Henry County GA DUI Lawyer - Henry County DUI Attorney
Henry County DUI Defense
Being arrested for a DUI or any criminal case can be a frightening and confusing experience. Because of the nature of a DUI, many times the person arrested has never been involved in the criminal justice system, nor had any contact with law enforcement. Suddenly, with one incident you are dealing with police, courts, attorneys and the possibility of facing time in jail!
Driving Under the Influence is an offense that cuts across all socio-economic borders, affecting thousands of Georgia residents every year.
DUI, Driving Under the Influence, also known as Driving While Intoxicated, or Driving While Impaired is an offense common to all 50 states. The elements of the offense are generally the same, involving driving or operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) over a certain legal limit. A DUI in Georgia can also involve being under the influence of illegal drugs or prescription drugs. In many cases, you can be charged with a DUI even if a drug is not actively causing impairment, if it is still present in your system. For reference, the inactive metabolites of marijuana remain in your blood for as much as 30 days after usage.
IF YOU'VE BEEN ARRESTED FOR A DUI IN HENRY COUNTY GA, YOU SHOULD BE REPRESENTED BY AN EXPERIENCED HENRY COUNTY DUI ATTORNEY!
Having an experienced Henry County DUI Lawyer is the way to make it through the disruption that a DUI arrest will cause in your life. Having an experienced DUI Lawyer in Henry County Georgia that was initially trained as a prosecutor is an even better way. Experience as a prosecutor gives Richard S. Lawson an insight into your DUI case that most other DUI attorneys don't have. He has the knowledge of the court system and prosecutors. He puts that experience to work for his clients every day.
Richard Lawson is a former DUI Prosecutor in Georgia. For over 25 years he has defended people charged with DUI in Henry County and throughout Georgia. He has the advantage of knowing both sides of a DUI case. He is the most reviewed DUI Lawyer in Georgia. His reviews can be found on AVVO.
WITH EVERY DUI IN GEORGIA THERE ARE ACTUALLY TWO CASES AGAINST YOU, THE CRIMINAL CASE AND THE CIVIL CASE REGARDING YOUR DRIVERS LICENSE:
GEORGIA LICENSE SUSPENSION - YOUR 30 DAY LETTER
The State of Georgia issued your driver's license with the understanding that you would abide by certain rules and regulations. Your ability to drive in Georgia and possession of your driver's license is a privilege, not a right. Violation of DUI laws in Georgia carries with it the possibility that the State will suspend your driving privileges for a period of time. A license suspension for a DUI will be automatic if you do not request a hearing.
The officer who cited you for DUI actually began two cases against you; the court case AND an Administrative License Suspension case or ALS Case. The court case starts with the date given to you on your citation. The ALS case begins immediately upon the filing of your citation and gives you only thirty (30) days to file a request for a hearing before your license is automatically suspended! Richard Lawson and his team will file a request for hearing in order to STOP THE IMMEDIATE SUSPENSION OF YOUR LICENSE. The State of Georgia requires a One Hundred and Fifty Dollar ($150) fee to be paid in order to set an ASL hearing. Your Henry County DUI Lawyer will protect your rights and help save your ability to drive.
If you do not get your request for hearing in before the 30 day deadline, your license will be automatically suspended. If you refused to take the blood, breath or urine test requested by the officer during his investigation, your license will be suspended for ONE YEAR, with no limited permit or restricted license allowed. In other cases where you took a breath, blood or urine test, you may suffer a 30 day suspension. That suspension could result in a restricted license or a limited permit for part of your suspension, which could allow you to drive to and from work or school.
The Administrative License Suspension process is a complicated one, completely separate from your court case. Waiting in long lines, dealing with unhelpful clerks, and the red tape that comes with dealing with big government agencies can all be avoided by sending your attorney in to represent you.
