Paulding County DUI Lawyer - Paulding County DUI Attorney
Contact the Law Office of Richard Lawson if you have been arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI). You may not know you have two cases against you. First, there is the civil matter of the Administrative License Suspension Hearing, and secondly, the criminal case in one of the criminal courts in Paulding County, Georgia.
Georgia License Suspension: The 30-Day Letter
When you are charged with DUI in Georgia, you only have thirty days to file for an ALS Hearing (Administrative License Suspension Hearing) or to request an ignition interlock device. The consequences of not submitting the request for the hearing or interlock device include, but are not limited to, losing your driver's license. In the event of a refusal to submit to the state-administered testing (or even just an allegation of a refusal), the license suspension lasts a full 12 months. During a "refusal suspension," no limited permits are available. The penalty is harsh, but it can easily be avoided. Your DUI Attorney in Paulding County will file the 30-day letter along with the required $150 filing fee. Once filed, the suspension can either be prevented or at least (in the event of multiple offenders) postponed. This is your affirmative duty. The criminal case in one of the Paulding County criminal courts will happen either way. It is your choice to act and request this hearing to help save your privilege to drive in Georgia.
Richard Lawson is a former Georgia prosecutor and knows both sides of your Paulding County DUI case. Check out his reviews on Avvo and see why he is Georgia's top DUI Defense Attorney.
PAULDING COUNTY COURT SYSTEM
In Paulding County, as in many jurisdictions in the state of Georgia, DUI cases may be heard in many courts. There are various levels of municipal, state, and superior courts. The maze of courts can be confusing. As a result, it is important to have a Paulding County DUI Lawyer that understands this system. Our Paulding County DUI Lawyers know the prosecutors, judges and clerks, and use their experience to protect your rights and get the best possible outcome in your case.
Paulding County State Court
If you are arrested for DUI in Paulding County, your DUI case will begin in Paulding County State Court. In State Court, your case may be resolved in one of several ways: A plea to DUI or to a lesser charge, or with a bench trial -- a trial in which the judge alone decides whether you are guilty or innocent. If you wish to have a trial by jury, you may request this in State Court, and your case will be heard in State Court. However, if you are charged with felony DUI, your case will proceed in Paulding County Superior court.
Your first court date in Paulding County State Court will be your arraignment date. If you are represented by an attorney, your Paulding County DUI Attorney will most likely appear on your behalf at arraignment, and you will not be required to appear in court.
If you are not represented by an attorney, you have several options at arraignment. You may:
- Request a new court date to hire an attorney.
- Apply for a public defender.
- Enter a plea of “not guilty.” This will result in your case being continued to a new date, which will be your trial date.
- Enter a guilty plea. *Note: it is not advisable to enter a guilty plea to DUI without consulting an attorney, as this can have long-lasting effects on both your criminal history and your driver's license, and an attorney is in a much better position to negotiate a more favorable plea bargain than a pro se, or unrepresented, defendant.
There are several ways that cases can ultimately be resolved in Paulding County State Court. First, you may plead guilty to either DUI or a lesser offense. A sentence will be imposed by the State Court Judge, and your case will be closed. Second, you may have a bench trial--a trial in which the judge alone decides whether you are guilty or innocent.
Map of Paulding County State Court
The Paulding County State Court is located at 240 Constitution Boulevard, Dallas, GA 30132. Paulding County State Court handles all traffic violations that occur in the county. Judge Angela O'Conner officiates Paulding County State Court. Randy Harris is the Court Administrator and can be reached at 678-981-4380. The State Court number is 678-981-4380. The Paulding County State Court Clerk's Office is open from 8:00 am – 12:00 noon, and from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm.
Paulding County Superior Court
The Superior Court is the court of highest jurisdiction in the county and hears all felony cases, as well as cases that have been transferred from the lower courts in the county.
As in Paulding County State Court, your first court date in Superior Court will be your arraignment date. After your arraignment, there will be one or more intermediate court dates, sometimes referred to as “calendar call” or “pretrial” dates that you will be required to attend.
In the Superior Court, you may resolve your case in one of several ways. You may enter a plea to the DUI or a lesser offense. Your Paulding County DUI Attorney will engage in negotiations with the District Attorney's office and will use every tool at his or her disposal to ensure that you are fairly treated and receive the best possible plea deal in your case. Of course, it is also your constitutional right to have your case tried by a jury of your peers. For a DUI case, which is a misdemeanor offense, this jury will be comprised of 6 individuals. For felony cases, the jury is made up of 12 people.
Paulding County became its own judicial circuit in 2002, having previously been part of the Tallapoosa Judicial Circuit. The Paulding County Superior Court judges are Chief Judge Tonny S. Beavers, Judge James R. Osborne, Judge Kenneth G. Vinson, and Senior Judges Arthur Fudger and W.A. Foster.
