Athens Georgia DUI Lawyer – Athens Georgia DUI Attorney
DUI Lawyer in Athens GA – DUI Attorney in Athens GA
UGA DUI Lawyer – UGA DUI Attorney
University of Georgia DUI Lawyer – University of Georgia DUI Attorney
The Law Offices of Richard Lawson is a law firm solely dedicated to DUI Defense. Our founder, Richard Lawson, is a former DUI Prosecutor with over 20 years' experience in Georgia DUI Law. He knows every facet of your Athens DUI case and will use his knowledge and skill to get you the best outcome possible. Please check out his reviews on Avvo and contact our office for free, no-obligation consultation and case evaluation.
If you have been arrested for DUI in Athens, or anywhere in Georgia, you only have thirty business days to prevent your driver's license from being suspended. You (or your UGA DUI Lawyer) must file a request for an Administrative License Suspension (ALS) Hearing or request an ignition interlock device. The State of Georgia assesses a fee of $150 to file the hearing request. If the hearing request or interlock device request is not done or is not done in the thirty-day timeframe, your license will be suspended. If you refused the State's chemical test of your breath, blood, or urine, your license would be suspended for one year with no opportunity for a permit. Do not waste time, begin your search for a qualified University of GA DUI Attorney to handle your case.
Your Athens Georgia DUI Lawyer
Athens, Georgia is a college town. It is the home of the University of Georgia (and college parties), and is known for fun bars and live music. Because of this, Athens-Clarke Police is always on the lookout for individuals who break the law. If you have been arrested and charged with DUI because of a DUI Roadblock/Checkpoint, DUI Task Force, or were just pulled over by police because DUI was suspected, you need to speak with an aggressive, yet experienced University of Georgia DUI Attorney right away.
In a typical Georgia DUI case, law enforcement conducts a traffic stop; requests the driver to get out of the car; gives field sobriety tests; possibly gives a roadside breath test; and makes the decision whether or not to arrest the suspected drunk driver. The suspect is then taken for a breath or blood test to determine their blood alcohol content (BAC). After they are processed at the jail, the are released without much (if any) information on what will happen next. Some people may erroneously think they have avoided criminal charges; while others know they will face charges, but choose not to think about them. It is important to consult with a Clarke County DUI Lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your options for your Athens DUI case.
A Georgia DUI conviction can wreak serious havoc on your finances, freedoms and rights, and future employment. An individual convicted of DUI often faces punishments that include a suspended driver's license, hefty fines and fees, and even time in jail. A DUI conviction can also secondary consequences such as a decrease in employment marketability, unable to keep a professional license, and possibly being prohibited from owning a firearm. Consulting with one of our DUI Lawyers in Athens right away will help you understand what can happen to your life if you are convicted of DUI.
Skilled and Experienced Athens GA DUI Attorney
Based on the harsh consequences that go along with a DUI conviction, it is crucial for you to get your case evaluated by one of the seasoned Athens-Clarke County DUI Attorneys with our office. The Law Offices of Richard Lawson has represented individuals who have been charged with DUI-Alcohol and DUI Drug-related criminal charges, DUI Refusal of the State chemical test, and DUI charges involving motor vehicle accidents that resulted in charges of assault or homicide. Not only do our Athens DUI Attorneys have experience, but they are also successful in many kinds of DUI cases. For additional information, check out our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).
University of Georgia DUI Lawyer
At the Law Offices of Richard Lawson, we have a team of skilled Athens GA DUI Attorneys waiting to take your call to discuss your case. However, we also are uniquely positioned and experienced in representing and advocating for University of Georgia students who have been charged with crimes related to traffic violations, DUI, DUI-Drugs, and other offenses. Our University of Georgia DUI Lawyers understand the concerns that students (and their parents) have when attempting to navigate the court system as well as the University of Georgia school disciplinary system.
