Alpharetta DUI Lawyer - Alpharetta DUI Attorney
Alpharetta DUI Defense
For those of you who may not be from the Atlanta area, the city of Alpharetta is a suburb outside of Atlanta, GA. It is located in the northern part of Fulton County. The Alpharetta police force can be very aggressive in attempting to apprehend people driving under the influence. If you have been charged with a DUI in Alpharetta GA, it is crucial that you understand your rights and speak with a lawyer before proceeding any further with your DUI charge. The Law Office of Richard Lawson is here 24/7 to assist you. Call us day or night for a free consultation.
Experience Alpharetta DUI Lawyer
As a Former DUI Prosecutor with over 25 years experience, Richard Lawson knows both sides of your case. His reviews can be found on AVVO. He puts that experience to work for you everyday. You are never alone; there are always potential DUI Defenses. The first thing that needs to be done is the 30-day letter. All Alpharetta DUI Defenses begin with the 30-day letter. This prevents your license from being suspended while the case is pending. You only have thirty days to protect your driver's license. Your rights will not be protected unless you act now.
30-Day Warning for DUI Cases in Alpharetta Georgia
What this means is that you have to take affirmative steps to protect your rights. If you wait for your court date in Alpharetta, you will already have a suspended license by the time that date arrives. You are likely to have been given a permit to drive. It is called a DDS 1205 Form. Turn it over and look at the hearing procedures. You will see you only have thirty days to request an ALS Hearing in Georgia. You must request the hearing and pay $150 to have it set. It has nothing to do with your "court date" in Alpharetta. It is a separate hearing, on a different day, in a different court, and even before a different judge. Do not miss out on your only chance to protect your privilege to drive in Georgia. Even if you were not given the form and have retained your license (after your arrest) I recommend that a letter is sent as a precaution. Don't risk your driver's license over a $150 filing fee.
Most DUI cases in Alpharetta are processed in the Alpharetta Municipal Court, that is located at 12624 Broadwell Road, 2nd Floor Alpharetta, GA 30004. With any DUI arrest in Georgia, there are some very important facts that you need to know. For many people a DUI is their first experience with the Georgia legal system and are simply not aware of the steps they need to take. For example after a DUI arrest, you need to file what is called a 30-day letter in order to stop immediate suspension of your driver's license. Our Alpharetta DUI Attorneys are here to help 24/7. Some cases need to be sent to the State Court of Fulton County for a jury trial. Your Alpharetta DUI Lawyer will know when it is best to send your case to Fulton County.
Map to Alpharetta Municipal Court
Experienced Alpharetta DUI Attorneys
The Law Office of Richard Lawson has been fighting for clients' rights in Alpharetta, GA for over 25 years. Many lawyers in Alpharetta are “general practitioners” meaning they practice DUI law as well as criminal defense, sexual harassment and any other type of legal issue their clients may need. Our practice focuses solely on defending drivers and DUI related cases so you know that your Alpharetta DUI lawyer is going to know everything there is about Alpharetta DUI law. The penalties for DUI can be great and can vary depending on the quality of your defense. Why take a chance with a lawyer that may not have experience handling complicated DUI Cases in Alpharetta? Our Alpharetta DUI Lawyers know the DUI Process in Alpharetta and know how to present your best DUI Defense.
At The Law Office of Richard Lawson, our Georgia DUI lawyers are some of the best in the state. Attorney Richard Lawson has a perfect ‘10' rating on the review website Avvo.com. He also has over 25 years' experience in the field of Georgia DUI law. In addition, he is a former Georgia DUI prosecutor, so he knows both sides of the DUI process. This is a huge advantage for his clients. As a former prosecutor, Richard Lawson is respected by the other side of your case. That includes Alpharetta judges and prosecutors. Our office of DUI Lawyers in Alpharetta are trained by Richard Lawson to defend you.
The City of Alpharetta's Process for DUI Cases
The Alpharetta Municipal Court hears cases involving misdemeanor, traffic, and local ordinance violations that occur within its city limits, as well as misdemeanor DUI offenses.
