I was arrested. What Happens Next?

Posted by Richard Lawson | May 31, 2012 | 0 Comments

When you've been arrested for drunk driving in Atlanta, you likely have a number of questions. One of the most common concerns is, "What happens next and what are my chances?" If you are facing DUI charges, it is important that you retain the services of an experienced defense attorney who can guide you and help you understand some of the key points of the legal process.

Court Proceedings and Building the Defense
In most instances your DUI case will begin in the Atlanta Municipal Court, however, the Georgia State Patrol can choose to send your case to the State Court of Fulton County. During the proceedings, you can negotiate a plea bargain or seek to have a bench trial, during which you would be tried by the judge alone. While your case is pending, it is imperative that your attorney files for your discovery. Discovery should include the police report and the video of your arrest.

Your defense begins with a thorough review of all of the police reports and videos of your arrest. Police officers are not perfect, and they can make mistakes in their arrest procedures. If a mistake was made, your legal team will determine if that error violated your constitutional or statutory rights. If your rights have been violated, it may be possible to suppress the evidence the prosecution can use against you, which could lead to your charges being reduced to reckless driving or dismissed altogether.

Plea Bargains
Even with the skilled legal counselor, you may have to negotiate a plea bargain, as all DUI cases are not defendable. Many times clients have poor driving records and prior DUI convictions, or the evidence is not favorable and no errors were made during the arrest. In these circumstances you need a powerful advocate on your side to negotiate a plea bargain in your best interests, such as a bargain that will keep you out of jail and allow you to retain your license.

Jury Trials
if the prosecution and defense are unable reach a favorable agreement in your case; you can choose to take your case to a jury trial. Atlanta Municipal Court does not offer jury trials for DUI charges, so your case will have to be moved to the Fulton County State Court. Some cases are suited better for a jury than others, but consulting with a knowledgeable DUI lawyer can provide you with the information you need to make a confident decision.

Many people believe that legal representation is not necessary during DUI proceedings, but nothing could be further from the truth. State DUI laws are complicated, and you would be defending yourself against talented prosecutors with years of experience and legal understanding at his or her dispense. By enlisting an aggressive law firm for your case, your case will receive the leadership and advocacy of an attorney that is thoroughly seasoned in the court process and laws, and knows the best ways to negotiate with prosecutors and judges.

About the Author

Richard Lawson

Richard S. Lawson is passionate about intoxicated driving defense. Unlike some attorneys, Mr. Lawson devotes 100% of his legal practice to helping people stand up for their rights against DUI charges. For more than 20 years, Mr. Lawson has dutifully fought for his clients' freedom, resolving more 4,900 impaired driving cases during the course of his career. Today, Mr. Lawson has developed a reputation as a skilled negotiator and continues to help clients by fighting to keep them out of jail.


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