You can’t have a jury trial in a municipal court in the state of Georgia. And Sandy Springs is no exception. By law, jury trials can only be held in state courts and superior courts. If you want a jury trial you will have to “bind-over” the case to Fulton County State Court, which is in Atlanta. The reason the case would be sent to the Fulton State Court is because Sandy Springs is a city located in Fulton County.
If you are convicted of or plead guilty to a DUI charge in the state of Georgia, the relevant DUI statute, O.C.G.A § 40-6-391, requires “a period of probation of 12 months less any days during which the person is actually incarcerated.” However, it’s possible that the probation can become non-reporting once you have completed all of the conditions of your sentence. Some of the conditions of your sentence can include a risk reduction course and community service, among other things.
DUI charges in Gwinnett County are handled in many courts. Gwinnett County has municipal courts, also known as city courts, along with a state court and a superior court. Gwinnett County also has a Recorder’s Court.
You can get a DUI simply from the use of legal prescription medications. In fact, it is becoming more and more common. As more people utilize prescription drugs for various physical and mental diagnoses, we are seeing more arrests being made for DUI-drugs. Oftentimes if a police officer suspects that a driver is under the influence of drugs, they will request a blood test. And the results of the blood test will be of great importance to a DUI-drugs charge.
It’s quite common for people to feel a cop was mean to them and was dishonest in some way, particularly when the interaction ends with a DUI arrest. Most police officers, in our experience, are well-trained and professional, but like all professions and careers, there are exceptions. It's not illegal in many circumstances for a cop to lie. As a Sandy Springs DUI lawyer, we analyze your case to determine if the police officer crossed any legal lines.
Failure to maintain lane is a common reason to be stopped by a police officer. The Georgia law for failure to maintain lane is O.C.G.A. 40-6-48. In evaluating whether a stop for failure to maintain lane was proper, we would like to know if the police officer has a video of it. Many DUI arrests involve a failure to maintain lane stop.
Before we assess your “chances in court” when facing a Dunwoody DUI, we’d certainly want to do some investigation. We’d want to scrutinize the police report and watch the video of the stop and arrest, if one exists. That’s a good way of determining what your best options are. Then we can determine what tactics and strategies to utilize in the Dunwoody Municipal Court.
The breath test administered on the street by a law enforcement officer is usually known as an Intoximeter, Alco-Sensor, Preliminary Breath Test (PBT), or Preliminary Alcohol Screening test (PAS). It's usually a hand-held device. An Intoxilyzer, however, is generally a larger machine than an Alco-Sensor and it is usually administered in a jail, at a police station, or at another law enforcement location. The Intoxilyzer test, unlike the Alco-sensor test, is admissible in a Georgia court for the specific alcohol reading.
The Gwinnett County Police, as part of one of their Special Operations Sections, have a DUI Task Force. As the name implies, the Task Force’s goal is the enforcement of DUI laws and to make DUI arrests. More and more we’re seeing that if a driver refuses a breath test, the Task Force members are getting warrants from a judge allowing a blood draw. Blood tests are considered to be the most accurate measure of a person’s alcohol level. Under Georgia law a police officer, deputy sheriff, or state trooper can make a warrant application to a judge, and if the judge signs-off, then the law enforcement official can force the driver submit to a blood test.
It certainly doesn’t hurt her if we tell the prosecutor that she rarely drinks. The same is true for the marijuana possession charge. The question, at first, at least, is whether there exists evidence for a criminal charge. If there is not enough evidence, the charge can be dropped. If there is evidence, then the question for a criminal defense lawyer is how to best handle the matter so that the client gets the best possible outcome under all the circumstances.
Traditionally, many people feel that a shower “sobers” someone up. In movies and in books it is common for a character to take a shower to help regain sobriety. However, taking a shower does not actually “sober” someone up in the technical sense of lowering their blood-alcohol concentration. A hot shower or a cold shower does not have an effect on alcohol that has been ingested into your body.
Under Georgia law, each subsequent DUI is punished more severely. So it comes as no surprise that a second DUI carries more severe ramifications than a first DUI, and a sentence for a third DUI is yet sterner. Interestingly, because Georgia is composed of many counties and cities, each entity has a wide range of latitude to craft its own sentences. Each county and municipal court can vary slightly (or sometimes not so slightly) in how it sentences for DUI. Sentence conditions like jail time, community service, fines, and probationary period can vary between jurisdictions even for the exact same charge.
In Dunwoody, like most other courts, you can pay any court-imposed fines and fees over a span of time, usually over a number of months. It would be rare for a court to expect the full payment of fines at one time in a lump sum. Interestingly, under Georgia DUI law, courts can impose a range of fines. One Georgia court might actually impose a fine that is twice as much as another court. And both fines are perfectly legal.
The city of Sandy Springs has its own municipal court that handles a variety of charges under Georgia state law, including traffic and DUI charges, as well as local ordinance violations. The prosecutors are led by Bill Riley, whose law firm acts as solicitors for the city. Mr. Riley is also the prosecutor in other jurisdictions. Since Sandy Springs is in Fulton County, if the case can’t be resolved in the municipal court, then it can be sent to the State Court of Fulton County. Jury trials not available in municipal courts in Georgia, so if a jury trial is requested, it must be sent to the state court in Atlanta. The address of the municipal court is: 7840 Roswell Rd, Atlanta, GA 30350.
