Posts

Georgia DUI – License Hearing and Ignition Interlock Device

Do I fight for a license hearing or choose an Ignition Interlock Device? This is a tough question but one that must be answered within thirty days of your arrest. The Ignition Interlock device is a decent option for those individuals charged with a DUI-Refusal where they are facing a hard one-year suspension if they lose the administrative license hearing. The license hearing is the only recommended route for a DUI-Per Se case where you ultimately submitted to a chemical test of your blood, breath, or urine. This recommendation is based on the fact that you are eligible for a limited driving permit even if you lose the hearing. Installing the Ignition Interlock in this situation will just add unnecessary burden and expense. Still, many times we will advise you to submit a request for an administrative hearing even if you are facing the one-year hard suspension , but that decision is based on your personal needs and the facts of your case.

If you wish to file an appeal and request an administrative hearing, then the formal request must be mailed off within thirty days from the date of your arrest. Those are not thirty business days and that is a strict deadline so you must mail your request the Friday before the deadline if it falls on a weekend.

If you wish to go the Ignition Interlock route, then you must first install the Ignition Interlock device at a certified provider. With the Ignition Interlock installed, you must then go to your local DDS branch to show proof of installation and file a waiver of the administrative hearing.

Making this decision isn’t easy, but it’s often the first step of the DUI process. For an in-depth evaluation of all your options, call us today for a free consultation at 404-581-0999.

Atlanta DUI Lawyer

by Mary Agramonte

If you or a loved one has been charged with an Atlanta DUI, picking the right criminal defense attorney can be challenging. You need to look to the credentials, success rate, and reputation of the attorney in the field. Even if you believe you are guilty of the DUI, it is still important to contact an attorney experienced in complex area of DUI law as having a knowledgeable DUI attorney can be the difference in saving and losing your driver’s license. There are some DUIs that if you plead guilty, your license is suspended without a limited permit. The license repercussions of a DUI conviction are one of many reasons to contact a DUI attorney.

Call our firm to speak with experienced DUI attorneys on how to best defend your case. Experienced Atlanta lawyers in our firm are available any time, including nights and weekends, to provide you with the best possible outcome and advice. We can be contacted 24/7 at 404-581-0999 and provide free consultations.

Our firm consists of six highly trained Atlanta and Fulton County attorneys. We have an office near the Municipal Court of Atlanta – and have successfully defended against hundreds of Atlanta DUIs. W. Scott Smith has 18 years of DUI under his belt. He is active The National College of DUI Defense, Georgia Association for Criminal Defense Lawyers, The Lawyer Club of Atlanta, the Cobb County Bar Association and the Sandy Springs Bar Association.

The address of the Atlanta Municipal Court is 150 Garnett Street. This court handles all cases where defendants are charged with traffic misdemeanors and local ordinances within the City of Atlanta in Fulton County. Atlanta has its own police department, and so if you are arrested for a DUI in Fulton County by an Atlanta Police Officer, your case will begin in the Atlanta Municipal Court. Additionally, if you are pulled over and arrested by a Trooper with the Georgia State Patrol within the City of Atlanta, your case will also begin in the Atlanta Municipal Court. DUI Court is currently held by Judge Bey at 1pm and 3pm daily. If you’ve been arrested and are in custody, Atlanta Muncipal Court Judges hold bond hearings Sunday through Friday, daily. The Atlanta Municipal Court does not always hold bond hearings Saturdays, so if you were arrested late Friday night or early Saturday morning you may not see a Judge until Sunday.

If you have been arrested with a DUI in Atlanta or in Fulton County, our lawyers are ready to fight to avoid a DUI conviction. We are a group of knowledgeable attorneys prepared to defend against your Atlanta DUI in order to best protect your freedom and your license. If you have been charged with Driving under the Influence and your case is in the Atlanta Municipal Court, call a law firm with the experience necessary to achieve the most favorable result for you.  We are available 24/7 to speak with you about your Atlanta DUI at 404-581-0999.

 

How Do I Get Out of the City of Atlanta Jail?

by Ryan Walsh

You’ve been arrested in the City of Atlanta. You’re in the back of the patrol car and being transported to Atlanta Pre-Trial Detention Center. What do you do?

