Avondale Estates DUI Lawyer - Avondale Estates DUI Attorney
A DUI is one of the most complicated criminal charges in existence. Because of the sheer number of DUIs each year, the courts of every state and at every level treat them differently. Richard Lawson offers something other DUI defense attorneys in Avondale Estates cannot offer...he was trained as a DUI prosecutor, and for over 25 years, he has been fighting for people accused of DUI throughout Georgia. This fact gives him an insight into the prosecution's case that other defense attorneys simply cannot provide. He is the AVVO TOP-RANKED DUI attorney in Avondale Estates, Georgia and throughout the Metro Atlanta area.
A DUI in Avondale Estates is actually two separate cases, with possibly three to four different charges, depending on the facts. EVERY DUI case has a license suspension element, and the Georgia Department of Driver Services will AUTOMATICALLY suspend your license thirty (30) days after you receive your citation for the DUI.
AVOID THE 30 DAY AUTOMATIC LICENSE SUSPENSION ON YOUR DUI CASE!
A skilled Avondale Estates DUI Attorney can help you avoid the license suspension associated with a DUI. If you do nothing, your license will automatically be suspended for up to 12 months. If you refused to take the blood, breath or urine test the officer in your case directed you to take, your license suspension will be 12 months with no hope of a restricted license allowing you to drive to and from work or school. Your Avondale Estates DUI lawyer, Richard Lawson, will request an Administrative License Suspension hearing (ALS Hearing) or an ignition interlock device, increasing the chances that you will not suffer a license suspension at all!
The officer in your case will be required to testify and Richard will be allowed to cross examine him under oath, which means that there will be a record of everything he says. If he ever changes his story, we will use that fact to discredit him in front of the jury. An ALS hearing can be a valuable tool in the defense of your DUI case.
Once the issue of your license suspension has been settled, your case will continue through the court system. You will be scheduled for an arraignment, or a hearing which allows the judge to formally advise you of the charges against you and allows you to enter a plea of guilty or innocent on the record. At arraignment, your Avondale Estate DUI Lawyer will either appear on your behalf or file a waiver of arraignment. Either way, you will not have to appear at unnecessary hearings.
AVONDALE ESTATES DUI COURT PROCESS:
From the arraignment, your case will proceed to one or more pretrial hearings. It is at this stage your attorney will attempt to negotiate a plea agreement on your case. Having knowledge of the prosecutorial system, solicitors and judges handling your case gives Richard Lawson an edge during the plea negotiations as well. Our firm also employs a retired Georgia State Trooper to review all of the police reports and any other evidence the State intends to use against you. It is valuable to have your case reviewed not only by a former prosecutor, but also a former DUI officer. Any flaws in the State's case will be discovered by our team of experts and will be used in the most effective way to result in a favorable plea agreement in your case.
None of the prosecutors in Georgia are going to give you a good deal because you're a good person, or because this is your first arrest. But they will have to give you a better deal when we point out all the holes in their case. A plea dismissing the DUI charges can more easily be negotiated at this early stage of your case rather than after it has been set for trial.
If your case originated within the city limits of Avondale Estates you will be cited into Avondale Estates Municipal Court. The Municipal Court is located at 21 North Avondale Plaza, Avondale Estates, Georgia. The phone number is (404) 294-0531. The Avondale Estates Court Clerk is Hazel Baker. The judges in Avondale Estates are Judge Joseph Conoscienti and Judge Stephen Nichols. The prosecutor is Josie Stevens. She is a part-time prosecutor who is also a full-time practicing lawyer.
AVONDALE ESTATES MUNICIPAL COURT:
Your case will be handled in Avondale Estates Municipal Court unless it is set for a jury trial, in which case it will be bound over to DeKalb County State Court.
DeKalb County State Court is limited in jurisdiction to cases that arise only within the boundary limits of DeKalb County. It is located at 556 North McDonough Street in Decatur, Georgia. The phone number is (404) 371-2261. The Solicitor General in DeKalb County is Sherry Boston, and the Clerk of the Court is Melanie F. Wilson. There are 7 Divisions of DeKalb County State Court. The Judges are:
- Division 1 - Alvin T. Wong,
- Division 2 - Stacey K. Hydrick,
- Division 3 - Wayne M. Purdom,
- Division 4 - Johnny Panos,
- Divsion 5 - Eleanor L. Ross,
- Division 6 - Dax E. Lopez, and
- Division 7 - Janis G. Gordon.
The Court operates a DUI Court Program for repeat offenders. The DeKalb County D.U.I. Court Supervised Treatment Program (“Program”) is a voluntary post-conviction treatment program for those who have multiple violations of driving while under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicants. It is a part of the probation portion of a DUI sentence.
The Program is a team concept involving judges, program coordinator, treatment coordinator, substance abuse treatment professionals, prosecutor, defense attorney, probation officer and Sheriff's Department. The Program began helping multiple offenders in November, 2004 and has enrolled 836 participants and has had 558 graduates through July 1, 2012, with a current population of 79 active participants. The Program's goal is to achieve sobriety of all Program participants in order to improve the quality of their lives and eliminate future violations of the law.
All defendants accepted into the Program are assigned and supervised by Judge Alvin T. Wong and Judge Dax E. López of the State Court of DeKalb County.
In order to be considered for the DUI Court Supervised Program, a defendant must be referred by either the Judge, the solicitor or your defense attorney. As a general policy, our office never recommends DUI Court. We do have clients in the program, but generally we do not feel the program is in our client's best interest. In any event, if you choose to join the program you must do so with the full intention of being successful. If you do not succeed, you will be severely sanctioned. Those sanctions can include serious amounts of jail-time.
