Fayette County GA DUI Lawyer - Fayette County GA DUI Attorney
The Law Office of Richard Lawson is the premier DUI Defense firm in Fayette County and throughout Georgia. Our founder, Richard Lawson, is a former Georgia prosecutor who knows both sides of your case and what to expect. Check out his reviews on Avvo and contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation.
If you are charged with DUI in Georgia, you are really fighting two battles: the civil matter of the Administrative License Suspension (ALS) Hearing and the criminal case in one of the criminal courts in Fayette County, Georgia.
Georgia License Suspension: The 30-Day Letter
When you are charged with DUI in Georgia, you only have thirty days to file for an ALS Hearing (Administrative License Suspension Hearing) or an ignition interlock device. The consequences of not submitting the request for the hearing or device include, but are not limited to, losing your driver's license. In the event of a refusal to submit to the state-administered testing (or even just an allegation of a refusal), the license suspension lasts a full 12 months. During a "refusal suspension," no limited permits are available. The penalty is harsh, but it can easily be avoided. Your Fayette County DUI Attorney will file the thirty-day letter along with the required $150 filing fee. Once filed, the suspension can either be prevented or at least (in the event of multiple offenders) postponed. That is your affirmative duty. The criminal case in one of the Fayette County criminal courts will happen either way. It is your choice to act and request this hearing to help save your privilege to drive in Georgia. Act now and speak with one of our skilled DUI Lawyers in Fayette County GA today!
In Fayette County, Georgia, you are dealing with a disjointed and confusing system with multiple courts. Therefore, it is particularly important to have an attorney who is familiar with this system.
In Fayette County, as in many jurisdictions in the state of Georgia, DUI cases may be heard in several courts. There are various levels of municipal, probate, and superior courts. The maze of courts can be confusing. As a result, it is important to have a Fayette County DUI Lawyer that understands this system. Our Fayette County GA DUI Lawyers know the prosecutors, judges and clerks, and use their experience to protect your rights and get the best possible outcome in your case.
Fayette County GA State Court
The Fayette County GA State Court is located inside the Fayette County Justice Center at 1 Center Drive, Fayetteville, GA 30214. The judge is the Honorable Jason B. Thompson. The Chief Clerk is Shelia Studdard. The direct line to the clerk's office criminal division is (770) 716-4293. The prosecuting attorney is the Solicitor General of Fayette County, James K. Inagawa. His office may be reached at (770) 716-4260 and is also located inside the Fayette County Georgia Justice Center.
If your arrest occurs in unincorporated Fayette County, Georgia, your case will originate in Fayette County State Court. The Fayette County GA State Court has original jurisdiction over all misdemeanor, traffic, and county ordinance violations that occur in unincorporated Fayette County Georgia. Additionally, if your case originated in one of Fayette County's municipal courts and you requested a jury trial, your case will be “bound over,” or transferred, to State Court.
Your first court date in State Court will be your arraignment date. At the arraignment, the judge may read all of your charges to you aloud, or you may opt to waive such a reading. At that time, the court asks you whether you choose to plead "not guilty," "guilty," or "nolo contendere." If you have an attorney, your attorney will most likely appear at the arraignment on your behalf, and you will not be required to appear. Your attorney will enter a “not guilty” plea on your behalf, and may begin preliminary negotiations with the solicitor assigned to your case.
After arraignment, your Fayette County Georgia DUI Attorney will start collecting the evidence he or she needs to defend your case. In most cases, this includes a police report. Often, though not always, there is a video of the arrest, which your attorney would also obtain. Other evidence may include lab reports and supplementary witness statements. Your attorney will examine this evidence to determine if any procedural errors were made or if your constitutional rights were violated during your arrest. If so, your attorney will likely request a “motions” date. A motions date is a preliminary hearing where one of our Fayette County Georgia DUI Attorneys and an attorney from the solicitor's office will present their cases. The judge will ultimately rule on the admissibility of certain evidence in the event of a trial. There is no jury present during the motions hearing.
Your case may ultimately resolve in one of several ways in Fayette County Georgia State Court. Unless and until you expressly relinquish this right, you have the right to a trial by jury. In a misdemeanor case, the jury is made up of six individuals who will decide whether or not you are guilty of DUI. A second option is a bench trial. In a bench trial, all evidence will be presented, and the judge will determine guilt or innocence. Finally, your attorney may negotiate a plea with the solicitor. Depending on the facts and circumstances of the case, this may be a plea to DUI or a lesser offense, such as Reckless Driving.
Fayette County GA Superior Court
If you have been charged with a felony DUI (for example, a DUI in conjunction with vehicular homicide or serious injury by vehicle charge), your case will originate in Fayette County Superior Court. Fayette County Georgia Superior Court is part of the Griffin Judicial Circuit, along with Spalding, Pike, and Upson counties.
There are four full-time judges in the Griffin Judicial Circuit: Judge Christopher C. Edwards; Judge W. Fletcher Sams; Judge Tommy R. Hankinson; and Judge Robert M. Crawford. Only Judge Edwards and Judge Sams maintain offices in Fayette County. Fayette County Superior Court is located at One Center Drive, Fayetteville, Georgia 30214.
If you are charged with Felony DUI, you are facing a minimum 12-month sentence. It is of the utmost importance that you hire an experienced Fayette County Georgia DUI Lawyer.