First, do not make any statements to the police while you are being transported to the Atlanta Pre-Trial Detention Center.

Second, do not make any statements about the facts of your case to anyone at the Atlanta Pre-Trial Detention Center. This is not the time to plead your innocence. Your sole focus should be on getting out on bond.

You’ve been taken to the Atlanta Pre-Trial Detention Center because your case is going to be beginning in the City of Atlanta Municipal Court. The City of Atlanta Municipal Court has jurisdiction (or responsibility) in handling all traffic offenses, some state law misdemeanors including possession of marijuana, theft by shoplifting, and disorderly conduct; and all City of Atlanta ordinance violations.

You are entitled to a bond on all of these charges. Your bond will be set after first appearing in front of a Judge in most circumstances. City of Atlanta holds first appearance hearings Sunday through Friday. They do not hold first appearance hearings on Saturday, so if you’ve been arrested after first appearance on Friday, you may have to wait until Sunday to go in front of the Judge to get a bond.

The City of Atlanta Judge is required to consider four factors when setting a bond.

  1. Poses no significant risk of fleeing from the jurisdiction of the court or failing to appear in court when required;
  2. Poses no significant threat or danger to any person, to the community, or to any property in the community;
  3. Poses no significant risk of committing any felony pending trial;
  4. Poses no significant risk of intimidating witnesses or otherwise obstructing the administration of justice.

There are several types of bonds available for your case.

  1. Cash Bond: The first option in the City of Atlanta is to pay a cash bond. This means that you pay the entire bond yourself. The benefit to this bond is that it is refundable to you once you resolve your case.
  2. Bail Bondsman: The second option is to call a bonding company. You will pay between 10% – 15% of the total bond to the bonding company. The bonding company will then post the entire bond and you will be released. This 10% – 15% is non-refundable. The City of Atlanta jail will provide you with a list of approved bonding companies.
  3. Signature Bond: In certain circumstances you will be released on Signature bond. A signature bond means you are signing your own bond, promising to appear in court on the next scheduled date.

If you or your loved one is arrested and taken to the Atlanta Pre-Trial Detention Center, please contact us any time and we can assist you in helping get a bond set.

Our office is located in downtown Atlanta at 100 Peachtree Street, Suite 2060, Atlanta, Georgia 30303. Feel free to call us at 404-581-0999 anytime day or night. Also, please go to our website at www.peachstatelawyer.com

 

 

Georgia’s New Distracted Driving Law for Georgia Drivers

by Mary Agramonte

 

As you have probably heard, Georgia’s new law on Distracted Driving will become effective on July 1, 2018. Georgia’s legislature has made the use of a cell phone will driving illegal in response to an alarming rise of traffic fatalities and serious injuries from car accidents.

The new law will prohibit Georgia drivers from the following:

  • Holding a cell phone at all
  • Texting, reading/ sending emails, using internet
  • Watching or recording videos

The following use of electronic devices will still be allowed even under the new law:

  • Speaking/texting with voice based communication
  • Using an earpiece or Bluetooth to talk on the phone
  • Using a navigation or GPS app

The punishment under this new law will be fines, fees, and points. Specifically, for a first conviction in 24 months, you will face a fine of $50.00 which will not include any surcharges and taxes. A second conviction will increase to $100.00 plus court costs and surcharges.

While the cost is fairly slight for a traffic offense, there will be other repercussions of the law. If an officer sees you on the phone, he now has the ability to pull your vehicle over which in some cases could lead to more serious charges. For example, an officer who has lawfully pulled you over for using your phone can then observe an odor of alcohol coming from your vehicle which can then lead to a DUI arrest.

Overall, this bill is being enacted to save lives as talking and texting on a cell phone while driving places other drivers and pedestrians at risk. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, Georgia will now join the other 47 states that have already enacted laws prohibited texting and driving.

Marietta Driving under the Influence (DUI) Lawyer

by Mary Agramonte

If you or a loved one has been charged with a Marietta DUI, contact our firm to speak with experienced DUI attorneys on how to best defend your case. Experienced Marietta lawyers in our firm are available any time, including nights and weekends, to provide you with the best possible outcome and advice. We can be contacted 24/7 at 404-581-0999 and provide free consultations.

