Municipal Court. In the Chamblee Municipal Court, you will have the opportunity to resolve your case. However, if you decide you want a jury trial, your case will be transferred to the State Court of DeKalb County.

If you have been arrested for DUI in Chamblee, GA and would like a free consultation, call us at (404) 581-0999.

DUI IN LOVEJOY MUNICIPAL COURT

By: Erin Dohnalek

After an accused has been arrested for a DUI, if one of the following occurred, an accused MUST send the 30-day appeal letter to attempt to save his/her driver’s license:

  1. After the accused has been arrested, an officer on scene from the Lovejoy Police Department read him/her the correct “Implied Consent” notice and he/she refused to comply with either a blood, breath, or urine test in order to determine his/her blood alcohol content, OR
  2. The accused consented to a blood, breath, or urine test and the results showed that the blood alcohol content of the accused was above the legal limit.

If one of the following occurred, it is of vital importance to send the 30-day appeal of the license suspension letter prior to the deadline or risk the suspension of the accused person’s driver’s license. The suspension could last as long as 1 year.

After sending the 30-day letter, the accused must also be ready to defend his/her criminal allegations. The penalties for a DUI conviction are serious, thus, it is of great importance to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney who understands all of the elements of the offense, the affirmative defenses to such a charge, and all possible options for the accused.

According to O.C.G.A. § 40-6-391, a person commits driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs when it renders them less safe to drive, the person’s alcohol concentration is .08 or more at any time within 3 hours after such driving occurred, or there is any amount of marijuana or other controlled substances present in the accused person’s blood, breath, or urine.

Once the Lovejoy Police Department transfers the criminal charge to the Lovejoy Solicitor’s Office, the criminal case will begin at a proceeding known as an arraignment. There are a few options when the case has landed here at the Lovejoy Municipal Court. Such options include:

  • The accused may plead guilty to DUI, which, for a first DUI conviction, usually will result in 12 months of probation, which requires completion of a Risk Reduction course and at least 40 hours of community service;
  • The accused may plead not guilty to DUI and seek a bench trial with the municipal court judge;
  • The accused may plead not guilty to DUI and seek a jury trial. This will result in the case being bound over to the Clayton County State Court, OR
  • At arraignment, the accused has the option to speak to the Lovejoy City Solicitor in a pretrial conference to discuss other possible options, such as a reduction from the original DUI charge.

Due to the complexity of a driving under the influence criminal case, as well as the related license suspension proceeding, it is of great importance to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney who is skilled at defending such allegations. At the Law Offices of W. Scott Smith, our attorneys are knowledgeable about all possible options for our clients and have vast experience defending such charges. Therefore, if you have been arrested for driving under the influence, please call our office today at 404-581-0999 for a free consultation.

What to expect during a DUI stop in Marietta, GA

By: Attorney Alex Henson

If you are suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol in Marietta, GA you might be pulled over and investigated by police. What can you expect during a DUI stop?

First, the officer might ask you if you’ve had anything to drink. You have the right to remain silent and refuse to answer the question, but always be polite and respectful. Any statements you make could be used against you later in court.

Next, the officer might ask you to perform certain exercises to see if you are safe to drive. These exercises are called Standardized Field Sobriety Tests and your performance could be used against you in court later. The most common of these tests are the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN), the one leg stand, and the walk and turn. It is voluntary to participate in field sobriety tests. Refusing to participate cannot be used against you in court later.

The officer may decide that you are under the influence and less safe to drive. If the officer decides to arrest you, he or she may read you Georgia’s implied consent statement and request chemical testing of your breath or blood. These tests are voluntary, but refusal can result in your license being suspended.

If you are arrested for DUI in Marietta, GA for DUI, your case will be sent to Marietta Municipal Court. In the Marietta Municipal Court, you will have the opportunity to resolve your case. However, if you decide you want a jury trial, your case will be transferred to the State Court of Cobb County.

If you have been arrested for DUI in Marietta, GA and would like a free consultation, call us at (404) 581-0999.