Fayetteville Georgia Municipal Court
DUI cases in Fayetteville require a Fayetteville DUI Lawyer. Fayetteville GA Municipal Court handles all misdemeanor and traffic offenses cited inside the city limits of Fayetteville, Georgia. The judge of the Court does NOT have jurisdiction over ANYTHING that takes place outside of the city limits. Therefore, any cases that occur outside of incorporated Fayetteville, Georgia cannot be heard in this court. DUI Cases in Fayetteville start in this court.
Fayetteville, Georgia Municipal Court is held four times per month. You will need to check your citation to see what date and time you need to appear.
Please note that Fayetteville Georgia Municipal Court discourages individuals from bringing children to court. Cell phones and backpacks are prohibited.
The Fayetteville Municipal Court is located at 760 Jimmie Mayfield Blvd., Fayetteville, GA 30215. Their phone number is (770) 719-4277. The Judge in Fayetteville Municipal Court is Michael Martin. The prosecutor is Ross Burris. The Clerk of Court is Charity Borders. For more information, please visit the Fayetteville Municipal Court's website. Contact The Law Offices of Richard Lawson for expert advice from a DUI Lawyer in Fayetteville, GA.
Peachtree City Municipal Court
If you were arrested for DUI in Peachtree City, you need a skilled Peachtree City DUI Lawyer to represent you in Peachtree City Municipal Court. Peachtree City Municipal Court is located at 151 Willowbend Road, Peachtree City, GA 30269. The judge in Peachtree City is Judge Stephen D. Ott. The prosecutor is Marcia Moran. The Chief Clerk of Court is Kimberly Jones. The clerk's office is open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. For further information, please visit the Peachtree City Municipal Court's website.
Peachtree City Municipal Court handles all misdemeanor and traffic offenses cited inside the city limits of Peachtree City, Georgia. DUI Cases in Peachtree City start in this court. Court is held in Peachtree City every Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.
Please note that Peachtree City has a strict code of conduct. Cell phones must be turned off or on silent. Individuals are subject to search prior to entering the courtroom. For more information, see Peachtree City's official Basic Rules of Court Conduct. Call our office and have a DUI Lawyer in Peachtree City evaluate your case at no cost to you.
Tyrone Municipal Court
Misdemeanor DUI cases in Tyrone need a Tyrone DUI Lawyer. Tyrone Municipal Court is held each Tuesday in the Police Department Building, located at 945 Senoia Road, Tyrone, Georgia 30290.Court begins promptly at 9:00 a.m. The Municipal Court judge in Tyrone is Sharon I. Pierce. The prosecutor is Adam Shoemaker. The Clerk of Court is Kathy Bright. The clerk's office is open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. They may be reached at (770) 487-4732. For more information, please visit the Tyrone Municipal Court's website.
The Tyrone Municipal Court handles all misdemeanor and traffic offenses cited inside the city limits of Tyrone, Georgia. The judge of the Court does NOT have jurisdiction over ANYTHING that takes place outside of the city limits and so any cases that take place outside of incorporated Tyrone cannot be heard in this court. DUI Cases in Tyrone start in this court. Contact our office for a free consultation with a DUI Lawyer in Tyrone, GA today.
What To Expect If This Is Not Your First DUI Arrest
Although it is always important to hire a reputable Fayette County Georgia DUI Lawyer regardless of your criminal history (or lack thereof), it is particularly important if you have prior DUIs on your record. DUI law is substantially more complicated for people who have been through the system before, and the punishments can be exponentially more severe. You simply cannot afford to try and handle it alone.
For a second DUI conviction within a 10 year period, Georgia law requires:
- A fine of at least $600.
- A period of imprisonment of at least 72 hours.
- At least 240 hours of community service.
- Completion of a DUI Risk Reduction program.
- A clinical evaluation
- A period of 12 months on probation.
These are all mandatory minimums required by Georgia law. Sentencing judges do not have the discretion to go below these guidelines. They may, however, punish more harshly than this, and they frequently do.
In addition to this harsh punishment by the courts, a second DUI within the previous five years will result in serious consequences from the Georgia Department of Driver Services. If you are convicted of a second DUI in the last 5 years, you are facing a 120-day hard suspension. This means that no limited driving permits are available for any purpose. Following this 120 day period, you are required to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle, which must remain in place for 12 months. This device is designed to prevent individuals from driving under the influence by forcing them to blow into the device in order to start the ignition. They are costly to install and maintain. Following this 12-month period, you may remove the interlock device and acquire a regular limited driving permit, which will permit you to drive to work, school, medical appointments, and court-related events.
For a third DUI conviction within a 10-year period, Georgia law requires:
- A fine of at least $1,000.
- A period of imprisonment of at least 15 days.
- At least 30 days of community service.
- Completion of a DUI Risk Reduction program.
- A clinical evaluation.
- A 12-month probationary sentence.
A third DUI conviction in 10 years will result in a license revocation for 5 years, as you will be considered a “habitual violator.”
SPECIALIZING IN DUI DEFENSE
Because sentencing for repeat offenders can be so harsh, it is very important to hire a Fayette County DUI Lawyer who can determine the best possible defenses in your case. Even if it is your first DUI, do not trust your future to just any general law practitioner. Our firm DUI Attorneys in Fayette County GA waiting to speak with you about the options available to you. Your case will not resolve itself; you must take action now!
Fayette County DUI Resources