Posted by Jim Yeargan in Atlanta DUI Law on October 12, 2015
Have You Been Arrested For An Atlanta DUI?
The Atlanta DUI process is quite different from the DUI process is all other courts. Your first court date is the following day, and there is much you need to know about this process. As a former chairman of the Atlanta DUI Advisory Committee, and former Atlanta DUI Prosecutor, I am familiar with this process because I helped create it.
I specialize in Atlanta DUI cases, and I’m here to help.
Atlanta DUI: Your First Court Date Is The Following Business Day
People arrested for an Atlanta DUI will have to go to court the following business day. For people arrested during the week their court date will be the following morning. People arrested over the weekend will have court the following Monday. In either event, this first court date is essentially a check-in process.
You DO NOT need to be prepared for trial or to move forward with your case. If you retain an attorney before your first court date YOU WILL NOT HAVE TO ATTEND COURT. The attorney may attend court on your behalf so you may go to work, school, and return to your daily activities.
For those people who attend this court date without an attorney, your case will be reset with no questions asked so you may have more time to hire an attorney. When the judge calls your name you will approach the podium. The court will inform you of the Atlanta DUI charges, as well as any other charges, against you. After this, you may inform the court that you need more time to hire an attorney. Your Atlanta DUI case will be reset three to four weeks to give you time to hire an attorney.
Your next court date is the “Status” court date.
Atlanta DUI: Status Calendar
The status court date is when your attorney will return to court on your behalf. We will file an entry of appearance so you will not have to attend this court date. Attending this court date, or future dates does not put you in a better light in the eyes of the court. If it did we would have you go to court.
We will inform the court that you have retained us, we will file a discovery request demanding the police report, and all evidence against you, and we will order a copy of the video of your arrest. Many lawyers do not complete these important steps, and they are putting their clients at a huge disadvantage. Your Atlanta DUI case will then be reset four or five weeks to an “Inquiry” calendar.
Atlanta DUI: Inquiry Calendar
The Inquiry calendar is where we go to court, and see if the prosecution has provided us with any of the documents we have demanded i.e. police reports, citations, etc. We let the judge know which evidence has come in, and which evidence is still outstanding. Again, you do not have to attend this court date.
Your case may be reset for Inquiry several times until the evidence comes in. Once all of the evidence has come in your Atlanta DUI case will be set to a “Final Plea” calendar.
Atlanta DUI: Final Plea Calendar
Between the Inquiry calendar and the Final Plea calendar, we will meet with the prosecutor, and get a plea offer for your case. If the plea is to a reduction of charges or is something you are interested in, we will have you attend court on your Final Plea date. On this date, we will fill out paperwork, and enter your plea before the judge. At this point, your case is closed.
If the prosecution does not offer a reduction in charges, or you are not interested in a reduced charge, then we will bind your case over to the State Court of Fulton County. You are not in anymore, or less, trouble. The charges remain the same. However, at this point, we are switching courthouses, judges, and prosecutors.
Binding an Atlanta DUI case over to the State Court of Fulton County delays the case 18 to 20 months. During this time your life returns to normal, we get your driver’s license back, and you are free to travel, leave the state, and leave the country if you wish. One reason we bind the case over is the tickets the officer wrote you have a 2-year statute of limitations on them.
We can keep your case in Atlanta for about 6 months before sending the case to Fulton County. Due to Fulton County’s backlog of 18 to 20 months, they sometimes miss this 2-year statute of limitations. When this happens we receive a letter in the mail stating all of the charges against you have been dismissed. At this point, your case is dismissed, and no further action is needed.
If Fulton County accuses your case in time there are about 10 judges in Fulton County, and your case is randomly assigned to one; it’s like pulling a card out of a deck of cards. Each judge runs their courtroom differently so depending on which judge your case gets assigned to will dictate future strategy.
However, your case may be one we can get reduced, or dismissed, in Atlanta and we will not need to go to Fulton County. If need be, we are more than happy to send your Atlanta DUI case to Fulton County to get the best result possible. We have gotten many Atlanta DUI cases dismissed using this strategy.
Atlanta DUI: Other Considerations
Drivers arrested for an Atlanta DUI need to be aware that they have 10 business days from the date of their arrest to file an appeal with the Georgia Department of Driver Services to stop the pending suspension of their driver’s license. This appeal must be postmarked within 10 business days of your arrest.
Failure to do so will result in the suspension of your driver’s license. This also applies to drivers licensed in other states. Drivers from other states who do not file the appeal letter will have their privilege to drive in Georgia suspended, and this suspension will then report to their home state.
We offer a free 10 Day Appeal Letter with no cost, or obligation, to you. We do this because many attorneys use this letter, and 10 business day time frame, to pressure people into retaining them. We despise this tactic and offer this letter free of charge so people will not feel pressured into hiring an under-qualified attorney. We the letter we give to you is the same one we use, but your letter will have your contact information on it. That is the only difference.
To learn more about the 10 Day Appeal Letter please watch my short video.
Atlanta DUI: Final Thoughts
Receiving an Atlanta DUI is very stressful. Don’t go through this process alone. My firm is comprised of 3 former Atlanta DUI prosecutors and a former Fulton County DUI prosecutor. We have defended thousands of Atlanta DUI cases, we know the prosecutors and judge assigned to your case, and we know how to get things done in Atlanta and Fulton County.
There is no one on the face of this Earth more familiar, or well qualified, to handle your Atlanta DUI case. The thing we hear the most from people we speak to is, “I feel so much better now that I have spoken to you.” Give us a call, or an email, and let us start immediately helping you.
Our DUI Lawyers in Atlanta offer free consultations for those looking to fight DUI charges.