DEKALB COUNTY STATE COURT:
If your case was charged as a felony (i.e. if you were charged as a Habitual Violator, for Homicide by Vehicle, Endangerment, multiple DUIs, etc.) your case will automatically go to Dekalb County Superior Court. DeKalb County Superior Court is the court of original jurisdiction for any felony cases that arise within the geographic boundaries of DeKalb County.
DeKalb County Superior Court, also known as Stone Mountain Judicial Circuit is located at 556 N McDonough St, Decatur, GA. The Court has stated that its mission is to "provide an independent, accessible and responsive forum for the just resolution of legal disputes and criminal matters in a manner that preserves the rule of law and protects the rights of all parties. To act expeditiously in a manner that instills public trust and confidence that the Superior Court operates fairly, efficiently and effectively."
There are ten judges on the court. They are:
- Judge Courtney L. Johnson, Division 1,
- Judge Asha Jackson, Division 2,
- Judge Clarence F. Seeliger, Division 3,
- Judge Gail C. Flake, Division 4,
- Judge Gregory A. Adams, Division 5 Chief
- Judge, Judge Cynthia J. Becker, Division 6,
- Judge Daniel M. Coursey, Jr., Division 7,
- Judge Linda W. Hunter, Division 8,
- Judge Mark Anthony Scott, Division 9,
- Judge Tangela Barrie, Division 10.
The Clerk of the Superior Court is Debra DeBerry. The District Attorney for DeKalb County is Robert D. James Jr. He has served in that role since November, 2010. He previously served as the DeKalb Count Solicitor General.
DEKALB COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT:
As mentioned previously, it is much easier to negotiate a favorable plea agreement at the lower court levels. Prosecutors in the municipal courts of the State are generally overwhelmed with cases and so are motivated to move people through the system as quickly as possible.
In addition, our office has developed working relationships with many of the prosecutors at the municipal court level and in many cases worked alongside some of them when he was a prosecutor. Because of this, we have earned their respect as a formidable and ethical trial attorney. He is often able to get an agreement that no other attorney would be offered simply because of the working relationships he has fostered.
One other court certain DUI offenders may find themselves dealing with is the DeKalb County Juvenile Court. If you are an offender under the age of 17 at the time of your arrest (no matter how old you are when your court date is scheduled), you are considered a juvenile under Georgia law and generally not capable of actually committing a criminal act. There are certain serious offenses that you may be tried as an adult for, but DUI and other traffic related offenses are not among them.
If you are under 17 years old and are charged in Juvenile Court, you will not face the same penalties as an adult offender. Juvenile Court offers fantastic protection for young people because anything that happens in juvenile court is not part of one's criminal record and the offenses are not even considered “crimes” under the law. However, that does not mean the offenses are without sanctions. You will have to report to Juvenile Court in DeKalb County where the offense occurred, and you are entitled to be represented by a Georgia Juvenile Court Attorney. However, the protections for Juvenile DUI cases is not as clear cut. Even though a juvenile "criminal record" does not follow into adult-hood, the Juvenile's drivers record does follow him into adulthood. As a result, you need an experienced Juvenile DUI Lawyer to make sure that your child's mistake does not haunt him forever.
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Richard Lawson are experienced Juvenile Court attorneys and regularly handle cases in that court, as well.
The DeKalb County Juvenile Court is located at 4309 Memorial Drive, in Decatur, Georgia. The phone number is (404) 294-2700. The Judges of the Juvenile Court are:
- Chief Judge, Honorable Elliott A. Shoenthal
- Honorable Desiree Sutton Peagler, Judge
- Honorable Linda B. Haynes, Associate Judge
- Honorable Vincent C. Crawford, Associate Judge
Juvenile Court cases are often heart wrenching for both parents and other family members. In the Resources section of this page, you will find links to other agencies that can provide support in times of crisis with the youth in your family. At our office, we pride ourselves on being sensitive to the needs of your juvenile clients as well as the needs of their family members. We have a thorough knowledge of the court system and other services that are available to families in need of help.
The mission of the Juvenile Court is to "protect the best interests of the child and the community, to restore the lives of children who have been neglected or abused, to redirect children who have admitted to or have been found in violation of the law to become law-abiding, productive citizens, and to support the continuity of families by leaving children in their homes whenever possible."
DEKALB COUNTY JUVENILE COURT:
GENERAL GEORGIA DUI INFORMATION:
Richard has developed this website to provide his clients and the general public with 24 hour, 7 day a week access to DUI information relating to the State of Georgia. Updates in DUI law and on DUI cases in the news can be found on his DUI blog. He has a page devoted to DUI Defenses, and DUI Penalties, as well as information on other types of traffic and DUI related cases.
You need an Avondale Estates DUI attorney with a proven track record:
At our office we do not feel that you should have to wait until business hours to seek advice of an attorney. A DUI arrest happen at all hours of the night, and we provide an 'on-call' service allowing you to get in touch with one of our attorneys on a 24/7 schedule. If you are stopped and suspected of driving under the influence, ask to speak to an attorney immediately. If you are placed under arrest, ask to call our office before you answer any questions. Taking this one simple step could mean the difference between a verdict of guilt or innocence.
Contact our offices today at (404) 816-4440 or by using the Contact form on our website.
Richard Lawson is the AVVO top-ranked DUI attorney in Avondale Estates. Our office will provide you the best defense in your DUI case. Contact and Avondale Estates DUI Lawyer today!
Avondate Estates DUI Resources:
Avondale Estates Municipal Court
Avondale Estates Police Department
Dekalb County State Court Clerk
Dekalb County Police Department
Dekalb County Online Judicial System