Located in Gwinnett County, Georgia, the city of Duluth is home to the Arena at Gwinnett Center, many high-quality restaurants (especially ones featuring various ethnic cuisines), rock and country music concerts, and many things for families to do. It boasts that it is one of the top cities in the U.S., according to at least one national survey. The Duluth Police Department is aggressive when it comes to DUI. The police department makes mny DUI cases and most are heard in the Duluth Municipal Court.
Charles Lewis Barrett, III is the Chief Judge in the Duluth Municipal Court, and the solicitor is Russell T. Bryant, Esq.
The Court is located at:
3276 Buford Hwy
Duluth, GA 30096
The Traffic Stop: Why the officer pulled you over
It doesn't take much for an officer to pull over a vehicle. In fact, police can usually find a reason to make a stop. It can be for a relatively minor traffic violation such as speeding, driving below the speed limit, or rolling through a stop sign. We have even seen clients get pulled over just because their tag was not displayed clearly enough or a tag light was out.
The Traffic Stop:
Step One: Visual Assessment of Vehicle
Police officers want to find something incriminating. The officer is going to look around the vehicle to see if there is anything suspicious in plain view. He's looking for prescription medications, beer bottles or cans, liquor bottles, pipes, etc. This will give him an indication that you may have been driving under the influence.
Step 2: Brief Conversation: Watch What You Say
The officer will ask you open-ended questions about where you were coming from, where you were going, and so forth. He wants you to talk. He does this so you will be more inclined to give information rather than a simple yes or no. We see many clients admit they were coming from a bar or restaurant and that they had a drink or two. And we see clients admitting to taking medication or even smoking pot or shooting heroin.
Statements Can Cause Suspicion
If your answers to the questions about "where you were coming from" are a bar, club, or restaurant the officer will be suspicious that you were driving under the influence. He will then ask if you had anything to drink while you were there, what you were drinking, and how much you had.
Don't Admit To Drinking and Driving
Admitting to drinking will lead to officer to request field sobriety tests. We see many clients admit to drinking and will specify exactly what they were drinking, be it beer, gin, vodka, tequila or whiskey. The officer will use the information against you.
Step 3: Field Sobriety Tests for DUI
Although there are several field tests the officer can use, there are only 3 tests that are admissible in court. They are:
- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) -- tests for involuntary eye movements
- Walk and Turn -- tests the driver's ability to walk a straight line
- One Leg Stand -- tests a person's ability to balance on one foot
We believe these tests are designed to make a person seem intoxicated while they may be sober. Since they are graded at the officers' discretion they can make you look guilty. The officer will be grading a suspect very critically. We advise against taking sobriety tests, especially if you are injured. Since the tests are not required, you cannot be punished for refusing the field sobriety tests.
If your driver's license is issued by the state of Georgia, then you have signed the implied consent clause. Implied consent says that if you are being arrested for a DUI then you agree to allow the officer to request a blood, breath or urine test. If you refuse the state test, your license can be suspended.
How Can a Duluth, GA DUI Affect My Driver's License?
If you are arrested for DUI and your blood alcohol content registers over .08 within 3 hours of driving or you refuse a state administered chemical test of your blood, breath or urine, Georgia law requires the officer to issue a Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS) Form 1205 to the driver.
Purpose of the 1205 form:
- the form becomes your Georgia Driver's License (even if you have an out-of-state driver's license)
- it serves as notice of the officer's intent to suspend your driving privileges
- the document is notice that the officer had reasonable cause to arrest you
The 10-Day Letter
To maintain your driving privileges you must submit an appeal with the Georgia Department of Driver Services. This is commonly known as a "10-day letter". Even if your license is issued by another state, you must request the appeal hearing. In your appeal letter you must request an administrative hearing and allege that the officer made a procedural mistake during the stop and arrest. DDS will then forward the hearing request to the Georgia Office of State Administrative Hearings (OSAH). OSAH conducts the hearing.
10-Day Letter Warning
If you fail to submit a 10-day letter requesting a hearing, your license may be suspended.
The ALS Hearing
Once you have submitted your 10-day letter and it has been accepted, you will receive notice of your Administrative hearing. You may not receive notice of the hearing until weeks or even months after you submit a written request.
The ALS hearing is one of the most important steps to protecting your driving privileges. The hearings are conducted by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), who is employed by the Georgia Office of State Administrative Hearings (OSAH). An ALS hearing is very different from other legal proceedings in that the Judge makes all legal and factual decisions, as opposed to factual determinations being made by a jury. Also, to uphold a suspension, the standard that must be met is very low.
The Sherman Law Group – Your Local Duluth DUI Lawyers
At the Sherman Law Group, we are non-judgmental client advocates. We believe in second chances. For many people, a DUI is an embarrassing, devastating experience. We believe that people going through a difficult period do not need lectures about their choices. What they need is straightforward advice and a results-driven approach to get them moving in the right direction. Our aim is for you to come out of the situation with the least possible negative impact. We take very seriously our reputation as "the best DUI lawyers."
William H. Sherman understands how prosecutors think. In addition to over a decade of experience as a defense attorney, Mr. Sherman has also spent time as a Senior Assistant County Attorney and an Assistant Attorney General. Attorney Valerie W. Sherman's experience as a Magistrate Judge and Assistant County Attorney have proven extremely valuable during her time as a defense attorney.
Proud of Our Reputation
Having worked on both sides -- as prosecutors and defense attorneys -- William and Valerie Sherman know how prosecutors think and understand what it takes to get the best possible results for their clients. Their reputation for success and strong relationships with prosecutors, law enforcement, and judges have made them among the most sought after DUI defense attorneys in the Metro Atlanta and North Georgia area.
We Can Help You
We can help you. As experienced Duluth DUI attorneys we understand that experience, knowledge, and relationships are essential when it comes to ensuring the best possible results for our clients. When you, a friend or a loved one needs a Duluth DUI lawyer, we are here for you. Call us immediately at 678-215-4106.