Our firm consists of six highly trained Marietta and Cobb County attorneys. We have an office near the Marietta Square and Cobb Courthouse – with the Peach State Lawyer Hummer parked out front. W. Scott Smith has 18 years of DUI under his belt, and is active The National College of DUI Defense, Georgia Association for Criminal Defense Lawyers, The Lawyer Club of Atlanta, the Cobb County Bar Association and the Sandy Springs Bar Association. Mary Agramonte is an associate of W. Scott Smith and is a Marietta and Cobb County DUI lawyer and has successfully completed multiple advanced DUI seminars, as well as attended the renowned Bill Daniels Trial Lawyers College.

The address of Marietta Municipal Court is 240 Lemon St NE, Marietta, GA 30060. It is located in the same building as the Marietta Police Department. This court handles all cases where defendants are charged with traffic misdemeanors and local ordinances within the City of Marietta in Cobb County. The City of Marietta has its own police department, and so if you are arrested for a DUI in Cobb County by a Marietta Police Officer, your case will begin in the Marietta Municipal Court.

If you have been arrested with a DUI in Marietta or in Cobb County, our lawyers are ready to fight to avoid a DUI conviction. We are a group of knowledgeable attorneys prepared to defend against your Cobb County DUI in order to best protect your freedom and your license. If you have been charged with Driving with a Suspended License, a Super Speeder Speeding ticket, or Possession of Marijuana, and your case is in the Marietta Municipal Court, then call a law firm with the experience necessary to achieve the most favorable result for you.  We are available 24/7 to speak with you about your Marietta DUI or Marietta traffic case at 404-581-0999.

Serious Injury by Vehicle and Vehicular Homicide in Georgia

You have been charged in Georgia with Vehicular Homicide or Serious Injury by Vehicle.  There is no way to describe in detail everything that needs to be done in order to reach a successful outcome for a client charged with Vehicular Homicide or Serious Injury by Vehicle in Georgia.  As with every type of Georgia criminal defense case, each case is unique, and there will never be a one size fits all recommendation on how to proceed.

Vehicular Homicide in Georgia provides:

(a) Any person who, without malice aforethought, causes the death of another person through the violation of subsection (a) of Code Section 40-6-163, Code Section 40-6-390 or 40-6-391, or subsection (a) of Code Section 40-6-395 commits the offense of homicide by vehicle in the first degree and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than three years nor more than 15 years.

(b) Any driver of a motor vehicle who, without malice aforethought, causes an accident which causes the death of another person and leaves the scene of the accident in violation of subsection (b) of Code Section 40-6-270 commits the offense of homicide by vehicle in the first degree and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than three years nor more than 15 years.

(c) Any person who causes the death of another person, without an intention to do so, by violating any provision of this title other than subsection (a) of Code Section 40-6-163, subsection (b) of Code Section 40-6-270, Code Section 40-6-390 or 40-6-391, or subsection (a) of Code Section 40-6-395 commits the offense of homicide by vehicle in the second degree when such violation is the cause of said death and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished as provided in Code Section 17-10-3.

(d) Any person who, after being declared a habitual violator as determined under Code Section 40-5-58 and while such person’s license is in revocation, causes the death of another person, without malice aforethought, by operation of a motor vehicle, commits the offense of homicide by vehicle in the first degree and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than five years nor more than 20 years, and adjudication of guilt or imposition of such sentence for a person so convicted may be suspended, probated, deferred, or withheld but only after such person shall have served at least one year in the penitentiary.”

The Georgia charge of Serious Injury by Vehicle provides “Whoever, without malice, shall cause bodily harm to another by depriving him of a member of his body, by rendering a member of his body useless, by seriously disfiguring his body or a member thereof, or by causing organic brain damage which renders the body or any member thereof useless through the violation of Code Section 40-6-390 or 40-6-391 shall be guilty of the crime of serious injury by vehicle. A person convicted under this Code section shall be guilty of a felony and shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one year nor more than 15 years.”