Message for Parents of UGA Students
Since you are currently on our website looking for information for DUI Defense for your University of Georgia student, one could assume your child or other loved one has found themselves in trouble with school, the law, or both. You are more than likely scared and uncertain about what will happen to their immediate future as well as long-term. Our University of Georgia DUI Attorneys knows that, as a parent, you want to do everything within your power to protect your children. You wish you could magically make everything go away, but that is impossible. The best thing you can do for your child is to do your research and speak with a qualified University of Georgia DUI Lawyer as soon as possible. You may have questions such as:
How serious is the charge? What is going to happen to my child?
Those are the two issues we hear the most when parents need a UGA DUI Lawyer to represent their child. You as a parent want to know (and rightly so) what is going to happen to them and how you can help them. Not knowing will cause much stress and anxiety for both you and your child. A University of Georgia DUI Attorney from the Law Offices of Richard Lawson will be able to give you an idea of what to expect and what can be done to get your child the best outcome possible for their case. Also, an experienced UGA DUI Attorney from our office will discuss any previous cases and their results, so you can feel better about the DUI Lawyer in Athens you choose.
What should we as parents do?
The first thing you should do is speak to a seasoned University of Georgia DUI Lawyer who has handled many cases of UGA students who were arrested and charged with DUI and other misdemeanor crimes. Unfortunately, we often hear horrible stories of other attorneys who promise parents and students remarkable results in order to gain their business; however, their promises are worthless.
Message for UGA Students
We all enjoyed our time as an undergraduate in college, and sometimes that involved some activity that was illegal. Fortunately, some are never caught. Maybe you were not so fortunate.
Men and women are different when it comes to unfavorable consequences of using alcohol. Women absorb and metabolize it differently than men. For example, a 140 lb. man drinks two drinks in the span of an hour and his BAC is .038. A 140 lb. female drinks two drinks an hour and her BAC is .048. See the table below:
John = 185 lbs.
Mary = 130 lbs.
2 drinks/1 hour =.025
2 drinks/1hour = .053
3 drinks/1hour = .045
3 drinks/1hour = .088
5 drinks/1hour = .085
4 drinks/1hour =.106
Two Penalties – DUI Charge and UGA Disciplinary System
Unfortunately, when students get into trouble, they often face their criminal charges in court, and disciplinary sanctions through the University of Georgia System. Even if you only made one mistake, you can, (and often will), be punished twice. The punishments, rules, and procedures are entirely different for the criminal justice system and the UGA disciplinary process; that is why different strategies must be used to get the best outcome. While one strategy might work in the criminal case, that same approach could prove to be counter-productive in the disciplinary process. Our UGA DUI Attorneys have represented hundreds of University of Georgia students, and therefore, have much experience in dealing with both criminal and disciplinary systems.
Small Crimes Can Have a Big Impact on Your Future
Our office often receives calls from parents or students after they followed the advice of law enforcement, the court clerk, a friend of a friend who is a lawyer, you name it. Unfortunately, it is too late at that point. Routinely we hear “but the officer who arrested me told me it was not a big deal, that it is only a misdemeanor. It is no worse than a speeding ticket, and it will not even appear on a criminal background check.” Based on that awful advice, the student pleads guilty and later finds out that the charge does show up on a background search, and the person is unable to get the job they want or even attend grad school. Do not trust your future to a general practitioner attorney; choose a University of Georgia DUI Lawyer with over 20 years' experience. Choose the Law Offices of Richard Lawson.
University of Georgia Misdemeanor Offense Attorney
University of Georgia students charged with DUI or other related misdemeanors need to practice caution and take great care to protect their futures from the fallout of a criminal conviction. Even though DUI is a misdemeanor, it can shut the door on a promising career before it even starts. If you are a UGA student, or the parent of a student, you need to choose a University of Georgia DUI Attorney with extensive experience and the knowledge to represent youthful, first-time offenders with charges such as:
Minor in Possession of Alcohol (MIP) – Underage possession of alcohol is a charge that can ruin your record and your good reputation. In Georgia, a young person may be found guilty of Minor in Possession of Alcohol if the prosecutor proves beyond a reasonable doubt that they were under the age of 21, and they were in possession of alcohol (including beer). Let one of our University of Georgia DUI Lawyers in Athens handle your Minor in Possession charge.
