Hall County DUI Attorney
At The Law Offices of Richard S. Lawson, our Hall County DUI Lawyers have extensive knowledge of DUI law. No matter if you were charged with DUI alcohol, DUI drugs, habitual violator, DUI child endangerment, or DUI serious injury by vehicle, our DUI Lawyers in Hall County GA are ready to help. Our office has been exclusively handling DUI cases for over 50 combined years. Our vast experience defending clients charged with DUI cannot be matched. We know the best defenses for each charge and can advise you on what kind of outcome to expect.
When charged with DUI in Hall County, you need to act immediately to protect your freedom and right to drive! Our DUI Attorneys in Hall County are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer your case. We are here to answer your questions and start building a strong defense. Call now.
DUI Court in Hall County GA
If you have been charged and convicted of multiple DUIs, you may be encouraged to enter a plea and participate in the Hall County DUI Court program. While participation in the Court is mandatory, completion of the program offers reduced jail sentences, jails, and community service.
Hall County's DUI Court is one of Georgia's founding DUI Court programs and serves as a model for new courts around the country. The mission of the Court is “to make offenders accountable for their actions, bringing about a behavioral change that reduces DUI recidivism and the abuse of alcohol and other drugs while raising the re-licensure rate for participants that complete the program; to protect the public, to treat the victims of DUI offenders in a fair, just way; and to educate the public as to the benefits of DUI courts for the communities that they serve.” Studies have shown that incarceration has not proven to be effective for repeat offenders. Therefore, the Hall County DUI Court created an ability to utilize judicial review in regards to treatment, which allowed for a higher degree of follow-through and accountability for participants. The goal of the program is to increase treatment success and to see an increase in public safety.
To be eligible for DUI Court, the accused must be charged with at least a third lifetime DUI, they must be a Hall County resident at the time of arrest, and have no prior violent felony convictions. The program lasts for 15 months and will require the participant to attend treatments, Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, meetings with Judge Baldwin, and call a number each morning to see if they need to provide a random drug or alcohol screening. The program costs $25 per week, not including the additional costs for drug screens and other program costs.
The program consists of three phases.
- In Phase 1, treatment consists of 3 hours per week in group sessions for a minimum of 5 months. Phase 1 participants are also required to attend court on a biweekly basis, and are screened for alcohol and drugs 4 times per week.
- In phase 2, treatment is 1.5 hours per week in group sessions and individual counseling for a minimum of 5 months. Phase 2 participants are drug and alcohol screened at least 2 times per week.
- Phase 3 consists of treatment for 1.5 hours per month in group sessions for a minimum of 3 months and drug and alcohol screens at least once per week. Participants in Phases 2 and 3 attend court on a monthly basis.
The Basics of a Hall County GA DUI Charge
In order to be stopped and arrested on suspicion of a Georgia DUI, the arresting officer needs probable cause to believe that a person is driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Officers obtain the probable cause needed to make a DUI arrest by observing poor driving patterns, watching for signs of intoxication such as slurred speech, an odor of alcohol, bloodshot eyes, and poor performance on field sobriety tests. There are other things officers are looking for, but those are just some of the signals used to justify a DUI stop.
A driver has the ability to limit the probable cause that the officers are looking for by taking steps to enforce their rights. If pulled over on suspicion of DUI, the driver should not say anything except to invoke their 5th Amendment right to remain silent and request a Hall County DUI attorney. Furthermore, the field sobriety tests are optional and should not be performed. Field sobriety tests can be difficult even for people not under the influence, and there are often extenuating factors that contribute to the failure of those tests. Lastly, the breathalyzer test is also optional and should not be taken. However, you do have to submit to the state's test or request your own test! This is not the roadside breathalyzer test; it is the State's chemical test.
By limiting the probable cause, you give your Hall County DUI Lawyer the ability to argue that the arrest was illegal because the officer did not have the required probable cause to make the DUI arrest.
It is important to note that taking these steps does not mean that you won't be arrested. The purpose of protecting your rights is to help with your DUI Defense in court. The officers will still likely make the arrest, but now you have armed your defense lawyer with arguments to contest the initial arrest.
After the arrest, you will be released with a court date. The court will schedule a hearing called an arraignment. At the arraignment, the person accused of DUI, will enter a plea, be advised on their rights, and the charges pending against them.
After the arraignment, there may be several or no pretrial hearings to allow the prosecutor and your attorney to examine your case and negotiate a plea deal. A plea deal may include a reduction to reckless driving or some other lesser charge. If no agreement can be reached, then the case will proceed to trial. At the trial, the prosecutor has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you drove a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs or with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher.
If the trial returns a verdict of not guilty, then you will suffer no legal penalties. However, if you are found guilty, you will face significant fines. The decision to accept a plea deal or go to trial is not one to be taken lightly. It must be carefully considered with the help of an experienced Hall County DUI Lawyer.
This is just a very basic overview of a DUI charge. There are many intricacies not mentioned, and we encourage people charged with a DUI not to try and take on the system by themselves. Hire a qualified and knowledgeable DUI Lawyer in Hall County who knows the DUI process inside and out and will give you the best chance at a favorable outcome.
Hall County GA First DUI Consequences
Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is no small infraction in Hall County. A first conviction will result in a substantial fine, possible license suspension, and a jail sentence. The first conviction is considered a misdemeanor. The maximum penalty is a $1,000 fine and up to one year in jail. Additional consequences include community service, completion of a drug and alcohol program, and attendance of a MADD victim panel. Greater penalties will apply if an accident was involved or other serious injuries to another person.
Many people make the mistake of thinking a misdemeanor conviction will not have a significant impact on their future, and they plead guilty. Pleading guilty to DUI will have major consequences. The driver can expect their insurance premiums to skyrocket. They may find it difficult to obtain employment and may face losing their current job. If they have a CDL license or are licensed in another way, they may have that license revoked.
Hall County Superior Court
DUI charges are generally misdemeanors, but there are certain circumstances where you can be charged with felony DUI. A person can be charged with felony DUI if they receive a fourth DUI within ten years, DUI serious injury by vehicle, habitual violation, DUI vehicular homicide, and feticide. All of these charges are serious offenses and receive the skill and knowledge of a Hall County DUI Lawyer.
When charged with felony DUI or another related charge, your case will proceed in Hall County Superior Court. Hall County is part of the Northeastern Judicial Circuit, which serves both Hall and Dawson County. There are 5 judges that preside over the Court. Hall County GA State Court is located at 225 Green Street, Gainesville, GA 30501. Charles Baker is the Clerk of the Superior and State Courts, and his office can be reached at 770-531-7025.
Hall County State Court
Hall County State Court is located at 225 Green Street, Gainesville, GA 30501. There are three judges that preside over the Court: Chief Judge B.E. Roberts, III, Judge Larry A. Baldwin, II, and Judge John G. Breakfield. Stephanie Woodard is the Solicitor General, and her office can be reached at 770-531-7012.
If your case started in one of the Municipal Courts in Hall County GA, you have the right to transfer your case to Hall County State Court for a jury trial. Our DUI Lawyers in Hall County understand when transferring your case is the best option and can help walk you through this process. Once your case is transferred, it basically starts over because you get a new judge and a new prosecutor for your case.
Flowery Branch Municipal Court
Flowery Branch Municipal Court presides over all city ordinance violations as well as misdemeanor traffic offenses, DUI, shoplifting, and possession of marijuana offenses. If you have received a DUI in Flowery Branch, you will be required to report to Court at 5410 Pine Street, Flowery Branch, GA 30542. Court is held at 6:00 P.M. The Honorable Judge Hall presides over the Court and Ann Marie Bishop is the Solicitor. The Court can be reached with questions at 770-967-6336.
Gainesville GA Municipal Court
Gainesville GA Municipal Court handles cases involving traffic violations, city ordinance violations, and other misdemeanors, including DUI, that occur within the city limits of Gainesville GA. The Court is located at 701 Queen City Parkway, Gainesville, GA 30501. For any questions, contact the Court at 770-531-2668.
Oakwood Municipal Court
Oakwood Municipal Court is limited to hearing traffic offenses, including DUI, misdemeanor shoplifting offenses, possession of marijuana charges, and violation of city ordinance charges that originate in Oakwood. Court is held at the Courthouse in the Oakwood City Hall located at 4035 Walnut Circle, Oakwood, GA 30566. Court is always held at 6:00 P.M. The Honorable Hammond Law is the Judge over Oakwood Municipal Court, and Billy Hollingsworth is the Solicitor. The Court can be reached at 770-532-9625.
Hall County GA has multiple courts, and it can be challenging to determine how your DUI case will proceed. As a result, it is critical to hire a Hall County DUI Lawyer who understands this system. Our DUI Lawyers in Hall County know the prosecutors, judges, clerks, and court staff, and use our experience to protect your rights and achieve the best possible outcomes in your case. Our office is open 24/7 because we believe you have the right to have your questions answered no matter the time. Call now for a free case evaluation.