The District Attorney in Paulding County is Dick Donovan. His office can be reached at (770) 443-7561. More information about the District Attorney's Office can be found here.
If you cannot afford an attorney, it is advisable to apply for a public defender. The Paulding County Public Defender's Office is located at 280 Constitution Boulevard, Room 1086, Dallas, GA 30132. The Public Defender's Office can be reached by phone at (770) 443-3463. There will be a $50 application fee assessed to all applicants.
Map of Paulding County Superior Court
The Paulding County Superior Court is located at 280 Constitution Boulevard, Dallas, GA 30132. The Clerk of Court is Treva Shelton. The phone number to the Paulding County Superior Court Clerk's Office is (770) 443-7527, and their fax number is (770) 505-3863.
Braswell Municipal Court
The Braswell Municipal Court handles all misdemeanor and traffic offenses cited inside the City limits of Braswell, Georgia. The judge of the Court does NOT have jurisdiction over ANYTHING that takes place outside of the city limits and so any cases that take place outside of incorporated Braswell cannot be heard in this court. Contact our office today to speak with a Braswell DUI Attorney.
Map to Braswell Municipal Court
The Braswell Municipal Court is located at 6997 Braswell Mountain Road, Rockmart, GA 30153. Their phone number is (770) 687-7979. The Judge in Braswell is the Honorable Brian Hardison. The Clerk of Court is Lisa Pickett.
Braswell Municipal Court, like most courts, has rules about attire and courtroom decorum. They request that you do not wear shorts or cutoffs, muscle shirts, clothing with offensive slogans or pictures, clothing that is too tight or too short, or hats. You are required to be on time. You may not read newspapers, magazines, books, or use your phone in the courtroom during proceedings. Fight your DUI charge by hiring an experienced DUI Lawyer in Braswell. You only get one chance to have your case handled the right way.
Hiram Municipal Court
If you have been arrested for DUI in the City of Hiram, you need the advice of a Hiram DUI Lawyer. The Law Offices of Richard Lawson has a team of DUI Lawyers in Hiram that are waiting to evaluate your case.
The Hiram Municipal Court handles all misdemeanor and traffic offenses cited inside the City limits of Hiram, Georgia. The judge of the Court does NOT have jurisdiction over ANYTHING that takes place outside of the city limits and so any cases that take place outside of incorporated Hiram cannot be heard in this court.
Hiram Municipal Court is very strict about continuances, which are available only due to hospitalization, a death in the family, or military leave. Continuances must be requested at least 48 hours prior to your court date and your request must be accompanied by written documentation of the reason for the continuance.
Map of Hiram Municipal Court
Court is held two times monthly in the Community Center located behind the Dewey Pendley Municipal Complex, 217 Main Street, Hiram, Ga. 30141 in downtown Hiram. The Hiram Municipal Court office is located at 217 Main Street, Hiram, GA 30141. The Clerk of Court is Brandy Bray. She can be reached at (770) 943-3087, extension 2012. The Judge in Hiram is the Honorable Chad Plumley. The prosecutor is Victoria Aronow.
Hiram has a dress code policy that must be followed. The deputies will not allow you into the courtroom if you are wearing flip flops or shorts.
For more information on the Hiram Municipal Court, please visit their website.
Dallas Georgia Municipal Court
Dallas GA DUI arrests require the defense of a skilled Dallas GA DUI Lawyer. Our DUI Lawyers in Dallas, Georgia are the best in the state, and will expertly handle your case with compassion and skill.
Dallas Georgia Municipal Court handles all misdemeanor and traffic offenses cited inside the City limits of Dallas, Georgia. The judge of the Court does NOT have jurisdiction over ANYTHING that takes place outside of the city limits and so any cases that take place outside of incorporated Dallas cannot be heard in this court.
Map of Dallas GA Municipal Court
The Dallas GA Municipal Court office is located at 120 Main Street, Dallas, GA 30132. The Clerk of Court is Lisa Pickett. She can be reached at (770) 443-8100, extension 1002. The Judge in Braswell is the Honorable Brian Hardison.
Understanding Implied Consent and Privileges to Drive after a DUI Arrest
Whether your case originates in Paulding County State Court or in one of the municipal courts in Paulding County, you need a knowledgeable DUI Attorney in Paulding County to conduct a full investigation and find all possible defenses that may be available in your case. All prosecutors are experienced attorneys and know what evidence they need in order to get a conviction. You need a DUI Lawyer in Paulding County who can look at that evidence and use it to your benefit.
One issue that frequently arises in a Georgia DUI case is that of Implied Consent. If you are driving on Georgia's roadways and are arrested for DUI, you are presumed to have given your consent to a state-administered test of your blood, breath, urine or other bodily substance. However, the arresting officer is required to advise you of how your privilege to drive in Georgia may be affected by the results of such a test, or by your refusal to submit to testing.
