As a Georgia DUI Lawyer, many of my clients' cases have been postponed to later dates as a result of the current pandemic. The state of emergency and Shelter in Place order has also led to a Judicial Order being issued by the Georgia Supreme Court.
You can view the official order here.
Our Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia, the Honorable Harold D. Melton, extended the Statewide Judicial Emergency Order that was originally issued on March 14, 2020. The order would have expired on April 13 - however, now it has been extended until May 13.
This order was spread out to all courts in the state of Georgia. The order only prolongs the Georgia DUI Process, however, it is my experience that most people arrested for DUI in Georgia are confused at how the process works and how the Georgia Court System works.
The Georgia DUI Process
Many DUI cases in Georgia follow a similar pattern of events over the course of the legal process, but a case may begin in a Municipal, Recorder's, Probate, State or Superior Court. Regardless of where the case begins, defending a DUI charge requires several court appearances and court procedures and can be a confusing maze of rules, statutes, and deadlines that can significantly affect the outcome of your case. Understanding how your case will proceed and what your options are can be empowering and will ease the stress of handling a serious charge within Georgia's legal system.
Once the county's solicitor or district attorney accuses your case in the State or Superior Court, your first court date will be an arraignment date. A formal accusation will be entered for the charges the State will prosecute. You will be expected to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty to the charges against you. If you plead guilty, you will waive your rights to a trial, to cross examine witnesses, and your right to be presumed innocent as well as your other Constitutional rights in a criminal proceeding and you will go before the judge for sentencing and your case will be resolved. The conditions of your sentence will be imposed and you will likely serve some period of time in jail or on probation beginning that day.
If you enter a plea of not guilty, your case will continue. If you intend to file motions in your case, they must be filed soon after your arraignment date or they will be considered out of time. This can have a significant impact on your case and you may lose the chance to have key evidence suppressed at a motion hearing so that the prosecutor cannot use that evidence against you at trial. The results of a motion hearing can also impact the prosecutor's willingness to negotiate a favorable plea that may resolve your case prior to trial.
Everything mentioned above is only the beginning of the process. If you or a loved one has been arrested for DUI, call our offices now. We can help you from day one.