What do you do if you have been charged in Georgia with Vehicular Homicide or Serious Injury by Vehicle?  The answer is going to depend on several factors.  Lets assume for this discussion the accident occurred more than one week prior to you reading this post and less than six months.  The accident happened in Georgia and you already gave a statement to law enforcement as to your recollection.

First, you want to retain a Georgia lawyer that is qualified to handle vehicular homicide cases.  The lawyer’s job will be to recreate the accident scene, assist you with your time line, assist in preserving your recollection and assisting in the investigation from the defense’s perspective.  The most important role will be in collecting and preserving evidence for the investigation.  Examples include: preserving phone records, marks on the highway, weather conditions from the accident day, videos from near the scene and credit card receipts.  Further, the serious injury Georgia lawyer will be a good sounding board for questions and expectations.  The Georgia vehicular homicide attorney will likely put the client on a to-do list involving things to help prepare the case.  The vehicular homicide or serious injury attorney will facilitate hiring an investigator and experts.  The attorney will also want to walk through the scene with the client as soon as possible.

As with anyone facing vehicular homicide charges or serious injury by vehicle charges, one of your immediate concerns will be bond.  If you cannot post a bond on a vehicular homicide case you are going to have no ability to earn money which is very much needed in order to prepare your case.  Further, the cases generally take slightly longer before formal charges are brought as there is almost always an accident reconstruction done by the city, county or State of Georgia that takes time to complete.  The case will not be indicted or accused until the final police accident report is approved.  You will want to be released on a nominal bond with as little conditions as possible.  The consideration for bond are the same as general criminal cases.  They include, likelihood to appear in court when summoned, danger to the community to commit a new felony offense, likelihood of harassing or intimidating witnesses, and your ties to the community.  In some vehicular homicide cases I have handled Judges have required special conditions in order to be released.  They include no driving, no alcohol and a treatment program.

Additionally, in the majority of cases, the injured party themselves or their family in a vehicular homicide case will need to be contacted.  If the fault is clear and the remorse is genuine, you will want to make the injured party or parties aware of your apology.  This step was an integral part of several vehicular homicide cases I successfully defended.  One reason is the prosecutor has a duty to consider the injured victim(s) input on desired outcome.  This is a very sensitive time and you must handle the communication in an appropriate manner.

Lastly, you will want to stop talking about the case to friends, family, law enforcement.  You will want to not post items to social media as your account will be monitored by someone from law enforcement or the victim’s family.  Any statements you make can potentially be used against you.  In rare cases, where you already made a statement to law enforcement, but left out exculpatory (items tending to prove innocence) information, you will want to supplement your statement to law enforcement.  This statement will be made through your attorney after properly being vetted for accuracy and potential harm to your case.

If you or a loved one is facing a Vehicular Homicide or Serious Injury by Vehicle charge, it is important you have an experienced criminal defense attorney with the experience and skill necessary to fight this case. Call us today for a FREE CONSULTATION at 404-581-0999.

Avondale Estates DUI Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been charged with an Avondale Estates DUI, contact our firm to speak with experienced DUI attorneys on how to best defend your case. Experienced Avondale Estates lawyers in our firm are available any time, including nights and weekends, to provide you with the best possible outcome and advice. We can be contacted 24/7 at 404-581-0999 and provide free consultations.

Our firm consists of six highly trained Avondale Estates attorneys. W. Scott Smith has 18 years of DUI law under his belt, and is active The National College of DUI Defense, Georgia Association for Criminal Defense Lawyers, The Lawyer Club of Atlanta, the Cobb County Bar Association and the Sandy Springs Bar Association. The associates of W. Scott Smith, are  Avondale Estates DUI lawyers and have each successfully completed multiple advanced DUI seminars.

The address of Avondale Estates Court is 21 N. Avondale Road in Avondale Estates, Georgia. It is located in City Hall in Avondale Estates. This court handles all cases where defendants are charged with traffic misdemeanors and local ordinances within the City of Avondale Estates. Avondale Estates has its own police department, and so if you are arrested for a DUI in Avondale Estates by an Avondale Estates Police Officer, your case will begin in the Municipal Court.

If you have been arrested with a DUI in Avondale Estates, our lawyers are ready to fight to avoid a DUI conviction. We are a group of knowledgeable attorneys prepared to defend against your Avondale Estates DUI in order to best protect your freedom and your license. We are available 24/7 to speak with you about your Avondale Estates DUI at 404-581-0999.

