Oconee County DUI Lawyer - Oconee County DUI Attorney
YOUR LICENSE WILL BE SUSPENDED AUTOMATICALLY WITHIN THIRTY (30) DAYS IF YOU DO NOT ACT NOW!
Time is of the essence! Hire a former prosecutor to delay or avoid that license suspension.
The Department of Driver Services will automatically suspend your license following a DUI arrest within thirty days from the date of your citation. The only way to avoid this license suspension is to file a request for hearing within that time period. The State of Georgia charges $150 to file the hearing request. The Oconee County DUI Lawyers in our firm will file that appeal to protect your right to drive. Act now because your case will not defend itself.
The Law Office of Richard Lawson has conducted thousands of Administrative License Suspension Hearings and have protected the driving privileges of hundreds of drivers across the State of Georgia. Richard is the top-ranked and most-reviewed DUI defense attorney on AVVO, the attorney ranking service. For over 20 years, Richard Lawson and his team have been at the forefront of DUI defense throughout Georgia.
He was trained as a DUI prosecutor; gaining valuable experience and insight into the prosecution's case against you. He has developed working relationships with the very prosecutors, judges and police officers assigned to your case. There are few attorneys who are in a better position to negotiate the type of plea agreements that Richard makes available to his clients every day. Our experience is used to help defend you against the State of Georgia's unlimited resources.
DO NOT SIMPLY PLEAD GUILTY
Pleading guilty without first contacting a DUI defense attorney is one of the worst mistakes you can possibly make. A DUI can have a lasting impact on your life, family, career and education. Do not make any decisions about your case without seeking proper legal guidance from an expert in DUI law.
A DUI is a complicated case, both legally and factually. There are scientific chemical testing procedures to which that must be adhered, field sobriety tests that must be conducted properly, legal requirements regarding police procedure, and Constitutional rights that must be followed. Hiring or consulting with an attorney who is not well-versed in the intricacies of DUI law is a mistake.
Richard Lawson - The DUI-Only Defense Attorney
Richard Lawson only practices DUI defense. His entire firm is dedicated to DUI and other traffic-related offenses. He has hired a retired DUI officer as an investigator and he and his associates are trained in the breath and blood testing machines and their use. In fact, Richard has actually been trained as an operator of the breath testing machines. He and his staff are trained in the administration of field sobriety tests and protocols that must be followed for the results of those tests to be admissible.
Richard has been handling DUI cases for over twenty years. His training and experience make him an expert in DUI law!
SAVING YOUR DRIVER'S LICENSE
Once the Department of Driver Services (DDS) receives notice that you have been arrested for a DUI, they will begin the process to suspend your license. You must request (along with a $150 fee) a hearing on your suspension. This is called an Administrative License Suspension Hearing and will be conducted in a hearing room at the DDS location. This hearing is separate from the court case.
At the hearing, Richard or one of his associates will appear on your behalf. You will not have to be present, as we wish to limit the amount of time you actually have to spend in court, our offices, or at DDS. The officer in your case will appear before the hearing officer. We will cross examine him and will receive a recorded or written copy of his testimony.
If the officer cannot prove, after we are finished questioning him, that there was sufficient evidence of impairment to support the license suspension, your driving privileges will not be suspended. If the officer doesn't show up for the hearing (which often happens), your driving privileges will not be suspended. If we feel that the hearing may go against us, we can also request that you be allowed to receive a restricted permit, which will allow you to drive to and from work or school.
If you refused to take the test of your blood, breath or urine when the officer was conducting his investigation, and we cannot prove that you later recanted (or took back) that refusal, your license will be suspended for at least a year, without the opportunity to receive a restricted permit. In cases of refusal, there is no other option than to request a hearing. You will have nothing to lose by doing so, and may have everything to gain.
Once the issue of your license suspension has been settled, the second part of your DUI charge is the court case.
DUI Court Process in Oconee County
As an experienced DUI Lawyer in Oconee County, Georgia, Richard Lawson knows the court system and the important parties therein. To an outsider, however, it can be very intimidating and confusing. There is no reason to let fear or intimidation to cause you to make poor decisions. Hiring an Oconee County DUI Lawyer is the first step in defending your case.
The court in which you will be appearing depends on where you were arrested and for what charges. Throughout Georgia, you will have your initial court appearance in the jurisdiction in which you were arrested. Cases will appear first in either county or city (municipal) courts.
For a DUI case, if you were cited with a misdemeanor DUI charge or other traffic-related misdemeanor within the City limits of Watkinsville, you will appear in Watkinsville Municipal Court, with your Watkinsville DUI Attorney.
If you were cited outside the city limits of Watkinsville, you will be appearing in Oconee County Probate Court.
If you were cited with a felony DUI or your case is set for jury trial, you will be appearing in Oconee County Superior Court.
Watkinsville Municipal Court
Watkinsville Municipal Court is located at 191 VFW Drive in Watkinsville, Georgia. The phone number for the court is (706) 769-5161. Court hearings are held on the second Tuesday of each month in front of Judge Todd Townsend. Your Watkinsville DUI Lawyer will appear on your behalf to protect your rights.