Disorderly Conduct – Disorderly conduct is an often charged offense and is used broadly as a “catch-all” crime. Do not plead guilty unless you want a criminal record that will last forever. Everyone makes mistakes, and you have options. Contact a UGA DUI Lawyer to assist you with your Athens Disorderly Conduct charge.
Traffic Tickets – If you are under the age of 21, you know that just about any traffic ticket can get your license suspended. Since traffic violations are typically a part of a DUI charge, who better to assist you than a University of Georgia DUI Attorney.
Possession of Marijuana – Possession of Marijuana arrests happen regularly and is a misdemeanor charge if you are in possession of less than an ounce, and it is your first offense. That sounds minor but do not be fooled. A conviction for marijuana possession can follow you for the rest of your life. If you were pulled over for suspected DUI and were arrested for marijuana possession in Athens, contact our office to speak with a University of Georgia DUI Attorney right away.
Underage DUI – No one under the age of 21 should be drinking alcohol, much less be driving a car. The blood alcohol content limit is much lower for drivers under 21. Our Athens DUI Lawyers and University of Georgia DUI Attorneys have represented many underage DUI cases and have the experience to get you the best outcome possible for your Athens minor DUI case.
Speeding and Super Speeder – If you are under the age of 21 and accumulate four or more points on your license in a single violation, your license will be suspended. Speeding and Super Speeder violations can cause you to lose your driving privilege and that is why it is important to talk with a University of Georgia DUI Attorney in Athens. They can fight for you and protect your driver's license from being suspended.
Public Drunk – Public drunkenness happens more often than people think. Even if you did the right thing by not getting behind the wheel, you can still be arrested for breaking the law. Let an experienced Athens DUI Lawyer handle your Athens Public Drunk case.
Car Accidents – Car accidents are unexpected, scary and confusing. If you are a University of Georgia student who has been in a car accident, it may be even more complicated than you think. Since you are young, it could likely be your first car accident. What is worse, is that you are more than likely in a strange city, away from your parents for the first time. However, even though you are away from home, do not feel like you are alone and confused in the wake of a serious auto accident.
Distracted Driving and College Students
UGA students can often be distracted while driving on the road. Talking on cell phones and listening to loud music all while being packed in a car with their friends are just a part of college life and need their attention.
What causes a car accident is, of course, different from situation to situation. Sometimes it is due to the driver being distracted or impaired. Maybe you have found yourself in a situation where it was hard to focus on driving, and you had an accident with serious injuries; and if so, take a deep breath and try to remain calm. If you have been charged with reckless driving, racing, laying drags, or even hit-and-run, look no further for expert legal representation from a qualified UGA Student DUI Lawyer with the Law Offices of Richard Lawson.
Texting While Driving – Texting while driving is dangerous behavior. It seems innocent to just send a short text or read a quick email while you are on the road. The fact is, you are distracted, and that could cause police to suspect you of DUI and pull you over. Worst of all, distracted driving can cause an accident and serious injuries or even vehicular homicide. Do your homework when choosing an Athens GA DUI Attorney. Choose the best. Choose the Law Offices of Richard Lawson.
UGA College Students and Auto Insurance
Many University of Georgia students move to Athens from other counties and even other states to go school. Most of them have a car that is covered under their parent's insurance policy. If you have been in an accident, and you are concerned that insurance will not cover you. As long as you were the driver, yes, your parent's auto insurance will cover you. Here are some quick tips if you have been in an accident:
- Call 911 as soon as possible;
- Get any needed medical attention
- Write down any names, addresses, and phone numbers of anyone involved in the crash, as well as any witnesses;
- Contact a University of Georgia Student DUI Lawyer as soon as possible.
DUI After a UGA Football Game
UGA football is a huge part of Georgia's culture, and for many University of Georgia Bulldogs fans, having a beer or two while cheering on your favorite SEC team is part of the game day tradition. Sadly, many UGA fans do not act responsibly and choose to drive after they have been drinking during football games. That means that auto accidents with drunken drivers increase in number after football games.
