One of the more interesting DUI stories of the week involved the man who fled from his probation revocation hearing in Johns Creek Municipal Court. As reported in the AJC, James Earl Johnson, 44, was due in court in Johns Creek for a probation violation. During the court hearing, Mr. Johnson was sentenced to 63 days in jail after the judge found that he had not paid more than $2000 in fines from DUI and driving without a license charges from 2013. After the sentence was announced, Mr. Johnson fled the courtroom, got into a vehicle and drove away.
Police followed him to an office park where he alledgely attempted to hit an officer with his car but finally stopped his vehicle. Police tasered Johnson and arrested him. They later discovered he was under the influence of alcohol at the time of his arrest.
The perspective I offer is how a small problem, such as a misdemeanor jail sentence can be turned into a huge nightmare when bad decisions are made.
To start, no person wants to go to jail, and 63 days for a probation violation is a harsh sentence, when it is the result of not paying fines and fees. It's a perfectly legal sentence, and in my experience I would assume both his probation officer and the judge had warned him about failing to meet his obligations. It is unlikely that he would be revoked 63 days on a first violation. This part is only an opinion. Technically, 63 days could be revoked for one violation, but that harsh an outcome would not be the norm in this jurisdiction.
That all being said, after James Earl Johnson fled court and drove off, he subjected himself to the following potential punishments:
- Having the balance of his original probation revoked;
- Being charged with a new DUI with a potential 12 month sentence;
- Being charged with each traffic offense while fleeing the scene with the potential for 12 month in jail on each traffic offense;
- 12 additional months in jail for Reckless Driving;
- 12 additional months in jail for fleeing and eluding;
- 20 days in jail for contempt of court;
- 12 months in jail for obstruction of a law enforcement officer;
- 12 months in jail for driving on a suspended license, and;
- 20 years in prison for Aggravated Assault on a police officer.
In addition, he is unlikely to be released on bond because to be a candidate for bond a person must show that they are both likely to attend court and not likely to re-offend prior to court. He would have a hard time showing either.
So, the moral of this story is two-fold. One, you cannot escape the long-arm of government. You have to subject yourself to the court process and the lawful decisions of our judiciary. Most judges do their best to be fair and decent. There is absolutely no evidence that Mr. Johnson was treated unfairly. The second lesson to learn is that you should hire the best attorneys when you are in trouble. No person should ever go to court without a qualified lawyer on his or her side. Had Mr. Johnson been with a Johns Creek DUI lawyer, he likely would have had a better outcome. His Johns Creek DUI Attorney would have also worked hard to make sure he was treated fairly. Even in the worst-case scenario, Mr. Johnson would have been well advised by counsel to treat the court system with respect. This act of total and complete disrespect will cost him a good portion of his life. It was totally reckless and should have never happened.
If you have been arrested for DUI, don't wait to contact the Law Offices of Richard Lawson. Richard has almost 20 years of experience handling DUI cases and can help you today. Call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.