Sandy Springs DUI Lawyer - Sandy Springs DUI Attorney
Sandy Springs DUI Defense
Were you arrested for DUI in Sandy Springs? If so, you probably have a lot of questions such as what kind of penalties you should expect, what the long term effects of a DUI will be, and if a lawyer is really needed. Don't panic; we are here to answer all of your questions and make sure you have all the information you need. The most important thing to do is to take the time to pick the right attorney. Whether you plan to fight your case or enter into the most favorable plea-bargain, you need to be represented by someone who knows the court system in Sandy Springs and Fulton County. You need act now to make sure your rights are protected. Remember, you know you only have thirty business days after a DUI arrest to file a motion to keep your driver's license until your trial!
Sandy Springs DUI Lawyer Richard Lawson has been practicing DUI law for over 20 years and will do everything in his power to help you keep your license and fight your Sandy Springs DUI charges. Sandy Springs DUI Lawyer Richard Lawson is a Former DUI Prosecutor in Georgia devoted to DUI Defense in Georgia. The attorneys at his office dedicate their lives to DUI Defense and related offenses. We are the premiere DUI Defense firm in Georgia.
Our firm specializes in DUI charges in Sandy Springs and knows the ins and outs of the DUI system. Best of all, we are available 24/7 for a free consultation and will start advising you on your case immediately! In fact we only handle DUI Cases and are Georgia's premier DUI Defense practice. You can read our reviews on AVVO and Yahoo.An arrest for DUI in Sandy Springs does not mean you are guilty.
You only have thirty business days for your Sandy Springs DUI Lawyer to file an appeal of your drivers license suspension. Otherwise, you are facing up to a year without your drivers license. Act now to prevent this automatic license suspension. Have your Sandy Springs DUI Attorney file for your ALS Hearing today. There is hope. Hire the top-rated Sandy Springs DUI Lawyers at our office. A DUI Lawyer in Sandy Springs GA can help you avoid a 12-month suspension of your drivers license.
Sandy Springs Court Process for DUI Cases:
The Sandy Springs Municipal Court adjudicates cases involving misdemeanor, traffic, and local ordinance violations that occur within its city limits and all alleged violations of Sandy Springs environmental, building, and development codes. Misdemeanor DUI offenses are also handled by this court.
The Sandy Springs Municipal Court has a specific process for handling DUI cases. All defendants must appear on the court date listed on the citation issued by the arresting officer. Upon the filing of an entry of appearance by an attorney, the appearance of the defendant can be waived up and until the final plea date. This saves the client's time and resources, as there is no reason to attend unnecessary court appearances when your Sandy Springs DUI Attorney can be there on your behalf.
Your first appearance in court will be your arraignment. The docket will be called at the beginning of the court session and when the judge calls your name, you are expected to announce that you are present and state the plea you will be entering. You can enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or nolo contendere (“no contest”) or you can ask for a pretrial conference with the prosecutor. A nolo contendere plea is discretionary and does not have to be accepted by the judge.
Also at arraignment, if you have not hired an attorney you may be interviewed by the judge to see if you qualify under federal guidelines to have an attorney appointed to represent your case. If you plead guilty or nolo contendere, your case will be resolved that day and you will be sentenced on the charges. If you plead not guilty, your case will be scheduled for a bench trial date in Sandy Springs or will be transferred to the Fulton County State Court for a jury trial. As mentioned throughout this website, our office strongly discourages anyone from selecting a bench trial. It is the policy of our office to only have jury trials.
Defendants are allowed one courtesy continuance for offenses that are not “must appear” offenses. Must appear offenses require defendants to go before a judge to resolve their case and include alcohol and drug charges, no insurance, and other traffic offenses that could potentially suspend the defendant's driver's license if convicted. If you do wish to hire an attorney you will be given a new court date to allow you time to do so. It is unlikely you would get a second continuance, so hire your Sandy Springs DUI Lawyer as soon as possible.