The Implied Consent Notice for Suspects 21 or Over Reads as Follows:
"Georgia law requires you to submit to state administered chemical tests of your blood, breath, urine, or other bodily substances for the purpose of determining if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you refuse this testing, your Georgia driver's license or privilege to drive on the highways of this state will be suspended for a minimum period of one year. Your refusal to submit to the required testing may be offered into evidence against you at trial. If you submit to testing and the results indicate an alcohol concentration of 0.08 grams or more, your Georgia driver's license or privilege to drive on the highways of this state may be suspended for a minimum period of one year. After first submitting to the required state tests, you are entitled to additional chemical tests of your blood, breath, urine, or other bodily substances at your own expense and from qualified personnel of your own choosing. Will you submit to the state administered chemical tests of your (designate which tests) under the implied consent law?"
There are separate notices for drivers age 21 or over, drivers under age 21, and drivers of commercial vehicles. This is due to the differences in the “per se” level of impairment and license suspensions as applied to these separate classes of drivers under Georgia law. The per se level of impairment for commercial drivers is 0.04 grams and for drivers under the age of 21 the per se level is only 0.02 grams or more.
Implied consent is one important element in a DUI arrest, but it is far from the only element. DUI cases are complicated and require specialized knowledge. It is therefore crucial that your Paulding County DUI Attorney be familiar with all aspects of DUI law. In addition, successful defense of a DUI case depends on having an attorney who is not only familiar with the law, but who can also serve as an effective liaison between you and the Court, the judge, the prosecutor, and the police officer. This is why it is so important to choose a DUI Lawyer with experience in Paulding County. We know the prosecutors, the judges, and court staff.
What happens if I submit to the State-Administered Chemical Test?
If you submitted to the state-administered chemical test, and tested over the legal limit, the obvious disadvantage is that the state now has scientific evidence of a “per se” violation of the DUI statute, meaning that you broke the law just by having an unlawful concentration of alcohol in your blood.
By testing over the legal limit, you are also facing the prospect of an administrative suspension of your driver's license. This occurs long before you ever step foot in a courtroom for you criminal DUI case. The maximum license suspension in a “test case” is one year, beginning 30 days after your arrest. You do have the right to appeal this suspension. Your Paulding County DUI Lawyer is well-equipped to handle this appeal.
However, this does not mean that all is lost. There are numerous defenses that a skilled Paulding County DUI Attorney can raise in order to challenge the admissibility of the state-administered test.
- The arresting officer may have lacked probable cause to make an arrest and even request a chemical test.
- The arresting officer may have misread the Implied Consent warning, or may have given you misleading information in conjunction with the reading of this warning.
- The Implied Consent warning may not have been read in a timely fashion – the officer may have read it before placing you under arrest for DUI, or there may have been an undue delay in the reading.
These are only a few examples of possible defenses that may be available in a DUI Per Se case. This is why it is vital to have a skilled Paulding County DUI Lawyer who will conduct a full investigation to find any possible defenses to your Paulding County DUI.
In addition, if you did submit to the state-administered test and you are over 21 years of age, your Paulding County DUI Attorney can walk you through the process of obtaining a limited permit that will allow you to drive for work, school, and medical appointments. Additionally, you will be eligible for early reinstatement of your license after 30 days if you attend a Georgia Risk Reduction program (also known as DUI school). Any period of administrative suspension that you served will be credited toward any suspension period imposed in the criminal action. Our Paulding County DUI Attorneys are well-versed in Georgia's complicated driver's license laws and will assist you with keeping your driving privileges.
What happens if I refuse the State-Administered Chemical Test?
If you refuse the State-Administered Chemical test, you are facing a 12-month “hard” suspension of your driver's license. This means that no special limited permits or hardship waivers are available, and you are left completely without driving privileges, unless your Paulding County DUI Attorney can get the suspension withdrawn.
There are two types of withdrawals of the suspension in a refusal case. The first is known as a “unilateral” withdrawal. In a unilateral withdrawal, the arresting officer withdraws the suspension and you license is restored, with no strings attached.
The second type of withdrawal of the suspension comes with strings attached. In particular, the officer will withdraw the suspension in exchange for a guilty plea to the DUI in the criminal case. While this does lock you into a guilty plea, it also restores your driving privileges pending your criminal case and allows you to receive a limited permit after the resolution of your criminal DUI case (assuming it's a first DUI in 5 years).
There Is Hope If You Have Been Charged With DUI In Paulding County Georgia:
Richard Lawson and his associates have defended thousands of people accused of driving under the influence in the nearly 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.
Paulding County DUI Resources