All over the country, fall means football for many, and Georgia is no exception. As Athens-Clarke County DUI Lawyers, the Law Offices of Richard Lawson has defended many persons charged with DUI by the Athens-Clarke County Police Department. Many times, a DUI arrest from Athens-Clarke County Police will occur just outside of Sanford Stadium.
An arrest for DUI during football season can have a devastating impact on your future. It is imperative that you speak with a University of Georgia DUI Attorney if you are arrested and charged with DUI. Acting swiftly to secure competent legal counsel is the best way to defend yourself.
The National Institute of Health did a study on football season and the affect it has on alcohol-related crimes. Researchers looked at a 30-day period in an area where football teams were doing well; that included ten game days, ten “control” days and holidays. They studied arrest reports for those days. The research showed that football season did make a difference in how many people were arrested for DUI. Even more interesting was that on game days, DUI arrests were typically closer to the football stadiums in comparison with the arrests that happened on holidays, or on non-game days.
This college football season, please remember that police are out in full force looking for people who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. They will take extra care in looking for signs of intoxication or impairment during the game, and afterward, when fans are driving home. If you are attending a UGA game at Sanford Stadium, or if you are just going to watch it at a bar or a friend's house, make sure to have a designated driver before you even start drinking alcohol.
If you are a Georgia Bulldogs fan and you have been charged with DUI after a football game, call the Law Offices of Richard Lawson and speak with a UGA DUI Lawyer right away. Athens-Clarke County Police have to have articulable suspicion for pulling you over and asking you to submit to a chemical test of your breath, blood, or urine to determine your blood-alcohol concentration (BAC). An experienced UGA DUI Attorney can assist in defending your rights as we battle to keep you from getting a criminal conviction on your record.
Student Athlete DUI After A UGA Football Game
The University of Georgia and the Georgia Bulldogs are against excessive drinking and are especially against drinking and driving. UGA student-athletes are viewed as role models and are expected to comply with University standards and Code of Conduct.
Because of this, student-athletes who are found drinking and driving, even in the off-season, could face tough school penalties in addition to any legal punishments resulting from their actions. For example, if a UGA football player is caught driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the University may suspend him for a game or two, or even the whole football season, depending on the circumstance.
Student athletes who are arrested off/on-campus and face DUI charges can be suspended from school or the team. They can even be removed from the team completely with no chance of returning. Just one time, one drink, can ruin a promising career.
Even if the student-athlete is allowed to play, a DUI can compromise their prospects for professional football. Players who have arrest records are considered liabilities to pro teams and a DUI arrest can be a red flag that they are a risk and one not worth taking.
In addition to destroying the student-athlete's career, a DUI conviction can make a team look bad as a whole, and the University as well. Especially when a few teammates are driving home together from the game or an after party, or even celebrating on-campus.
If a few football players are convicted of DUI, it can really affect the Bulldogs' starting lineup! Even if the athletes are fined instead of time in jail, the University of Georgia may be forced to take action to cancel the entire football season, if warranted.
As football season is starting, the Law Offices of Richard Lawson encourages all students and student athletes to celebrate UGA football responsibly, whether you are a spectator in the stands or at home, or playing on Sanford field. For more information, contact a University of Georgia DUI Attorney with the Law Offices of Richard Lawson.
Will the Athens-Clarke County Police Have Video Evidence?
You should know that most of the time, there will be police video of your DUI arrest. Your UGA DUI Attorney will want to secure a copy for your case. The video will show your interaction with officers and your demeanor, balance, and coordination. This video will also be instrumental in challenging the breath test in your Athens-Clarke County DUI case.
An Arrest is Not the Same as a Conviction
Just because you have been arrested, does not mean that the Athens-Clarke County Police have enough evidence to convict you in court.
Getting arrested and charged with DUI is not difficult to do. Police only need to have probable cause to arrest you. A skilled Athens-Clarke County DUI Attorney will explain the DUI court process to you in detail, as well as what it takes for the prosecution to prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Whether you have been arrested for DUI in Athens for the very first time, or if you are experiencing your second, third, or fourth DUI charge, the Law Offices of Richard Lawson has an Athens GA DUI Lawyer who will challenge any evidence, including breath test and field sobriety test results. We will diligently work to get you the best outcome possible for your Athens-Clarke County DUI case.