It will be necessary to obtain copies of the accident or incident reports and video of the arrest from the arresting agency. If you were arrested by a Georgia Department of Public Safety officer, you will have to contact their open records department to request and receive these records. The DUI Task Force Nighthawk Unit vehicles are equipped with video equipment and record the driver's interaction with the trooper leading up to the arrest. Videos from DPS can only be received with the consent of the court. Records for arrests made by the Sandy Springs Police Department can be requested through open records at the 7840 Roswell Road location.
Once all of the evidence has been received and reviewed, your attorney will be better suited to negotiate a plea in your case with the prosecuting attorney. A plea recommendation may include a period of probation, payment of a fine, community service, driving courses, alcohol or drug treatment, or jail time. If you are charged with DUI, your attorney may speak with the prosecutor prior to court to negotiate a reduction of the charge. The prosecutor will generally ask that the officer is consulted and approves the reduction as well.
If you do not live in Georgia, your attorney may be able to resolve your case with a Plea in Absentia if allowed by the judge and consented to by the Prosecutor, which allows you to resolve your case without personally appearing in court. A plea in absentia is a document that states the terms of the plea and that you acknowledge that you are waiving certain rights by entering the plea and their may be certain consequences as a result of the conviction. You do not have a right to a plea in absentia. Ultimately a judge can require your appearance. However, our office is generally successful in getting the court to allow a plea without your appearance.
If an acceptable plea bargain cannot be reached with the prosecutor you will have to decide whether to proceed with a trial in the case. You can request the case be transferred to the State Court of Fulton County for a jury trial or waive your right to a jury trial and a bench trial (trial by judge) will be scheduled for a later date. Trials are not held on arraignment dates so that the parties will have time to arrange for witnesses to be subpoenaed to testify, including the arresting officer.
You can request a civil hearing regarding your administrative license suspension if you are charged with DUI. This is in addition to your criminal case in Sandy Springs Municipal Court and the results of the hearing may influence your decisions on how to proceed. The Department of Driver Services can suspend your Georgia driver's license or privilege to drive in this state if you refuse to take a state-administered test or if the results of a state-administered test show a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 grams percent or more. The suspension is for a 12-month period beginning thirty days after your arrest. If you file an appeal within thirty business days, a hearing will be scheduled and the suspension will not go into effect until that hearing date. Judge Ana Kennedy presides over these hearings at the Roswell Municipal Court on the second Friday of every month at 9:00 am.
The hearing only covers the following limited issues:
- Whether the officer had reasonable grounds to believe the person was operating or in actual physical control of a moving motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance and was lawfully placed under arrest for DUI; or
- Whether the person was involved in a motor vehicle accident or collision resulting in serious injury or fatality; and
- Whether the officer informed the person of his or her implied consent rights at the time a test was requested; and
- Whether the person refused the test; or
- Whether a test was administered and the results indicated a BAC of 0.08 grams or more or, if the person is under the age of 21, a blood alcohol concentration of 0.02 grams or more or, if the person was driving a commercial vehicle, a blood alcohol concentration of 0.04 grams or more; and
- Whether the test was properly administered
Sentencing for a DUI Conviction in Sandy Springs Can be Steep
The consequences for DUI can be severe, especially if you go to court unprepared. You may face jail time, probation, hefty fines, loss of license, community service, mandatory substance abuse counseling, and more. Even if it is your first DUI, you could still get jail time without experienced legal representation to help you. The reason for this is that judges and prosecutors in Sandy Springs want to discourage drinking and driving. One of the ways they do that is by cracking down on offenders and pushing for the maximum penalties. A knowledgeable DUI lawyer from the Law Office of Richard Lawson will work tirelessly to build your defense and get you your best results.
What Can a Sandy Springs, GA Lawyer Do for You?
