What to do after a DUI arrest?
By Michael D. Barber, Georgia Lawyer specializing in DUI, Drug Charges & Criminal Defense
For the most part, many people reach unfamiliar territory when it comes to a DUI. The next steps become a barrage of hyper inflated information from all directions. Flyers come in the mail along with a crazy amount of information on the internet regarding your recent DUI arrest. The next steps are fairly important as it will determine how your case is handled over the next several months.
Selection of your Attorney to represent will begin once you are released from Jail. Selecting a attorney should really depend on several factors, such as how easy is it to talk with the attorney. Generally, if you are speaking with an attorney and they seem rushed or uninterested in what you are saying, that may be how the rest of the experience ends up as well. Your attorney should be easy to speak with and the staff should be pleasant as well. This isn’t to say that every conversation will be exemplary but you should not feel embarrassed or preparing for a fight on each phone call.
One question that we are always asked is how long will this DUI process take? The answer really depends on where you received your DUI charges, as in which police department wrote the citation and where you will go for court. For instance if you were arrested for a:
- Atlanta DUI, Sandy Springs DUI, Milton DUI, Roswell DUI, Johns Creek DUI – These are all Municipal courts and this generally means that your court process can take anywhere from one to 6 months for the criminal portion of your case. On rare occasions they can take longer, but as it is a municipal court, the court system tries to usher these cases along in case litigation leads to State Court. The state court that handles these cases would be Fulton County. Atlanta, however is the exception as it’s court can transfer cases to both Fulton and DeKalb County.
- Fulton County DUI – If charged by Fulton County Sherriff this case would start in State Court and depending on which courtroom your case is assigned. Some courtrooms the case can take 2+ years, others try to wrap these cases up in under 2 years. The entire time this is going on, however, you will need to be litigating your case with the solicitor’s office of Fulton county.
- Decatur DUI, Dunwoody DUI, Avondale Estates DUI – These are all Municipal courts and this generally means that your court process can take anywhere from one to 6 months for the criminal portion of your case. On rare occasions they can take longer, but as it is a municipal court, the court system tries to usher these cases along in case litigation leads to State Court. The state court that handles these cases would be DeKalb County.
- DeKalb County DUI – This one originates from a county with a recorders court for traffic citations, HOWEVER the DUI should not be assigned to that court. If it is assigned it will extend out the timing on your litigation as DeKalb Does not allow their lower court to litigate these types of traffic offenses anymore. The date on the bottom of the citation is irrelevant, once released from jail, as a part of the documents you are given, you will have a piece of paper that serves as your notice to appear, which will have a date on it for your first appearance in DeKalb County State Court. After the first court date, DeKalb County generally tries to wrap up these cases in 6-9 months.
- Smyrna DUI, Marietta DUI – These are all Municipal courts and this generally means that your court process can take anywhere from one to 6 months for the criminal portion of your case. On rare occasions they can take longer, but as it is a municipal court, the court system tries to usher these cases along in case litigation leads to State Court. The state court that handles these cases would be Cobb County.
- Cobb County DUI – Cobb is similar to Clayton County as well. Cobb County also has a schedule that they try to follow and while it’s generally the same in each courtroom, it does depend on which court your case is assigned. This timeline generally starts with the date given on the bottom portion of your citation. After that date they attempt to wrap up the DUI charges within 2-5 months.
- Gwinnett County DUI – This one originates from a county with a recorders court. Generally this can take anywhere from 6 months to one year and then if it is bound over or sent to State Court the process can start all over again. Although they do generally try to push these cases along sometimes issues come up which can prolong the state court case.
- Clayton County DUI – Clayton is a little odd as they typically have a schedule that they try to follow. This timeline generally starts with the date given on the bottom portion of your citation. After that date they attempt to wrap up the DUI charges within 3-4 months.
Once you are released from jail with your paperwork showing where and when you will need to appear, you need to figure out if it will be necessary to save your license. In Georgia, when if a driver is arrested for DUI the officer is required to take the driving permit and issue a 1205 form. This form is the officers notice and intention to suspend your driving privileges. You can stop the suspension and receive a civil hearing on the matter by making sure to file a 30 day letter which will notice the court you intend to stop the automatic suspension of your driving privleges.
The remainder of the case involves litigation of your case which will entail making sure that you file the appropriate discovery motions so that you receive all of the information you need from your case. Generally attorneys refer to this information as evidence. What you are trying to get is the evidence that the prosecution/solicitor’s office will use to try and get a conviction on your case (the evidence that will be used against you). This is important because this information will detail the plan and course for your case.
Once the discovery is received your attorney will then formulate a defense strategy on where your case should go next. If the discovery leads to Motions hearings, the attorney will need to assure that the proper motions have been filed so that you can have a motions hearing. These hearings can be important as they are used to suppress evidence. If evidence gets suppressed then the solicitor has no evidence to get a conviction on your case. Sometimes that will lead to a dismissal of your case or a reduction.
Every DUI is NOT the same. If you have been accused by the police of driving under the influence then you need help from a trained DUI attorney. Should YOU find that you either don’t want to face the court alone or simply feel that you need help from an attorney then give our office a call regarding your citations. There are facts to every case where defenses can be raised for anyone charged with driving under the influence. Each situation is different from the other and requires a evaluation of all the information in order to properly mount a defense and a effective negotiation with the prosecutor’s office.
Remember that every DUI case is different because not two sets of facts are the same. Application of the proper case law and statutes to your situation would take examination of the facts surrounding your case and applying this case law properly to create a properly mounted defense for YOUR arrest.
Michael D. Barber & Associates has a 24 hour respons line and can answer your questions and help you. Give our team of DUI defense lawyers a call at 404-445-8494. We can help you mount a proper defense for your situation.