All defendants must appear on the court date listed on the citation issued by the arresting officer or on their bond paperwork. Your first appearance is the arraignment. Alpharetta has arraignments on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 9:00am and 1:00pm. At arraignment, you may request a pretrial conference with the solicitor to discuss your case and possible resolutions when you check in with the clerk. The judge will call the calendar, which is a list of cases scheduled for that day, at the beginning of the court session. Once your name is called, you will be asked how you wish to proceed. You can answer that you intend to plead guilty, not guilty, nolo contendere, or you can request a pretrial conference at that time if you have not already done so. If you have not already hired an attorney, you will be asked whether you intend to hire one. If you wish to hire an attorney you will be given a new court date to allow you time to do so.
The doors to the courtroom will be locked one hour after the scheduled court session begins. If you arrive after the doors have been locked, your case may be reset.
You may want to obtain all evidence that may available in your case with an open records request to the Alpharetta Police Department. Since most patrol vehicles are equipped with video equipment to record all traffic stops, getting a copy is very important. The request should state that you would like a video of the incident and include the case number, full name of the person involved, date of incident, name of the officer, a phone number where you can be contacted, your mailing address, along with your payment. There is a small fee required for police records and generally the records will be mailed within 3-5 business days.
At your court date, if you choose to have a pretrial conference with the solicitor, you may be able to negotiate a favorable plea bargain or be accepted into a court program designed to resolve cases without a conviction being recorded.
Certain offenses charged along with a DUI may qualify for Alpharetta Municipal Court's Pretrial Diversion Program. No conviction will be entered for the charge if the requirements of the program are completed as directed by the court. The charge will then be dismissed. If you fail to complete the requirements or are charged with committing a new offense before completing the program, you will face prosecution of the original charge along with a potential conviction. The Pretrial Diversion Program for Disorderly Conduct requires the payment of a $250 fee plus court costs, anger management counseling, and treatment.
If your DUI charge is reduced to a Reckless Driving offense in Alpharetta Municipal Court, the sentence imposed can contain conditions relating to the original charge. Your sentence will likely also include time in jail. As a condition of the solicitor's agreement to reduce the DUI charge to Reckless Driving, she will ask that the judge's sentence include serving 72 hours in the Alpharetta jail.
If the case cannot be resolved by a plea, the defendant is expected to decide whether to resolve the case with a bench trial or a trial by jury. A bench trial will be in the Alpharetta Municipal Court, and are held on Thursdays at 9:00 am and 1:00 pm.
A trial by jury must be held in the Fulton County State Court because Municipal Court does not have jurisdiction to hold jury trials. The case must be transferred if one is requested and it may take several months to a year for the case to be accused by the prosecutor in the Fulton County State Court. At that time, it will be assigned to a judge and the case will proceed.
In addition to handling your criminal case in the Alpharetta Municipal Court, most people charged with DUI must also attend an administrative license suspension (ASL) hearing. Georgia law requires you to submit to chemical testing of your breath, blood, or urine to determine the presence of alcohol or drugs if you are arrested for DUI. The arresting officer must advise you of how the test results or your refusal to submit to testing can be used against you as well as other notice requirements. Because driving is deemed a privilege and not a right, the State of Georgia can place restrictions on your driving privileges and also suspend your license or privilege to drive within this state if you refuse to submit to the requested testing or if the results of a state-administered test show that your blood alcohol concentration was 0.08 grams percent or more.
The license suspension goes into effect 30 days after the arrest, but if you send a letter appealing the suspension within 30 days of your arrest, an administrative hearing will be scheduled. This hearing is held at the Roswell Municipal Court on the second Friday of every month at 9:00 am. Judge Ana Kennedy presides over these hearings.
The hearing is limited in scope and only covers the following issues:
- Whether the officer had reasonable grounds to believe the person was operating or in actual physical control of a moving motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance and was lawfully placed under arrest for DUI; or
- Whether the person was involved in a motor vehicle accident or collision resulting in serious injury or fatality; and
- Whether the officer informed the person of his or her implied consent rights at the time a test was requested; and
- Whether the person refused the test; or
- Whether a test was administered and the results indicated a BAC of 0.08 grams or more or, if the person is under the age of 21, a blood alcohol concentration of 0.02 grams or more or, if the person was driving a commercial vehicle, a blood alcohol concentration of 0.04 grams or more; and
- Whether the test was properly administered.
The arresting officer is required to appear and if the officer is not present at the hearing, the license suspension will be reversed. If the officer is present, you may negotiate with the officer to withdraw the request for the license suspension. The agreement you reach with the officer may affect your criminal case. If you are unable to come to an agreement, you can proceed with a hearing before Judge Kennedy.