Your experienced Sandy Springs DUI lawyer will be there to help you every step of the way starting with helping you keep your driver's license before your trial begins. You have thirty days after your arrest to file an appeal letter that will stop your license from being automatically suspended. If this is not filed within the thirty business day period, you will not be able to drive until your court date or even later if you are convicted. It is important to hire a lawyer as soon as you are charged with DUI in order to avoid losing your license. A DUI lawyer can also answer a lot of your questions about the process and ease your fears. They will advise you what to do every step of the way and will work with you to build a strong defense. Our case results show what we can do for you.
Every DUI has Related Offenses, usually the reason for which a person is pulled over - We are here to help:
In addition to DUI charges, we also have a long history of helping clients charged with probation violations, underage possession and other drug related offenses. The key is to hire a Sandy Springs DUI Attorney to help today. These related offenses can also include speeding, failure to maintain lane, following too closely, reckless driving, fleeing and eluding, racing, hot run, striking a fixed object, leaving the scene of an accident, suspended license, striking a fixed object, possession of alcohol my a minor (MIP), and possession of marijuana. Our Sandy Springs DUI Attorneys are here to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This included weekends and holidays.
It is important to hire a lawyer familiar with DUI cases in the area where you are arrested. The procedures in Sandy Springs are different than the procedures in other jurisdictions. Having a Sandy Springs DUI Attorney that knows the court procedures, the prosecutors, the judges, and even the police officers can make all the difference in your DUI Case in Sandy Springs Georgia.
PROBATION VIOLATIONS IN SANDY SPRINGS
In addition to DUI defense, we also have expertise in representing probation violators in Sandy Springs, GA. If you are on probation in Sandy Springs and you are charged with any type of crime, fail a random drug test or alcohol screening, or if you fall behind in adhering to the terms of your probation, you should speak with a Sandy Springs DUI Lawyer immediately. Our office of Sandy Springs DUI Attorneys is here to help everyday.
Any of these examples could lead your probation officer to report that you are not following your probation and issue a warrant for your arrest. Even if you are late on your payments or behind on your community service or counseling because of work or family problems, you could still get your probation revoked. A Sandy Springs DUI Attorney can help. We will prepare your case at our Sandy Springs office.
If you are arrested for a probation violation and you do not have a knowledge lawyer, you could have to wait in jail for several weeks until you can see a judge. Getting an experienced probation violation lawyer will increase your chances of getting out of jail quickly and getting a positive outcome for your violation. If you have been charged with a violation of probation in Sandy Springs or think you may be charged in the near future, call the Law Offices of Richard S. Lawson today. You will speak to an experienced lawyer who will answer your questions and advise you what to do next.
MINOR IN POSSESSION OF ALCOHOL (MIP) and OTHER ALCOHOL and DRUG RELATED OFFENSES
If you are under the age of 21 and are caught with alcohol in Sandy Springs, GA you will be charged with Minor in Possession of alcohol or what is commonly called MIP. This is made even worse if you were driving. Sandy Springs police will charge you with MIP even if you are found with just a small amount of alcohol. It is important you consult with a lawyer right away if you are charged. A MIP charge may seem minor, but a conviction can stay of your driving record forever and may cause you to lose your license. You may have to pay higher insurance rates and even lose out on career and educational opportunities in the future.
If you have been charged with Minor in Possession or other offenses such as providing alcohol to minors, open container violations or possession of marijuana or other drugs in Sandy Springs, call the Law Offices of Richard S. Lawson today. These charges may not seem serious but can carry some hefty consequences if you're convicted. For example, a drug possession conviction can lead to your license being suspended even if you were not driving at the time of your arrest. If you are charged with any of these crimes, our experienced Sandy Springs attorneys can help.
What are the Penalties for DUI Conviction in Sandy Springs?
For a first DUI offense in Sandy Springs the maximum penalties include: 12 months in jail, $1,000 in fines, 12 months of license suspension, 12 months of probation, and up to 40 hours of community service. You could also be ordered to attend safe driving classes, alcohol safety classes, or substance abuse treatment. The penalties for a second dui in Sandy Springs and a third DUI in Sandy Springs are more severe. They can include serious jail-time and a long suspension of your drivers license without any permit to drive.
All of these penalties will cost you time and money and can interfere with work and school. A DUI conviction on your record may have an adverse affect on you in other ways too. It is important to have a DUI lawyer who knows the field well and can work to get your charges reduced or thrown out. In many cases we are able to do this or get a plea bargain that you find acceptable. In cases of even a first time DUI, it is not a good idea to go to trial unprepared, you may get sentenced with penalties that many find to be more severe then necessary.
How Will My Sandy Springs DUI Lawyer Defend my Case?
A professional Sandy Springs DUI lawyer will work to get your case dismissed or your charges reduced by building a strong defense. They do this by looking for errors that may have been made during your arrest. These can be anything from not following protocol, to racial profiling to illegal searches. In some cases, the defense is so strong the judge will throw the charges out and you will be completely clear. Other times, the prosecution may decide to lower the charges to something more likely to get a conviction, such as reckless driving.
Although reckless driving is still a serious crime, it does not carry with it the penalties and stigma that DUI does. If the prosecution does not reduce the charges, they might instead offer a plea bargain. A plea bargain is when the prosecution lays out what sentence you will receive in exchange for bypassing a trial and pleading guilty. Plea bargains are a good thing in that they save you the expense and energy needed for a trial and you know what the outcome is going to be. If you are charged with DUI in Sandy Springs, call our lawyers today so they can begin to build your defense by looking for mistakes or violations of your rights.
THE DUI STOP
Your Sandy Springs DUI lawyer will go over your entire DUI arrest in order to look for possible defenses. The first thing they will look at are the evens of your traffic stop. You can be stopped by either a police checkpoint or pulled over by a police officer. Police need a valid reason to pull you over like failure to maintain lane, speeding, burnt out headlight, etc. Police cannot pull you over simply because they saw you leaving a bar late on a Friday night. Similarity, if you are stopped by a roadside checkpoint, it must be a legal checkpoint that was arranged by filing paperwork and announced to the general public.
They must stop cars at random with no evidence of profiling. Once you are stopped, the police will need to have cause to suspect DUI such as a noticeable smell of drugs or alcohol, slurred speech, open container or visible drugs in the car. The police will then ask you if you have been drinking or using drugs. You do not have to answer their question but they will most likely ask you to take a field sobriety or blood alcohol content (BAC) test. If you are pulled over for an unknown reason or the police did not have a cause to suspect you were under the influence, this will be used by your Sandy Springs DUI attorney to defend your case.
There are 2 forms of sobriety tests Sandy Springs police will ask you to perform if they suspect you are driving under the influence. The first is a field sobriety test. These tests are generally what you think of when you think about sobriety tests. The officer can ask you to walk a straight line, stand on one foot, recite the alphabet backwards, etc. It is important to know that you can legally decline taking these tests and you do not have to give them a reason. The second form of sobriety test is a blood alcohol content (BAC) test. These can be either breath, urine or blood tests and are much more accurate at determining alcohol impairment.
The results of a BAC test will be the strongest evidence against you in your case. If your blood alcohol level is found to be over the legal limit (.08), it will be hard to refute. In some cases the driver will also refuse to take a BAC test. There is no law in Sandy Springs stating you have to take a BAC test however, there is an implied consent clause in your Georgia driver's license that you will take a BAC test whenever asked by police or you forfeit your license for up to a year. Basically, even if you have zero alcohol in your system, if your refuse to take a BAC test you will automatically lose your driver's license in Sandy Springs, GA.