Getting stopped for DUI in the morning on the way to work is actually not that uncommon. Many people drink alcohol at night and in the morning, since the body has not fully processed or metabolized all of the alcohol, they can still be inebriated. Sometimes they can still be very drunk the night before. On average, the liver can process 1 ounce of alcohol every hour, and it can be detected in the blood for hours (depending on the amount consumed), and in the urine for several days if a sensitive test is employed.
It is actually common for people to wake-up drunk after a night of heavy drinking. Being drunk in the morning simply means that your body has not processed all of the alcohol that was consumed the night before. Interestingly, alcohol is metabolized (broken down) by the body at a rate of 0.016% per hour. And if you are stopped by a police officer or state trooper, you can certainly be charged with DUI no matter what time it is.
It is becoming increasingly common for people to get stopped by the police and charged with a DUI when returning home after watching the Atlanta Braves play at the recently-built SunTrust Park.
Under Georgia law, you can be charged for and convicted of a DUI if you ingest any substance that makes you a less safe driver. This includes prescription medications, illegal drugs and, of course, alcohol. And if snorting chocolate causes someone to be a less safe driver, they can be charged with a DUI. Snorting chocolate is becoming increasingly popular. And it’s snorted, like cocaine, using fingernails, straws, or paper currency, among other methods. It’s being marketed as a dietary supplement and a major brand name is “Coco Loko.” As it gains popularity, there have been calls from politicians, including Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), for greater regulation.
Bipolar disorder affects around 3.5 percent of the population. A characteristic of bipolar disorder is extreme mood swings. Moods can swing from euphoric to severely depressed. Studies have demonstrated that drinking alcohol can often amplify these mood swings. Indeed, people who are diagnosed with bipolar disorder are more likely to struggle with the symptoms of alcohol misuse. About 45 percent of people with bipolar disorder also have an alcohol use disorder. And if you drink in excess, your risk of relapsing into a manic or depressive episode increases. In cases where bipolar or other mental issues are involved, it can often help a legal outcome if the prosecutor and judge are told that the disorder exists and that it’s being treated.
That your wife is a petite woman can certainly influence her ability to absorb and tolerate alcohol. And it may very well account for her poor performance on the field sobriety tests and on the breathalyzer. The enzyme that breaks down alcohol in the stomach is called dehydrogenase, and women have less of it than men. That can contribute to higher blood-alcohol concentrations in women than in men even if they have consumed the same amount of alcohol, or even if the man has consumed more alcohol than the woman. Another possible explanation is hormone levels, which affect the body’s ability to process alcohol. Because of this, many women will experience faster intoxication right before menstruation. Women also generally have a higher percentage of body fat and a lower percentage of water. And the less a person weighs, the more they will be affected by a given amount of alcohol.
You may have reasonable defenses to the DUI charge. And it is possible that the charge can be reduced from DUI to Reckless Driving; or that something egregious was done by the Roswell police and the charges will be completely dismissed. But the defenses you ask about will not help you. The fact that it was not nighttime will not help. A DUI can occur in the morning, afternoon or night. That you were “buzzed” is not a good defense. You don’t have to be “drunk” to get a DUI. Under Georgia DUI law, if you were a “less safe driver” because you drank alcohol, you can be charged and convicted of DUI. We’re happy no one was injured in the accident. But just because no one was injured is not going to assist your case. The fact that you got into an accident gave the police a valid reason to question you and that led to your arrest.
Officers in the state of Georgia are routinely “cross-sworn” between jurisdictions so that if they are pursuing a car they don’t have to stop at the city line. So it is very common for police officers in neighboring jurisdictions to be granted the ability to engage in pursuit of a vehicle between cities. This is actually a rather common question for a DUI lawyer.
Community service should be done at a legitimate charity, which is a not-for-profit. Only community service done at a charity is acceptable to the court, which will not accept any other community service. We’re glad you asked about volunteering at Goodwill. Goodwill is not accepted by the court because it is not a non-profit. To determine if a charity is non-profit and acceptable for the court, ask if the charity is a 501(c) (3), that’s the legal designation for a charitable organization. If it isn’t, find another place to perform community service.
We’ve handled many DUI cases for weekend warriors, the type of person who might not drink at all during the week, but on weekends they let loose, and that could mean consuming alcohol and possibly doing drugs. Unfortunately, the judge and prosecutor do not care if you think being weekend warrior is “cool.” They do not care if you only drink on the weekend. In fact, I recently saw a police advertising billboard on GA400 that has little but the quote, “I only did it for the weekend,” on it. This is a statement police officers and judges hear often. They hear it so much that hearing it can make them become annoyed and believe you are not taking responsibility for your actions.
Saying that you thought what you drank didn’t contain alcohol is not a good legal defense. Under Georgia law, it does not matter what you thought you drank or how much you drank. The law provides that if you are a “less safe driver” due to the ingestion of any substance, including alcohol and drugs, you can be convicted of DUI. So even if a person doesn’t realize that they drank alcohol, it doesn’t matter under the law. In your case, with a high blood-alcohol concentration (.176 and .172 are both over twice the legal limit), your explanation is unlikely to work because it is unlikely to be believed. It might be different, however, if your BAC (blood-alcohol concentration) was lower. In that case, if presented by a Forsyth County DUI lawyer in a proper context, a prosecutor and judge may have some sympathy for your situation.