In Henry County, the prosecutors have implemented a set of sentencing guidelines similar to how things work in federal court. The grid assigns points for the number of prior DUI's and criminal offenses and to the circumstances in the present case.
For example, points are assessed for refusing to submit to a breath test and for an accident. These circumstances can lead to the Solicitor recommending greater time in jail and other enhanced consequences. However, it is important to note that these are only sentencing recommendations. Your Henry County DUI Lawyer can and should argue for the judge to depart from these guidelines.
In Georgia, a trial judge must use his discretion in sentencing. A judge cannot have a pattern of sentencing or follow a grid system or prosecutor's guidelines. In Costin v. State, 269 Ga. App. 632 (2004) the court of appeals held that a judge could not fail to consider a request for less jail time. In addition, Wilcox v. State, 257 Ga. App. 519 (2002) held that a court could not use a a mechanical sentencing formula or policy as to any portion of a sentence because such formula amounts to a refusal to exercise its discretion and therefore is an abdication of judicial responsibility. A trial court is required to exercise discretion rather than apply inflexible rules. It was held that a rigid sentencing policy based solely on the crime with which the defendant is charged is under no reasonable conception an exercise of judicial discretion.
The reason I point this out is that many Henry County DUI Lawyers are intimidated by prosecutors and courts, and as a result, fail to exercise their duty to fight for a better outcome. As a Henry County DUI Attorney, I will fight for your rights and against such mechanical sentencing formulas.
There are two ways to fight against the "grid." The first is to negotiate with the prosecutor for a downward departure from the grid. If you can get the Prosecutor to agree prior to sentencing, you are far better off. The second way is to convince the judge that your client should be treated differently. The basis for alternative treatment may be in the individual facts of the case. In addition, the basis may be that your client has taken the case seriously by attending DUI School, AA, counseling, and has completed community service. Our office is well aware that our clients can do a great deal to assist in their own defense.
So, if you are charged with DUI in Henry County Georgia, our office is here to help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Contact us today.