Oconee County Probate Court
Oconee County Probate Court is located at 23 North Main Street in Watkinsville Georgia. The phone number at the court is (706) 769-3936. The Probate Court Judge is David Anglin. The Administrative Probate Clerk is Ginny King. The Probate Clerk is Sheila Hicks and the Senior Traffic Clerk is Debbie Turner. The Traffic Clerk is Linda Harrell and the Office Assistant is Migdai Marin.The Court has jurisdiction over wills, estates, guardianships, marriage licenses, firearms licenses, vital records, misdemeanor traffic offenses, misdemeanor marijuana offenses, underage possession of alcohol offenses, and game & fish offenses. The State is represented in Probate Court by the Solicitor General of the Probate Court.
Oconee County Superior Court
Oconee County Superior Court is located at 23 North Main Street in Watkinsville Georgia. The phone number at the court is (706) 769-3936. The Superior Court judges in Oconee County are part of the Western Judicial Circuit. The judges handle cases in both Oconee County Georgia and Athens-Clarke County. It is common throughout the State of Georgia that counties with smaller populations share a judiciary and staff with counties that have a larger population.
The Chief Superior Court Judge is David R. Sweat. His administrative assistant is Sophia T. Smith. The telephone number is 706-613-3185, with their main office at 325 E. Washington Street Athens, GA 30601. For further information consult his Staff Directory.
The other Superior Court Judges are Lawton E. Stephens and H. Patrick Haggard. Judge Stephens' main office is also in Athens Georgia. For further information on his office consult his Staff Directory. Judge Haggard's office is also in Athens, Georgia. His staff information can also be found in his Staff Directory.
The District Attorney prosecutes all cases in Superior Court. The District Attorney for the Western Judicial Circuit is Ken Mauldin, with offices in Athens-Clarke County and in Watkinsville. For further information contact the Western Judicial Circuit District Attorney's Staff Directory. The main phone number in Athens is 706-613-3240.
Magistrate Judge Eric Norris will conduct civil hearings on Mondays and Thursdays and criminal hearings on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. He will also conduct bond hearings from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Monday through Friday at the Oconee County Jail. Office hours are from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Mondays & Wednesdays and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays & Fridays. Angela Elder-Johnson is the Clerk of the Court.
Understanding and Caring Representation
No matter which court you are cited into, Richard and his associates will ensure that you are kept up to date on the status of your case and will advise you of all scheduled court hearings. Many of the hearings are ones you will not have to attend. We understand the stress of taking time off from work or school or arranging for day care and wish to minimize the disruption caused by your DUI case. Therefore, we will do everything we can to make the management of your case as smooth as possible.
Your court case will begin with an initial appearance or an arraignment. At the arraignment, the judge will formally read the charges to you and expect you to enter a plea on the record. We will appear at your arraignment on your behalf and enter a plea of ‘not guilty.'
Our Oconee County DUI Lawyers will request discovery (the police reports, videos, and any other evidence) and will attempt to negotiate a plea agreement for you. Unlike some DUI firms, we will not pressure you into accepting a plea agreement. We will discuss the facts of your case with you, its strengths and weaknesses, and will certainly give you our advice. However we will never force you to accept a plea that you do not feel is in your best interests.
If we can get your DUI charges dismissed, allowing you to plead to some traffic offense or to a reckless driving charge, perhaps that would be agreeable to you. If we can cut down the number of days in jail, or the time on probation, perhaps that is something in which you would be interested. Whatever the case, we will attempt to get you the best possible deal and proceed from there. Winning your case is a function of trying to limit the consequences of a DUI in Oconee County. It also means to make sure you are treated fairly and proportionally to other similarly situated.
If we cannot arrange for an agreement that you would like to take, we will set your case for trial. We will interview each of the witnesses and meet with you to discuss the trial and trial tactics and will sit by your side; protecting your rights throughout the entire proceeding. Our Oconee County DUI Attorneys are experienced in both bench and jury trials.
A bench trial is a trial where the judge decides the applicable law and makes the decision insofar as the guilt or innocence of the accused. Bench trials are usually best when the case rests upon the interpretation of a specific legal defense that a judge would be better trained to decide.
A jury trial is generally preferable for an Oconee County DUI case. In a misdemeanor jury trial, six citizens sit as the determiners of the facts of a case. That means they decide guilt or innocence. The trial judge acts as a referee between your Oconee County DUI Attorney and the prosecutor. The trial judge rules on all objections and makes a determination of the applicable law that applies to the facts of your case.
There Is Hope If Charged With DUI In Oconee County Georgia
Richard and his team will defend you vigorously by putting the State to the test and forcing the prosecutor to prove each allegation beyond a reasonable doubt. If the State cannot prove the case beyond all reasonable doubt, the jury would be authorized and required to find you not guilty. Our Oconee County DUI Attorneys will not rest until no stone is left unturned. We care about the outcomes in our cases and want you to get the best possible result.
Richard Lawson and his associates have defended thousands of people accused of driving under the influence in the over two decades he has been handling DUI cases. He is a recognized expert in DUI defense and everyone in his office is trained in standardized field sobriety testing and chemical testing (breath and blood testing).
If you have been charged with a DUI or any other traffic-related offense including reckless driving, boating under the influence, homicide by vehicle, hit and run, driving under the influence of drugs or prescription drugs, or possession of marijuana, contact our office at (404) 816-4440 or use the Contact form on this website to schedule a free consultation today.
We look forward to defending your rights.
Oconee County Georgia DUI Resources: