Were you arrested for DUI in Alpharetta?
Located in North Fulton County, the city of Alpharetta is home to good restaurants, fun bars and pubs and boasts many well-known businesses and great venues like the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park. Over the past few decades Alpharetta has since explosive growth in its population. With an affluent and well-educated suburban population of about 62,000 people and being situated along some heavily-trafficked roads like Georgia 400, Highway 9, Haynes Bridge Road, Old Milton Parkway, North Point Parkway and Windward Parkway, the Alpharetta Police Department makes a lot of DUI arrests. The mayor and the city council has identified DUI as a top priority for the police. Officers on traffic patrol are strongly encouraged to make DUI arrests.
Add to this the many hotels in Alpharetta (Hilton, Marriott, Hyatt all have offerings in Alpharetta) that serve the residential and business community (Alpharetta calls itself "The Technology City of the South") and its close proximity to the city of Atlanta, and there is frequently a heavy docket at the Alpharetta Municipal Court. DUI enforcement, of course, is governed by Georgia state law, not the Alpharetta city code. And like all cities throughout Georgia, Alpharetta handles DUI in its own way, with many of its own procedures.
The Police Officer is Always Searching for Clues
If a driver in Alpharetta, Georgia is stopped by a police officer who suspects that the driver has been drinking or using drugs (that includes prescription drugs that you can legally possess and take as well as illegal drugs like marijuana, cocaine, meth & heroin), the officer will usually speak to the driver to try to determine if the driver has been drinking or is impaired by drugs. The Alpharetta police officer will try to smell alcohol on the driver and look for other signs of impairment, like bloodshot eyes, slurred speech and disorientation. Of course the cop will look closely to see if you fumble when searching for your license or car registration. The police will be looking at your passengers, if any, to see if they appear intoxicated. If passengers are drunk, cops think there is a good chance that the driver will have consumed alcohol too. The police officer is always searching for clues of intoxication.
Don't Answer "Trick" Questions
The officer will often ask the driver where the driver is going or coming from, and if the driver has had anything to drink. The police officer is doing this so he can gather evidence that he can use against you to charge you with DUI. If the officer can get you to incriminate yourself with certain statements (such as admitting you were drinking with friends at a bar, club, restaurant, concert or sporting event), which he can legally do according to the United States Supreme Court, that makes it easier for him to make a compelling case for DUI. After the initial questioning, the Alpharetta police officer will then ask the driver to exit the car and perform field sobriety tests.
Alpharetta Police Administer DUI Field Sobriety Tests
Developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a federal government agency and part of the United States Department of Transportation, field sobriety tests are a series of physical exercises that police officers ask DUI suspects to perform. The tests are voluntary, not mandatory. In other words, you can decline to take them. In many ways, the tests are designed so that the suspect fails. This is chiefly because the exercises are graded by the police officer. And a police officer looking to make a DUI arrest will tend to grade the driver very strictly so that it appears that the driver has failed the tests. If the field sobriety tests are captured on videotape, then the video may back-up the officer's version of events.
If the Alpharetta police officer believes that the driver is impaired, he or she will be arrested for DUI and will be transported to the Alpharetta jail, where the suspect usually calls a bail bond company, family member or friend to bond out of jail. The bond amount should be returned to whomever posted it when the case is closed.
The only three tests recognized by the court as being accurate (and therefore admissible) are:
- 1) A test of your eyes -- the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus or HGN
- 2) A test of your ability to walk a straight line -- the Walk and Turn test
- 3) A test of your balance -- the One Leg Stand Test
Alpharetta DUI Information - Who is the Prosecutor? Who is the Judge?
When a person is arrested for DUI in Alpharetta, GA their criminal case will be filed in the City of Alpharetta Municipal Court (arrests made within the city limits by Georgia State Troopers will also be filed in the Alpharetta Municipal Court). The address of the Alpharetta Municipal Court, located in the Crabapple area, is 12624 Broadwell Rd, Alpharetta, GA 30004; the phone number for the court is (678) 297-6250.
Fran Shoenthal is the court solicitor (the city's prosecutor). She was appointed solicitor by the City Council. The court services director / clerk of court is Elizabeth Sahlin.
Jim Matoney, a former longtime city councilmember, is the Alpharetta city judge, although other judges will fill-in from time to time when needed. Judge Matoney was appointed judge by the City Council.
Payments for fines are accepted at the court clerk's office. The court will accept cash (but only in person). The court does not accept counter checks or out of state money orders. If you pay in-person, the court will accept Visa, MasterCard or American Express.
The phone number of the Alpharetta jail is 404-612-3432 or 3434.
We Are Experienced Alpharetta DUI Attorneys
It is very important for a person arrested for an Alpharetta DUI to immediately consult with an experienced attorney who knows the specifics about the Alpharetta court system. After a DUI arrest, you need attorneys who know how the system truly works and who the key personnel are. The attorneys at the Sherman Law Group offer years of experience representing people accused of an Alpharetta DUI. Attorney William H. Sherman has served as a Senior Assistant County Attorney and as an Assistant Attorney General. Attorney Valerie W. Sherman has served as a Magistrate Judge and as an Assistant County Attorney. They appear frequently in the Alpharetta Municipal Court. Let them use their experience, knowledge and skills to help you.
An Alpharetta DUI Impacts Your Driver's License
An Alpharetta DUI arrest can also trigger a driver's license suspension. If you are arrested for DUI in Georgia, and if your breath or blood alcohol registers over .08 within three hours of driving, or you refuse a state administered chemical test of your blood, breath or urine, Georgia DUI law requires that you be issued a Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS) Form 1205. The DDS Form 1205 acts as a 30-day temporary driver's license (even for people who have an out-of-state driver's license), but it is also an official notice of intention to suspend your driver's license, as the arresting officer has sworn on the 1205 form that he or she had reasonable grounds to arrest you for DUI. Interestingly, even if you have an out-of-state driver's license (that is a driver's license issued by another state other than Georgia), the Georgia 1205 will now become your official driver's license.
What Was on that Card the Officer Read?: Implied Consent
Clients often ask us about the card that the officer read to them. That is known as "implied consent." If you drive in Georgia, you are presumed under law to have consented to a breath, blood or urine test upon a lawful arrest. Basically, this law provides that you impliedly agree to take a breath test when arrested for DUI. If you refuse the test, you will lose your license.
Mood Can Affect How You React to Alcohol
We hear from many clients that they can react to the same amount of alcohol in very different ways depending on the circumstances. People going through different life challenges can react differently to alcohol than when they were not impacted by those challenges. For instance, a person dealing with a divorce, financial issues or having a rough time at work can react in a very different manner than when those issues were not occurring.
Alcohol is a depressant, but a slight improvement in mood occurs at a BAC of approximately .03-.05. At about a .06, however, an individual's mood begins to show signs of deterioration. Negative feelings or feelings of anxiety will become enhanced. Physiologically, feelings of anger, stress or anxiety often cause a change in the enzymes in the stomach that impacts how alcohol is processed.
Don't I have the right to speak with a lawyer before deciding to take the breath or blood test?
Unfortunately, not in Georgia. Once the officer has read to you the Implied Consent card, you are required to promptly say "yes" to the requested test.
While you may want to ask for clarification of the information on the implied consent card, or simply a question or two about your rights, anything other than a "yes" answer to the requested test may be taken as a refusal. This may also include remaining silent.
Can I choose my own test?
Under the Georgia Implied Consent Law, a law enforcement officer may choose the first test that you must take, either a breath test, blood test or urine test. You cannot select that test yourself. If you attempt to specify the test you want to take, the officer may take that as a refusal.
Some people just don't like blood tests. They might be scared of needles or be afraid of catching a disease. But you have no legal right to object to a blood test on the grounds that you have a fear of needles.
But once you take the test that the officer requests that you take, you may then take an alternative test that you request. The officer is required to provide you with a reasonable opportunity to arrange for your own test.
How can I be convicted of a DUI if there is no breath or blood test result?
A DUI conviction may be obtained based on any combination of the evidence. Evidence includes your driving, the officer's observations of your speech, demeanor and conduct; and your performance on field sobriety tests. Witnesses can also testify as to your driving, demeanor and conduct.
Also, if you refused to submit to the breath or blood test, the jury will be told that they may consider the fact of your refusal as evidence that you knew you were guilty or had something to hide. This is how a refusal can hurt you.
You Need to Act to Save Your Driver's License
Alpharetta DUI Attorneys: You Need An Assessment Of Your Case
A professional assessment of your situation is critical if you've been arrested for DUI. With our experience we can analyze your case and tell you the "pros" and "cons" of different strategies and tactics -- what the prosecutors are thinking and what options you have. The best DUI lawyers are able to discuss how an arrest impacts your driver's license and what possible punishments can be, including probation, jail, community service, DUI school and other possibilities. A public defender may not tell you all of your options.
Call Us Now To Help You With Your Alpharetta, GA DUI Matter
Our experience is key for you. Having been appointed a Senior Assistant County Attorney and an Assistant Attorney General, William H. Sherman knows how prosecutors think and do their jobs -- he was one of them. That knowledge is critical for you to get the best outcome possible. Attorney Valerie W. Sherman, a veteran Magistrate Judge and Assistant County Attorney, brings years of trial experience to benefit clients.
The attorneys at the Sherman Law Group offer a free initial consultation to anyone accused of an Alpharetta DUI. If you have been arrested, contact us immediately. The attorneys can be directly reached 7 days a week at 678-215-4106.