Our Henry County DUI Attorneys have years of experience in conducting and winning Administrative License Suspension Hearings. They will appear on your behalf, sometimes without you present so you don't have to take valuable time off from work or school, or arrange for child care so you can attend the hearing.
The officer in your case however, will have to attend. He or she will have to testify, just as if he were at trial. There are always potential defenses to a license suspension. As each case is different, every license suspension should be thoroughly researched in order to determine whether any of the defenses listed below apply. Those potential defenses include but are not limited to:
- Was the implied consent read correctly (substantially correct is the standard)?
- Was the implied consent warning read timely (as close to the time of arrest as possible)?
- Did the arresting officer or other officers present provide information to the arrested driver contrary to the advice and meaning of the implied consent warning?
- Did the officer read the correct warning for the person suspected of DUI (such as the commercial warning for CDL drivers or the under 21 warning for those who are under the age of 21)?
- Did the arresting officer fail to choose an actual test (i.e. designate a test such as breath, blood or urine)?
- Did you rescind your refusal and agree to a test and the officer said it was too late to take the test?
- Did you request an independent test and were not accommodated?
- If there was a roadblock, was the roadblock handled in a constitutional manner?
- Were you arrested and in custody for purpose of Miranda warnings?
The other advantage of an ALS Hearing is that the officer's testimony will be 'on the record,' which means that we will get a copy of what he says which we can use to compare to his testimony at later hearings. If his story changes, we can use that to show that he is not a credible witness and that perhaps there were errors in his investigation that could lead a judge or jury to believe that you are not guilty.
Parallel to filing the request for an ALS Hearing, the Law Office of Richard S. Lawson will also appear on your behalf for the court case in Henry County, defending your rights and making sure the State does not take advantage of you. Your best defense with your Henry County DUI Attorney on your side.
THE COURT PROCESS IN HENRY COUNTY, GEORGIA
The Court process in Georgia is a fragmented and confusing system. Which court you report to depends on what county you are cited in and where in the county you actually get arrested. In Henry County, Georgia if you were cited in one of the major municipalities, Stockbridge, McDonough, Hampton, or Locust Grove, you will appear in the Municipal Court for that town. If your case is set for jury trial, it will be moved over to Henry County State Court.
If you are cited outside the city limits of one of those cities, you will appear directly in State Court.
If you are charged with a felony, your case will be sent to Henry County Superior Court.
Stockbridge Municipal Court
McDonough Municipal Court
Hampton Municipal Court
Locust Grove Municipal Court
Henry County State Court
Henry County Superior Court
Your court case begins with an arraignment, or initial hearing. If you have hired the Law Office of Richard Lawson to represent you, we will file paperwork with the court letting them know that we are representing you and that you intend, at this early stage of the case, to plead NOT GUILTY. That means that you will not have to come to court for the arraignment and that you do not have to take time off from work or school or find day care.
After one of our Henry County DUI Lawyers files a notice of Appearance, we will immediately begin working on and analyzing your case. We will get copies of all the relevant police reports, any taped statements or videos that may have been taken during the investigation, and copies of testimony of the officer if you had an ALS Hearing.
Once we begin compiling our case, we will have an idea of exactly what evidence the State has collected and can begin negotiations with the prosecutor. At this point we will need to sit down with you to go over the case in detail. If we are representing you, we feel that you must understand each piece of evidence the State may use against you so that you can get an idea of what your case looks like. We value our ability to communicate with our clients in helping them understand the system and every part of their case. Our representation of you is not a one-sided endeavor. We rely in your input, and your opinion in determining how best to defend you. We cannot win your case without you!
The court case will proceed through several different stages, from arraignment, through pretrial, to trial. Descriptions of each of these stages can be found on our website and will give you an idea of what takes place during each. Of course, we will also be speaking with you and meeting you, either in person or by telephone, throughout your court case and will be available to answer questions at any time about court hearings, plea negotiations, evidence, and any other developments in your case.