DUI IN BROOKHAVEN MUNICIPAL COURT

By: Erin Dohnalek

After an accused has been arrested for a DUI, if one of the following occurred, an accused MUST send the 30-day appeal letter to attempt to save his/her driver’s license:

1. After the accused has been arrested, an officer on scene from the Brookhaven Police Department read him/her the correct “Implied Consent” notice and he/she refused to comply with either a blood, breath, or urine test in order to determine his/her blood alcohol content, OR

2. The accused consented to a blood, breath, or urine test and the results showed that the blood alcohol content of the accused was above the legal limit.

If one of the following occurred, it is of vital importance to send the 30-day appeal of the license suspension letter prior to the deadline or risk the suspension of the accused person’s driver’s license. The suspension could last as long as 1 year.

After sending the 30-day letter, the accused must also be ready to defend his/her criminal allegations. The penalties for a DUI conviction are serious, thus, it is of great importance to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney who understands all of the elements of the offense, the affirmative defenses to such a charge, and all possible options for the accused.

According to O.C.G.A. § 40-6-391, a person commits driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs when it renders them less safe to drive, the person’s alcohol concentration is .08 or more at any time within 3 hours after such driving occurred, or there is any amount of marijuana or other controlled substances present in the accused person’s blood, breath, or urine.

Once the Brookhaven Police Department transfers the criminal charge to the Brookhaven Solicitor’s Office, the criminal case will begin at a proceeding known as an arraignment. There are a few options when the case has landed here at the Brookhaven Municipal Court. Such options include:

· The accused may plead guilty to DUI, which, for a first DUI conviction, usually will result in 12 months of probation, which requires completion of a Risk Reduction course and at least 40 hours of community service;

· The accused may plead not guilty to DUI and seek a bench trial with the municipal court judge;

· The accused may plead not guilty to DUI and seek a jury trial. This will result in the case being binded over to the Dekalb County State Court, OR

· At arraignment, the accused has the option to speak to the Brookhaven City Solicitor in a pretrial conference to discuss other possible options, such as a reduction from the original DUI charge.

Due to the complexity of a driving under the influence criminal case, as well as the related license suspension proceeding, it is of great importance to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney who is skilled at defending such allegations. At the Law Offices of W. Scott Smith, our attorneys are knowledgeable about all possible options for our clients and have vast experience

defending such charges. Therefore, if you have been arrested for driving under the influence, please call our office today at 404-581-0999 for a free consultation.

What to expect during a DUI stop in Atlanta, GA

By: Attorney Alex Henson

If you are suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol in Atlanta you might be pulled over and investigated by police. What can you expect during a DUI stop?

First, the officer might ask you if you’ve had anything to drink. You have the right to remain silent and refuse to answer the question, but always be polite and respectful. Any statements you make could be used against you later in court.

Next, the officer might ask you to perform certain exercises to see if you are safe to drive. These exercises are called Standardized Field Sobriety Tests and your performance could be used against you in court later. The most common of these tests are the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN), the one leg stand, and the walk and turn. It is voluntary to participate in field sobriety tests. Refusing to participate cannot be used against you in court later.

The officer may decide that you are under the influence and less safe to drive. If the officer decides to arrest you, he or she may read you Georgia’s implied consent statement and request chemical testing of your breath or blood. These tests are voluntary, but refusal can result in your license being suspended. If you have been arrested for DUI and would like a free consultation, call us at (404) 581-0999.

Second DUI arrest in Fulton County, Georgia

By: Erin Dohnalek

In Georgia, sentencing and license consequences get more severe with each new DUI arrest and subsequent conviction. There are mandatory minimum sentences that judges must abide by, and there are required consequences for an accused person’s driving privileges mandated by the Georgia Department of Driver’s Services.

The Offense:

According to O.C.G.A. § 40-6-391, a person commits driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs when it renders them less safe to drive, the person’s alcohol concentration is 0.08 grams or more at any time within 3 hours after such driving occurred, or there is any amount of an illegal controlled substance present in the accused person’s blood or urine.

The mandatory minimum sentencing for a second DUI conviction, if the first was committed in the 10 years preceding the second arrest for DUI, is at least three days in custody. In Fulton County, that means three days must be served at the Fulton County Jail. There also is a requirement that the accused must complete 240 hours of community service, a substance abuse evaluation plus recommended treatment, DUI school, and a Victim Impact Panel. This is all mandated by Georgia law.