BUILDING YOUR SANDY SPRINGS GA DUI DEFENSE
As you may know by now, a DUI conviction in Sandy Springs can carry a lot of serious penalties such as jail time, $1000 fines, lengthy probation, driving school and more. All of these can have a serious impact on your work and school life. If you are convicted for a 2nd or 3rd DUI, the penalties go up and the chances of being charged with a felony increase. The best way to obtain a positive outcome in your case is to have a strong defense. We will prepare you and your case at our office in Sandy Springs Georgia.
As soon as you call our Sandy Springs DUI attorneys, we will start working on your defense. In the past our lawyers have had success by looking for mistakes made during your arrest. For example, were you pulled over for a reason? Was the checkpoint legal and adherent to protocol? Was there any profiling or violation of rights during the stop? If the police searched your car without your permission or failed to read you your rights, your lawyer may be able to get the case thrown out.
In cases with drug related DUI, it can be hard for the prosecution to prove you were intoxicated to the point of impairment. Since there is no scientifically proven data on how drugs effect your driving, it can be hard to prove that you were actually impaired.
Since the strongest evidence the prosecution has against you is usually the results from your sobriety test, your lawyer may present evidence and, in some cases, professional witnesses to show the jury how results obtained are sometimes taken in error. For example breathalyzer tests are sometimes taken incorrectly and police are not trained to use them properly.
Will I Have to Go to Trial?
When you are arrested for DUI in Sandy Springs, GA, you are brought immediately to jail. After a few hours you will be able to leave on bond. A bond is a set amount of money that is paid to the court that will be refunded when you appear for your arraignment. You can pay cash for a bond or you can get a loan through a bondsman. After returning home, you should contact an experienced DUI attorney right away. This is a good way to get your questions answered and to make sure your license is not lost. Your DUI lawyer will go to work for you right away, filing paperwork to stop your license from being suspended and working on a defense. You will explain to your lawyer exactly what happened and then look for defenses or violations of your rights that may have occurred.
The Next Step is to Wait for your Arraignment Hearing
An arraignment is when you appear in front of the judge and plead ‘guilty' or ‘not guilty'. Even if you plan on pleading ‘guilty', your lawyer may advise you to plea ‘not guilty' at the arraignment. You can always change your plea and this gives you more time to think about your case and to gain access to what evidence the prosecution has against you. If you plea ‘not guilty', you will prepare to go to trial. The prosecution may then offer you a plea bargain in which you will change your plea to ‘guilty' in exchange for avoiding court and accepting a negotiated punishment. In some cases this can be very beneficial to you.
Only an experienced DUI lawyer in Sandy Springs will be able to advise you if the offer is fair. They will also be able to negotiate with prosecution on your behalf to get your charges reduced or you plea bargain sentence lightened. If you decide not to take the plea bargain, or one is not offered, you will move to trial. In Sandy Springs you are entitled to a trial by 6 person jury. It will be up to the prosecutor to prove your guilt to the jury beyond a reasonable doubt. This is when having a strong defense will come in handy.
Your Sandy Springs DUI Attorney will present to the jury any errors the police may have made and in some cases bring in professional witnesses (expert witnesses) to testify on your behalf. If you or someone you know has been charged with DUI in Sandy Springs, GA call the Law Office of Richard Lawson today. Remember that every day counts and call us right away for a free consultation. You deserve the best DUI attorney in Sandy Springs to handle your case. The best Sandy Springs DUI Lawyer is here to help you.
There Is Hope If Charged With DUI IN Sandy Springs
Sandy Springs DUI Lawyer Richard Lawson is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Get started today with your best DUI Defense in Sandy Springs. Call Now! Our office in Sandy Springs Georgia is available nights, weekends, and holidays because your problems do not happen at convenient times. Hire a DUI Lawyer in Sandy Springs GA today. We will not stop until your best defense is presented. Our Sandy Springs DUI Lawyers are here to help. Our Sandy Springs DUI Attorneys are ready 24 hours a day. Contact a DUI Lawyer in Sandy Springs now.
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