Winning Your Athens-Clarke County Case
When you are arrested and charged with DUI, it is crucial to remember that you should take immediate action to learn how to win your case. DUI consequences are serious and can have a long-term impact on your life every single day. That is why it is important to speak with a DUI Lawyer in Athens Georgia as soon as possible so that we can begin to build your best defense. We know that you, your family and loved ones will have many questions after being arrested for DUI in Athens-Clarke County, such as:
- Is time in jail a possibility?
- How can I save my license from suspension?
- Can I get my case dismissed or charged reduced?
- How will this affect my job?
- Can I get out of a DUI? Can my case be won?
- What should I do after an Athens-Clarke County DUI arrest?
The first (and most important) thing to know if that there always strategies that are effective in your defense once a plan of action s made. However, this cannot be achieved unless our University of Georgia DUI Attorneys review the unique details of your Athens-Clarke County DUI arrest. Discovering and exposing errors made in your DUI arrest is the best way to win your case and have it dismissed. For over twenty years, Richard Lawson has helped thousands of persons who found themselves in the same situation as yourself. After a review of your case, you will be informed of any possible defenses that could be used to help your case. There are many factors that make your case different from others. Our office offers a free, confidential consultation and analysis of your arrest to handle any of your concerns and consider all of the events and possible defense strategies that could be employed to give you ways to fight and win your Athens-Clarke County DUI case.
Our Athens-Clarke County DUI Attorneys are experienced in resources and experience of forensic professionals, investigations and toxicology. That can thoroughly show ways to win your case by exposing cracks and weaknesses in the State's case against you. Based on your arrest, for example, our Athens-Clarke County DUI Lawyers may be able to prove that your traffic stop was unlawful due to the law enforcement not having probable cause to believe you had violated a traffic law or was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
ATHENS GEORGIA COURT SYSTEM
Athens Georgia is part of Clarke County, and for the purpose of government efficiency, the county and city have consolidated most government functions into one entity called Athens-Clarke County.
Athens-Clarke County Municipal Court
As a result, when a person is arrested for DUI within the city limits of Athens GA or in the unincorporated of Clarke County GA the case will have its initial arraignment in the Athens-Clarke County Municipal Court. Athens-Clarke County Municipal Court has jurisdiction over all misdemeanor offenses, county ordinance violations, and city ordinance violations.
All DUI Cases are initially heard in Athens-Clarke County Municipal Court, along with Possession of Marijuana, traffic tickets, Minor in Possession of Alcohol, Underage Possession of Alcohol, Shoplifting, and all moving violations.
The Athens-Clarke County Municipal Court Judge is the Honorable Leslie Spornberger. For questions about your ticket, please call the Clerk of the Municipal Court Rhonda Bolton at 706-613-3690. Court is held at 325 E. Washington St. Suite 170 Athens, GA 30603.
The Prosecutor in Athens-Clarke County Municipal Court is the Solicitor General, C. R. Chisholm, Jr. His Office can be reached by phone at 706-613-3215. On most days, the Assistant Solicitor General Assigned to the Municipal Court is Janna Landreth. She can be reached at 706-613-3215 ext. 7381. The Athens-Clarke County Solicitor's Officer is located at: 325 E. Washington St. Suite 550 Athens, GA 30603
Any accused person can negotiate a plea, seek a dismissal of their charges, or have a trial by judge (bench trial) in municipal court. If you decide to have a Jury Trial your case will be sent to the State Court of Clarke County GA.
Remember some offenses require a mandatory court appearance and cannot be paid before attending court. A list of violations that required a mandatory appearance in court can be found on the Athens-Clarke County Municipal Court website.
Athens-Clarke Municipal Court is held at 325 E Washington Street, Suite 459, Athens, Georgia 30601.