In Fulton County, there are two judges who primarily preside over individuals charged with a second DUI: Judge Edlein and Judge Tailor. Both of these judges are in charge of the Fulton County DUI Court Program. A potential consequence of being charged with a second DUI in Fulton County is that DUI Court is pushed to avoid substantial jail sentences.

License Consequences:

One of the most pressing consequences of a second DUI conviction is a mandatory license suspension. If the accused has had a prior DUI conviction in the last ten years, but not in the last five years, the license suspension will be for a period of 120 days. However, a Georgia driver’s license holder will be eligible for a limited permit during that suspension to allow them to drive to essential locations.

Alternatively, if the accused has had a prior DUI conviction in the last five years, the consequences for his/her driving privileges are severe. The accused will be required to surrender their license, and he/she will have a hard license suspension for 120 days with no eligibility for a limited permit. After the 120-day license suspension is up, he/she will then be required to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle for a period of 12 months. After the 12-month period has expired, the accused must continue to drive on a limited permit for two additional months before they will be able to reinstate their permanent driver’s license.

Contact Us:

Due to the severity of the consequences following a second DUI arrest, it is imperative to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to explain all the possible options for an individual charged with a second DUI, to challenge that arrest in order to avoid some of the direct and collateral consequences of a second DUI conviction, and to advocate for their client’s constitutional rights. Therefore, if you have been arrested for a second DUI in Fulton County, please call our office today at 404-581-0999 for a free consultation.

DUI Court in Cobb County

If you have been charged with a DUI in Cobb County, it is important to be aware of your options. One option you may not have considered if you are facing significant jail time is DUI Court. DUI Court is available to those who are charged with their 2nd DUI in 10 years, 3rd DUI or more in their lifetime, or 1st DUI with a history of Reckless Driving convictions. To be eligible for DUI Court in Cobb County, you must also be facing charges sufficient to support a 24-month sentence. This means that you must have at least two charges, such as “DUI” and “Failure to Maintain Lane” or some other offense. There are several other conditions to be met to enroll in DUI Court:

  • Participants may not have any prior convictions for violent felonies or current felony charges involving the use of force against another;
  • Participants may not have any out-of-state warrants;
  • Participants must have a valid immigration status with no immigration holds; and
  • Participants must be 17 years of age or older.

It is important to note that DUI Court is an option even if you do not reside in Cobb County. Non-residents of DUI Court who are accepted into Cobb’s DUI Court program may be able to transfer to the DUI Court in their county of residence.

Cobb County is an intensive program; it is not for the feint of heart. It requires multiple weekly meetings and court appearances, and can sanction you if you violate the program rules. So, why would you consider DUI Court? There are several reasons why DUI Court might be right for you:

  • DUI Court generally offers less jail time than traditional Court-adjudicated DUIs.
  • Court-ordered fines are typically reduced by those who complete DUI Court.
  • Folks struggling with alcohol and substance abuse can find support, counseling, accountability, and treatment in DUI Court.
  • Cobb County DUI Court can help participants in meeting requirements for license reinstatement.

Cobb County DUI Court can make a big difference in the lives of folks who are struggling with alcohol abuse or who are facing a difficult odds in their case. The decision to enter DUI Court is a big one and you shouldn’t have to make it alone. Call our office for a free consultation, and let us know if you are considering DUI Court so that we can help you make an informed decision. 404-581-0999. Written by Attorney Katherine Edmonds.

My lawyer told me they are hoping to get my DUI reduced. What can I do to help?

You may not know it, but you can play a huge role in helping your lawyer get the best deal possible for you in your DUI case. Many people assume that in their criminal case, they are at the mercy of the lawyers on both sides, and that they just have to wait until they hear something about an offer or a court date. This is not so. You have lots of power to affect the outcome of your case by being proactive and taking steps to complete required or recommended conditions for folks facing a DUI charge. Taking charge of your case by taking the following steps shows the solicitor that you are proactive and cooperative, and illustrates to the judge that you are taking the charges seriously and you want to handle the case quickly and responsibly. So, what can you do?