Again, we are a 'hands-on' law firm and we take pride in the high level of communication we maintain with our clients. You DO NOT want to hire an attorney who does not return phone calls within a day or two, or one who does not employ an educated staff that can answer most questions quickly and accurately. Our Henry County DUI Attorneys are dedicated to good customer service.
We understand that a DUI case can cause stress in your personal life, your family and your job. It is easy during these times to make a bad decision when considering whether to hire an attorney to represent you, and once you decide to hire one...which one?
The Law Office of Richard Lawson are here to guide you through this complicated process and offer a free consultation to discuss your case to help you determine how you would like to handle it. If you would like to do some research ahead of time, our website offers a wealth of free information, which will allow you to become an informed client. Check out the pages on DUI Consequences in Georgia, Georgia DUI Penalties, Georgia DUI Defenses, Georgia DUI Laws.
Once you have determined that it is time to hire a Henry County DUI Attorney, set up your free consultation with us. And because we recognize that DUIs can happen at any time of the day or night, we are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We are also aware that taking time off from work to meet with a Henry County DUI Lawyer can be difficult for some people. Because of this, we can also set up a phone conference and evaluate your case without the inconvenience of setting up an in-person meeting. You time is valuable and we hope to make your experience as painless as possible.
Hire One of the Top-Rated DUI Attorneys in Henry County Georgia
The Law Office of Richard Lawson exclusively handles DUI cases. You do not want to hire an attorney who is not familiar with the complicated case law and statutory law relating to a DUI in Georgia. Because there are so many DUI cases cited each year and so many of the DUI investigations have serious legal issues, there are generally many DUI cases that result in an appeal. When a court case is appealed to higher courts, the judge or judges will often write an opinion. The opinion they write then becomes law. If your Henry County DUI Attorney is not fully up to speed on new case law, your rights can be seriously jeopardized!
In addition, when there is a change in the world of DUIs, sometimes an enormous number of DUI cases are lumped together in one or several hearings to decide a certain issue. For instance, if a new breath testing machine in introduced, defense attorneys across the state will require police departments and prosecuting agencies to PROVE that the new machine can be relied upon in court.
Each machine also requires quarterly maintenance and quality assurance checks. Records of those checks are kept with the area supervisor that conducts them or with local prosecuting agencies. Your Henry County DUI Lawyer must know where to go to make sure the machine the officer forced you to use, had its maintenance in a timely manner and that it was performing satisfactorily when it was tested. Oftentimes a particular machine can stay in service, not working correctly, until some defense attorney points out that the margin of error on it has greatly exceeded that which is allowable!
Richard Lawson is a recognized expert in DUI defense, and has attended and taught seminars on DUI defense throughout Georgia and the United States, teaching other attorneys how to defend DUI cases. You can hire an attorney that TEACHES OTHER ATTORNEYS how to be effective DUI defense lawyers! He is the premier Henry County DUI Attorney.
DEFENSES TO YOUR HENRY COUNTY GEORGIA DUI:
Over the past 25 years, our office has developed and researched 50 Defenses to Driving Under the Influence cases in Georgia. These defenses are divided between defenses that show you were in fact not impaired and defenses to the procedures the arresting officer followed (or did not follow) in your case.
CHALLENGES TO THE EVIDENCE
Defenses to actual impairment usually take the form of challenges to the field sobriety tests and the state's chemical test (breath, blood, or urine test). The basis of the defense is that YOU WERE NOT DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE. You were not impaired. The chemical test is incorrect. The breath testing machine was not working correctly or was not calibrated correctly. These defenses usually need the use of an expert witness to challenge the State's evidence. The expert is used to explain why the State's position that you were impaired is not correct. Richard Lawson has, over the years, developed relationships with various highly effective and well-respected experts in the areas of impairment, challenges to blood, breath and urine testing procedures and machines, and the field sobriety tests. These relationships and experts will play a major role in the defense of your DUI case.