Getting a DUI can be very scary. If you find yourself charged with a DUI in Alpharetta, GA it is important not to panic. The first step is to call The Law Office of Richard Lawson and speak with an experienced Alpharetta DUI attorney. Your attorney will most likely begin your case by filing a 30-day letter on your behalf. Contact us right away if you have been arrested for DUI in the city of Alpharetta and need to file a 30-day letter.
When you are arrested for DUI in Georgia, The Georgia Department of Driver Services will usually begin the process of suspending your license. This happens regardless of your DUI case and the only way to stop it is to file an appeal letter within 30 days of your arrest. These appeals are very simply for a knowledgeable Alpharetta DUI lawyer to handle and will let you keep your license until your ALS hearing. An ALS hearing is a chance to appear before a judge and argue your case in order to keep your license. In cases involving a first-time DUI arrest, the judge will allow you to keep your license on a temporary driving permit.
Alpharetta DUI Arrest
When you are pulled over in Alpharetta, GA the police are always looking for clues of intoxication. You cannot be pulled over for suspicion of DUI, but instead must have made some sort of driving mistake. This can be anything from running a red light to a burnt out tail light. If the police notice anything such as slurred speech, a smell of alcohol or blood-shot eyes, they will ask if you have been drinking. Even if you deny being under the influence they will likely ask you to perform one of two types of sobriety tests.
One set of tests are standardized field sobriety tests. For these tests, the Alpharetta police officer will ask you step out of the car and perform some sort of motor function test such as standing on one leg or walking a straight line and turning around. It is important to know that in Alpharetta, GA you have the right to decline taking these tests without any legal recourse. Professional Alpharetta DUI lawyers generally advise that you do decline taking these tests. Even if you are not intoxicated in the least, if you lose your balance or seem a little unstable to police, that evidence can be used against you in court.
The other type of test is a blood, breath or urine test that measures the levels of alcohol in your system. These tests are much more accurate than the latter and you cannot decline taking them without penalty. Under Georgia law, when you are issued a driver's license you are also agreeing to take a blood, breath or urine test whenever you are asked by a police officer. If you do not take these tests, then your license is automatically suspended. This is called the Georgia Implied Consent Law and usually suspends your license for an entire year. Even if you were sober and your Alpharetta DUI case was thrown out of court, if you decline taking an alcohol level test, you may still lose your license in the state of Georgia.
In some cases involving Implied Consent there can be grey areas. For example, if the officer did not inform you of your implied consent rights or if they did not ask you to take a blood, breath or urine test you may be able to argue that you should not lose your license. This is why it is very important to have the best Alpharetta DUI lawyer available. The attorneys at The Law Office of Richard Lawson will know what errors to look for in fighting an implied consent license suspension because they have helped many other Alpharetta clients just like you to keep their licenses.
Get the Top-Rated Alpharetta DUI Lawyers
The Law Office of Richard Lawson is experienced in every area of DUI-related law. We have been defending clients in Alpharetta, GA for over twenty years and have seen every type of DUI case imaginable. Whether it is a first DUI, second DUI or habitual violator charge, we are here to help you. In addition to providing superior legal representation, our lawyers are caring and understanding. Many clients worry they will feel judged or be treated like a criminal. At The Law Office of Richard Lawson, we understand that people make mistakes and in many cases are falsely accused.
We Can Help - Alpharetta DUI Lawyer
If you have been charged in Alpharetta, GA with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, minor in possession of alcohol, reckless driving, or any other type of driving or DUI-related crime, call The Law Office of Richard Lawson right now. Many of these charges have time-sensitive issues that require immediate action so do not delay in hiring an Alpharetta DUI lawyer. We have DUI Attorneys who specialize in handling traffic offenses such as reckless driving, hit and run, fleeing and eluding, minor in possession of alcohol / underage consumption, and with CDL issues as well as violations of probation.We help young people with underage possession of alcohol as well. This can help a young person save their permanent criminal record and their drivers license.
Map to our Alpharetta Georgia Office
We are Here to Help When You Need it Most
For your greatest convenience, we are available 7 days a week and 24 hours a day. After a DUI arrest, the first thing you need to do is call The Law Office of Richard Lawson to make sure you get your best possible results. Contact the Alpharetta DUI Lawyers that care about your case and your future. We are those Alpharetta DUI Attorneys. Don't let an unfortunate event ruin your life. We are here to help when you need it most.
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