  1. Think about enrolling in a DDS-certified DUI School or Risk Reduction Class. There are dozens of convenient locations all over the state to choose from. The class is 20 hours long, and it costs $260 to enroll in the course. Many locations allow the class to be taken virtually or on weekends, so you should be able to easily find a location and time that works with your schedule. Click the following link for more information on finding a Risk Reduction class near you. Make sure that you provide the Certificate of Completion to your defense attorney or to the solicitor at your court date to show them that you have already started taking steps to handle your case. https://online.dds.ga.gov/ddsgeorgiagov/locations/certified-dui-schools.aspx
  2. Take a Defensive Driving class. DDS requires those who have been convicted of DUI to take a 6-hour certified Defensive Driving Class, and completion of the class is oftentimes a condition to getting a solicitor to agree to reduce your DUI charge to reckless driving or another lesser charge. The class is 6 hours and costs $95. Even if you have not been charged with DUI, but you have lots of points on your license, taking this class can remove up to 7 points from your license and reduce the cost of a traffic fine by up to 20%. This class also provides participants who complete the course with a Certificate of Completion that you can provide to your attorney or the solicitor in Court. Click the following link to see schools in your area: https://online.dds.ga.gov/ddsgeorgiagov/locations/driver-improvement-schools.aspx
  3. Talk to a professional and have an alcohol and/or drug evaluation. If you have been charged with DUI in Georgia, solicitors often want to make sure that there is not an underlying substance abuse issue. Reach out to mental health professionals in your area and make an appointment with a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor. They will have you in to discuss your use of drugs and/or alcohol, and make a recommendation if they believe that, based on your discussions, you need treatment to address alcohol or drug use. Be honest with your counselor so that they can make the best treatment recommendation for you that they can. If you have been recommended treatment, go ahead and begin that recommended treatment. Taking that step to improve your relationship with drugs and/or alcohol can be empowering, and it shows the Court that you recognize that you may have an unhealthy habits, but that you are taking steps to improve your mental and physical wellbeing. We know several excellent professionals if you need any help getting started. Feel free to give us a call at the number below.

We attorneys work hard to make your experience smooth and efficient, but it may feel like your case is moving slowly, and distant court dates can hang over you and weigh you down. Checking one or two of the above items off of your list can help to expedite your case, ensure you get a better offer, and can empower you. You are as much a part of your case as the attorney, and we want you to be involved! We have access to resources and information to help you get through this. We want to help. If you have any questions, please contact our office at (404)-581-0999.

After my DUI arrest, the officer took my license. How can I get to work?

If you have been arrested for a DUI in Georgia and an officer took your license, you may be wondering how you can get to work, school, or even your court date without the risk of getting into trouble. If this is you, then take a look at the citation you were given when you were arrested and take a deep breath. At the bottom of the citation, you should see something that says “temporary driving permit.” Georgia law requires an officer who is arresting you for DUI to seize your license. The citation you receive acts as a temporary driving permit for a period of 45 days from the date you were arrested or while your ALS hearing is pending. For information on filing an ALS petition, please check out this blog post: https://www.peachstatelawyer.com/georgia-administrative-license-suspension-als-hearings-during-the-pandemic/

If your license was valid at the time of arrest, the officer MUST give you this permit. If you did not receive the permit and your license was valid, let us know so that we can contact DDS on your behalf.

This permit, unlike a restricted license or a limited permit, is functionally the same as your regular license. You can travel for work or leisure without restriction on this permit. Additionally, you can find your drivers license number on your citation and visit DDS.georgia.gov and select “check license status” to actually view whether or not your license is valid. So long as the website says your license is valid and you have the 1205 form, you should not have to worry about getting pulled over and not having your license on you. However, be sure to bring the 1205 form with you when you drive in case you are stopped.

If your license has been taken because of a DUI arrest, DO NOT WAIT. Call us today. You have 30 days from the date of the arrest to try to save your license, and on the 46th day after the arrest, the 1205 permit expires. We can help.

Call us at (404)-581-0999!