Are you entitled to Bond in the State of Georgia in Criminal Cases?

The court is authorized but not required to grant a bond in most cases. The court may deny bond or grant a very high bond for more serious offenses, especially with repeat offenders. When deciding whether to grant a bond as well as to what amount, the court considers the following:

Does the person pose a significant threat of fleeing or failing to appear in court?

Does the person pose a significant danger to any person, the community or property?

Does the person pose a significant risk of committing a felony pending trial?

Does the person pose a significant risk of intimidating witnesses or otherwise obstructing the administration of justice?

Hiring an attorney shows that the defendant is committed to showing up to defend against the charges. If you have an active warrant for your arrest, then we can help streamline the turn in process and ensure that there is a bond for the charges so as to prevent excessive incarceration. If your loved one has been denied a bond, then contact us at 404-581-0999 to discuss how we can assist in bringing them back home.

VIDEO – Georgia Drivers License Consequences of a Second in Five Year DUI Conviction in Georgia

If you are convicted of a second DUI charge within a five year period from the dates of arrest, the penalty against your drivers license by the Georgia Department of Drivers Services is escalated. For a second in five conviction, your full driving privileges will be suspended for eighteen months. After first serving a 120 day hard suspension of your license which means no driving at all in those first 120 days, you will be eligible for a twelve month ignition interlock device permit if you have completed the following requirements:

  • You must submit an original certificate of completion of a DDS approved alcohol or drug use risk reduction program
  • Complete a clinical evaluation with a counselor licensed by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities along with any treatment required by the counselor
  • Show proof of installation of an Ignition Interlock Device in your vehicle from a DDS approved vendor
  • Pay a $25 permit fee.

If you cannot afford the cost to obtain an ignition interlock device in your vehicle, the court can exempt you from the requirements of the device, but you will still have to serve that additional twelve month suspension of your license.

After serving the 120 day hard suspension and the additional twelve months with an ignition interlock device, you must still serve an additional two months without the interlock device for a total of eighteen months before you can reinstate your full license.

For reinstatement you must pay the $210 reinstatement fee and show DDS proof that an ignition interlock device was maintained in your vehicle for twelve months or show an order from the court exempting you from the interlock device due to hardship.

A second in five DUI conviction will cause a major impact to your ability to drive. Therefore, it’s important to get out in front of a second DUI arrest by consulting with an attorney to discuss your options in fighting the case. Our experienced attorneys are available twenty four hours a day  seven days a week to talk with you about your case.

Call us today at 404-581-0999. Thank you.

VIDEO – One Leg Stand Field Sobriety Test

by Scott Smith and Ryan Walsh

You’ve agreed to take standardized field sobriety tests and the next thing you know you are raising your foot off the ground, trying to balance on one leg. What is this test? What is the officer looking for? Those questions are the subject of today’s Peach State Lawyer video blog.

The last of the three standardized field sobriety tests is the one leg stand field sobriety test. This test is performed exactly how it sounds. The officer will have you stand with your feet together, hands down by your side. You will then raise one leg six inches off the ground and hold that position, counting out one thousand-one, one thousand-two, and so on, until the officer asks you to stop.

Typically, this test will last approximately thirty seconds. During this test, the officer is looking for four specific clues. Those clues are number one, putting your foot down, hopping, swaying, and using your arms for balance.

If any of these four clues happen once at any time during the test, it constitutes a clue. Exhibiting two clues out of four clues indicates to the officer that you are an impaired driver. An experienced Georgia DUI attorney can help you look at a copy of the video and point out the good and bad things done on the test. This includes the officer’s description and demonstration of the test.

In our experience, people who have nothing to drink can sometimes perform very poorly on this dexterity test.

Our officer of experienced Georgia DUI attorneys can look at your performance on any of these field sobriety tests and tell you the legal and factual defenses we can use to help get your charges dismissed, reduced, or prepared to fight at trial.

We’re available twenty four hours a day, seven days a week to meet with you regarding your pending DUI case. Call us today at 404-581-0999.

Thank you so much.