Lumpkin County DUI Lawyer - Lumpkin County DUI Attorney
For people who live in North Georgia and visitors alike, getting a DUI in Lumpkin County is a serious matter. Over 25 years ago, attorney Richard Lawson began his career as a DUI Prosecutor, right here, in Lumpkin County. Since that time, he has become Georgia's top-rated, most reviewed DUI Attorney. His reviews can be found on AVVO.
30 Day Warning for any North Georgia DUI
If you have been arrested for DUI in North Georgia, you only have thirty days to protect your right to drive. Your Lumpkin County DUI Lawyer must file an appeal of the automatic suspension of your driver's license. This appeal is separate and apart from your court date in Lumpkin County Probate Court or Dahlonega Municipal Court. If the appeal is not filed timely, you will lose your driver's license for up to 12 months. If you refused the breath test (or are accused of refusing), the suspension would be without a permit to drive. The State of Georgia charges $150 to file the appeal. Our office is available seven days a week and 24 hours a day to start your defense.
Lumpkin County DUI Process:
When you are arrested in Lumpkin County, your DUI case will begin in the Probate Court or in Municipal Court. If you were arrested in unincorporated Lumpkin County, your case would have its initial arraignment in the Probate Court. That may seem unusual for some people because probate court implies estate law or disposition of assets after death. However in small counties, based on population, the probate court judge is also the misdemeanor traffic court judge. This dual role is common and is based on the economic realities of smaller communities.
If you were arrested within the city limits of Dahlonega, your case would begin in Dahlonega Municipal Court. The city court also handles cases where the accused was arrested by the North Georgia College Police Department.
In both instances, your case can be sent to the Superior Court for a jury trial. There are no jury trials in probate or municipal court. For misdemeanor DUI offenses, all jury trials are before a 6-person jury. In Felony DUI cases, the case will have its initial arraignment in Superior Court, and if the case goes to a jury trial, the defense has a right to a jury of 12 people. The decision to go to trial should only be made after consulting an experienced Lumpkin County DUI Attorney.
Lumpkin County Probate Court
In probate court, your case can be resolved with either a plea to the DUI or a lesser offense such as reckless driving, or a request for a bench trial. A bench trial is a trial before the judge where he acts as the judge of the law and of the facts. There is no jury. However, in Lumpkin County Probate Court it is the policy of the judge to not hear DUI trials of any kind. If you want a trial, it will be in Lumpkin County Superior Court.
The Judge of the Lumpkin County Probate Court is Michael A. Chastain. The Chief Clerk is Shelley Wilson and the Traffic Clerk is Sandi Lovell. The Phone Number is 706-864-3847. The address is 325 Riley Road, Dahlonega GA 30533. As noted on their website: “Should you wish to pay your fine, you can appear in person between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday” or online through their website. “Should your violation require a mandatory court appearance, you must appear on your court date, or a bench warrant will be issued for your arrest.”
One thing to note about this court, and other courts of original jurisdiction, is it is almost best to make every attempt to resolve the case in the lower court. There is a built-in incentive to work the case out at the lower court level. Many times the best deal will be offered in the lower court because they want to collect the fine money. As a result, it is critical to have an attorney familiar with the court prosecuting your case. Richard Lawson has been a Lumpkin County DUI Lawyer for over 20 years. The Lumpkin County DUI Lawyers in his office all have been trained and are supervised personally by him.
Lumpkin County Superior Court
The Superior Court is the court of highest jurisdiction in the county. There are three judges of the Lumpkin County Superior Court, all of whom are judges in the Enotah Judicial Circuit. The judges are Murphy Miller, Raymond George, and Stan Gunter. Interestingly, Judge Gunter's father was also a superior court judge. The Enotah Circuit is in Ninth Judicial Administrative District of Georgia. For complete information on the circuit, see the website. The Official Court Reporter is Carol Glazier from Appalachian Court Reporting. If you need to order a transcript of any proceeding, contact Ms. Glazier at 706-745-4455. The Clerk of Superior Court is Rita Harkins. She has served Lumpkin County for more than 20 years.
In Superior Court, your attorney has the option of negotiating a favorable plea bargain or having a jury trial. In misdemeanor DUI cases the jury will have six persons. In Felony DUI cases such as Habitual Violator, Serious Injury by Vehicle, Vehicular Homicide, or a 4th DUI since 2008, the jury would have 12 persons.
In the beginning, it is important to gather all of the evidence. This process is called discovery. Discovery is filed through either a motion or an open records request. Once the information is received, our office has a former Georgia State Trooper review the evidence. The reason we use the former police officer to help review the evidence is because no person would be better suited to determine if the arresting officer in our client's cases followed all of the correct procedures.
In the event the arresting officer did not follow all of the right procedures, it opens up the possibility of getting the case reduced to Reckless Driving or some other lesser offense. No prosecutor will reduce or dismiss a case just because you are good person or because it is your first offense. There must be a reason to get a reduction and that is why our Lumpkin County DUI Attorneys investigate all of our cases.
Dahlonega Municipal Court
For DUI cases that occur in the city limits of Dahlonega or on the campus of North Georgia College and State University, your case will begin in Municipal Court. The Sheriff patrols the city because Dahlonega does not have its own police department. However North Georgia College has its own police department. If arrested on campus, the case will also go to Dahlonega Municipal Court.
Dahlonega Municipal Court is held at 465 Riley Road Dahlonega, GA 30533. The Judge is Hammond Law, and the Solicitor (the prosecutor) is Doug Parks. Both Mr. Law and Mr. Parks are part-time employees that each have their own full-time law practices. That is why court is held at 6:00 p.m. Part-time judges and prosecutors generally staff our smaller courts. This is common throughout Georgia's municipal court system. The Clerk of Court is Amanda Hazlett and her position is full-time. She is available every day to accept filings and fine payments.
You can pay minor traffic offenses in person or online. For all serious offenses such as DUI, Possession of Marijuana, Minor in Possession of Alcohol, and speeding more than 24 miles per hour for person's under 21 years of age, you must attend court and appear before the judge.
DUI Penalties in Lumpkin County
The consequences of a DUI can be severe. Even a first offense can include time in jail and the loss of your driver's license. If convicted, you will have a lifetime criminal record and a suspended license. None of this has to happen. With the right advice and counsel, you can potentially avoid significant time in jail, the loss of your license, and even a DUI conviction. Remember, you only have 30 Days to file your ALS Appeal to save your driver's license. Without that appeal, you are facing up to 12 months without a license to drive.
For a full outline of all DUI consequences, review the practice areas within this Georgia DUI Information website. This website is designed to be your 24 hour-a-day resource for everything you need to know about our DUI laws and how to protect your rights.
Act Now To Protect Your RIghts
Being arrested for DUI is stressful for anyone. Sometimes people are paralyzed with fear and do not act quickly enough to protect their rights and future. The most important choice you will make is with the representation you choose. Our office is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We are here to protect your rights. Richard Lawson started his career as a Lumpkin County DUI prosecutor, and since that time he has devoted his life to defending citizens accused of drunk driving and other traffic-related offenses. There is hope. No case is impossible to defend. There are always options. Call now to discuss your case. Your best defense begins here.
Lumpkin County DUI Resources
Lumpkin County Sheriff's Office
Administrative Office of the Courts
Clerk of Lumpkin County Superior Court