As a former prosecutor himself, Richard Lawson is well aware of and keeps a list of the defense experts that all prosecutors hate having to cross-examine. If there is an expert who can blow a hole in the State's case against you, you want that person testifying at your trial, on your side!
Procedural Defenses can sometimes be even more important. These are defenses to the manner in which the investigation was conducted and how you came to be arrested. In Georgia and throughout the entire United States, police officers have to follow certain procedures that are consistent with the United States Constitution and the Georgia law.
A procedural defense is generally one that is presented to the judge BEFORE a trial is even scheduled. Richard Lawson and his team of attorneys and staff will prepare written motions to file with the court. The motion is a written statement outlining some of the facts and why we believe that the State violated your rights and ultimately asking that the case be dismissed without the need for a trial. As you can see, this is a very powerful weapon in the defense attorney's arsenal.
A procedural defense is one that raises a question about how the investigation was conducted and whether your rights as a United States and Georgia citizen were violated. There are many procedural defenses. One of them is reasonable suspicion. The question that arises in a case where reasonable suspicion is an issue is did the office have a reasonable, articulable reason for stopping you? (Articulable is one of those legal words that doesn't really exist in the outside world...it means a reason that can be stated...not just a 'funny feeling'). A police officer cannot just stop you without a reason. If he has a reason, he must be able to state it to the judge and testify to it under oath. Generally stops in DUI cases are made because you have violated some traffic law...violation of most traffic laws constitute reasonable suspicion to make a stop.
However, if the officer did not have a decent reason to stop you, and we can convince the judge of that, your case can be dismissed altogether.
A lack of probable cause is another powerful defense. In order to place you under arrest in the United States, an officer must have probable cause...that is, he must be able to state that he had sufficient evidence that you had committed a crime. Whether the evidence collected by the officer was sufficient or not is a question the judge must decide. We will take the position that the officer DID NOT have enough evidence to arrest you, the State will take the position that the officer had enough evidence to arrest you...the judge will decide and if he decides in our favor, the case is dismissed.
Some other procedural defenses include the constitutionality of the roadblock and the advisement of the implied consent rights in your case. Again, the best part about procedural defenses is that they are complete defenses to the DUI case. That means, when we are successful in presenting these defenses to a judge, the State cannot prosecute the case. That is why we recommend investigating every Henry County DUI arrest. These procedural defenses are not readily apparent to a person arrested. That is why you need to hire the best DUI Lawyer in Henry County Georgia.
Every year the Law Office of Richard Lawson sets many of its client's cases for evidentiary hearing, and every year they get many of those cases dismissed after showing that there were errors in the investigation, there wasn't enough evidence, or that the evidence gathered was somehow misleading or tainted. This is one of the best possible outcomes for any DUI client!
WHERE CAN PEOPLE FIND INFORMATION ABOUT GEORGIA DUI LAWS?
This website has been written to provide around the clock Georgia DUI Information, and it is updated on a daily basis. Sometimes we update the site several times a day. We also provide daily Georgia DUI News in our Georgia DUI Information Blog. We are a state-wide DUI defense firm. We cover all of Metro Atlanta and North Georgia. Our office is here to help 24 hours a day, 7 days week. Our attorneys explore and investigate all potential defenses in order to get the best possible outcome.
IF YOU HAVE BEEN ARRESTED IN HENRY COUNTY GA FOR DUI, CONTACT ONE OF THE PREEMINENT DUI ATTORNEYS IN GEORGIA! THE LAW OFFICE OF RICHARD LAWSON OFFERS FREE CONSULTATIONS AND A 24 HOURS / 7 DAYS A WEEK HOTLINE.
The Top-Rated Henry County GA DUI Lawyer is here to help, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, nights, weekends and holidays. We are always here to help guide you through the DUI case process and don't feel you should have to wait until Monday morning. Contact us today for immediate legal help. Our Henry County DUI Lawyers are here to help when you need it most.
Henry County DUI Resources: