McDonough Ga. - Deputies in Henry County are aggressive when it comes to DUI and traffic enforcement. At any given hour of the day, you are likely to find police officers on traffic patrol trying to catch speeders and DUI offenders. Many Henry County officers have specialized training in DUI detection and enforcement and take pride in securing DUI convictions. Henry County residents and travelers on I-75 alike - many going back and forth to Florida - are all subject to DUI and traffic prosecution. Our Henry County DUI Lawyers are here to help if you are accused of a DUI or any other traffic offense.
Most Henry County cases are handled in the State Court, which is a large courthouse located in downtown McDonough. There are four state court judges, and the cases are randomly assigned to each. They are Judge Ben Studdard, Judge Pandora Palmer, Judge Ernest Blount, and Judge David Brown. The Solicitor-General is an elected official and is head of the office that prosecutes DUI and traffic court cases. The Solicitor-General for Henry County is Pam Bettis, and she, along with several other Assistant Solicitor Generals, prosecute the cases in State Court.
Most courts in Georgia are tough on DUI. With the powerful lobby of MADD and a general distaste among many folks for drunk and drugged drivers, DUI is prosecuted fairly aggressively across the board, and Henry County is no different. Where Henry County is surprisingly harsh is the prosecution's inflexibility with lesser traffic tickets. In many traffic courts throughout Georgia, you can go into court with a speeding ticket or stop sign offense and get points or fines reduced. Henry County tends not to be so forgiving. This is merely a minor nuisance for many drivers. However, drivers with CDL licenses may need the assistance of legal counsel even for a run of the mill traffic infraction.
Because of the severity of consequences of a DUI or other serious traffic offense like hit and run, fleeing and eluding, vehicular homicide, habitual violator, and aggressive driving, an experienced Henry County DUI defense lawyer is imperative. These offenses come with mandatory license suspensions, probation, and jail time. Not acting within certain time limits can also lead to suspension of your license without even having a court date or receiving evidence. A traffic offense in Henry County is not something to take lightly. We recommend hiring an experienced Henry County DUI Lawyer immediately after any DUI arrest. The Henry County DUI Attorneys in our office understand how a DUI case proceeds in Henry County and how to get the best outcome for our clients.
The first thing that our DUI lawyers do with a Henry County case is file an appeal that stops an automatic suspension of your ability to drive. We only have 30 days to file the appeal, so time is of the essence. Then we reach out to the prosecution to get evidence and review the videotape of the arrest. As tough as Henry County judges and prosecutors can be, it is still a good place to have a trial if you are innocent. A “jury trial” can sound like a scary proposition, but in Henry County, it is often the best way to get justice. Regular people are summoned to sit on the jury and decide the case. This is a refreshing change from the pre-disposition of prosecutors, officers, and even judges who tend to think that law enforcement usually gets it right, and you were probably in the wrong. The attorneys at Lawson & Berry do not shy away from taking a case to trial, and we have won several significant victories in Henry County. Additionally, our attorneys have been successful in working out plea bargains with more lenient terms than the prosecutors initially demand. Many times the fact that we are willing to fight a case will result in a more reasonable plea offer.
In addition to Henry County State Court, Henry County contains some other traffic courts as it includes several municipalities. It is almost always prudent to try to work out DUI cases in the traffic court before demanding a jury trial, which would automatically transfer the case to Henry County State Court. The city of McDonough maintains its own police department and traffic court. Judge Donald Patton handles traffic matters for the City of McDonough. In addition, Locust Grove, in the southern part of Henry County by the Tanger Outlet Center, has its own traffic court. Judge William D. Patten Jr. presides over Locust Grove Municipal Court. The City of Hampton is also in Henry County and has a traffic court and police department making DUI arrests. They have court dockets two Wednesdays a month. If accused, it is best to hire a Henry County DUI Attorney as soon as possible.
Additionally, Stockbridge operates a part-time traffic court. The chief judge is Santana Flanigan, and the associate judge is Christopher Chapman. Jerry Patrick and Jason Martin serve as prosecutors in this court. This is a court where a plea bargain can potentially be made, but if you want to contest the charges with a jury trial, the case will be transferred to Henry County State Court.
As stated earlier in this blog, Henry county police officers are very aggressive with traffic and DUI enforcement. It is on one of the busiest metro counties for DUI cases and trials, despite having a smaller population than some nearby counties. If you are facing a serious traffic offense or trouble with your license because of Henry County charges, reach out to our office for a free consultation. We are here to help you get the best possible results on your legal matter.