State Court of Clarke County Georgia
When a person elects to have a jury trial, their Athens GA DUI case will be transferred to the State Court of Clarke County. The Chief Judge of the State Court of Clarke County is the Honorable Ethelyn N. Simpson. The Associate Judge of the Clarke County GA State Court is the Honorable Charles E Auslander III. The Staff directory of the Clarke County State Court may be found at the State Court's website.
To reach court officials call 706-613-3200 Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The Clerk of the State Court is Beverly Logan. Her office is located at 325 E. Washington Street, Suite 450, Athens, Georgia 30601. Her staff may be contacted at 706-613-3190.
The Prosecutor in Athens-Clarke County State Court is the Solicitor General, C. R. Chisholm, Jr. His Office can be reached at: Phone: 706-613-3215. A staff directory of his office employees may be found here.
Fast Track Arraignments in Clarke County Georgia State Court
When a person is charged with a second DUI in Athens in less than ten years or a third lifetime DUI, their case will be sent directly to the State Court of Clarke County GA. The purpose is to evaluate quickly the case for potential placement in the DUI Court program.
Generally, your Athens DUI Attorney will have a limited time to gather the evidence and decide whether he or she can litigate the case; and opportunities to continue the case at a later date are not allowed. Since the Solicitor's office has an open file policy (they allow Athens DUI Attorneys to copy any part of their file), the State Court judges assume that litigants are prepared to handle their cases within weeks, rather than months. This, of course, puts pressure on the accused to decide to go to trial, enter a guilty plea, or enter in the DUI Court program.
DUI COURT IN ATHENS – DUI COURT IN CLARKE COUNTY GA STATE COURT
In 2001, then-Chief State Court Judge Kent Lawrence began the first DUI/Drug Court Program in Georgia. It was one of the first in the United States. It has also served as a model for DUI/Drug Court programs throughout Georgia.
The purpose of the program is to provide multiple offenders an extremely rigid and structured treatment program supervised by the sentencing judge. Unlike other treatment programs, participants have bi-weekly court sessions, weekly group and individual meetings, AA or NA meetings, and random visits to their homes. Participants are also randomly tested for alcohol and drug usage.
The “carrot” of being in the program is a reduction of punishment up front. The “stick" is that the judge is monitoring each participant extremely carefully. As a result, the judge can sanction people in the program for even small violations. Those sanctions can include additional community service and jail time.
Unfortunately, many people serve more time in jail as a result of sanctions than had they just served the jail time up front. Few people make it through DUI Court without at least one sanction. Our office personally does not believe that forced treatment helps people. Life changes can only be made when a person decides that they have had enough of their own destructive behavior.
Clarke County Superior Court
When a person is charged with any felony in Georgia, the case is handled in the Superior Court of the County in which the alleged offense took place. Felony DUI Offenses in Georgia include a 4th DUI in 10 years, Driving While Being Declared a Habitual Violator, Vehicular Homicide, and Serious Injury by Vehicle. All of these serious felony cases can result in time in prison. It is imperative to hire a top-rated Athens DUI Lawyer as soon as possible.
The District Attorney, Ken Mauldin, prosecutes all felony cases in Clarke County. His office can be reached at 706-613-3240 and is located at the Athens-Clarke County Courthouse at 325 E. Washington Street Suite 500, Athens GA 30601 A directory of his staff may be found here.
The Judges of the Clarke County Superior Court are:
- Chief Judge David R. Sweat
Judicial Assistant: Sophia Smith
- Judge Lawton E. Stephens
- Judge Patrick Haggard
The Clerk of the Superior Court is Beverly Logan. Her office is located at 325 E. Washington Street, Suite 450. Her staff may be contacted at 706-613-3190.
Dedicated DUI Defense
If you have been arrested for DUI in Athens, GA or anywhere in Clarke County, you do not have time to waste. You need legal representation, and there is no law firm in Georgia better equipped to do that than the Law Offices of Richard Lawson. They have seen it all. With experience on both sides of the courtroom, there is no better law firm to have on your side. Call now, for a complimentary, hassle-free consultation and take the first steps in getting your life back on track. We truly care about the wellbeing of our clients and their futures and look forward to creating a solid defense for you.
Athens-Clarke County DUI Resources