Georgia DUI/DWI Frequently Asked Questions
for your Lawyer
What happens after a DUI arrest in Georgia?
Motor Vehicle Hearing:
To preserve your right to drive in Georgia, let our office request an administrative hearing for you within 10 business days after your license has been taken from you by the arresting officer. This is for 99% of drivers under 21 who registered a .02 or more, all drivers over 21 who registered a .08 or more, and all drivers of a commercial vehicle who register .04 or more. When you call our office at 770-625-5151, as our staff to e-mail the latest copy of Mr. Head's 12-page paper on Administrative License Suspension Consequences (up to 1 year TOTAL loss of license).
ALL DRIVERS REGARDLESS OF AGE WHO REFUSE THE STATE TEST FACE TOTAL LICENSE LOSS. If you had a valid license when stopped, you are qualified for a temporary license to drive until the date of the hearing. Remember, however, that NO HEARING occurs unless you file a timely "appeal". Once we file this all-important letter seeking an appeal, you will be mailed a notice of the hearing about three weeks after your request. Our job is to find a way to keep you driving without agreeing to put a DUI on your record. Crucial defenses for your criminal DUI case can be developed at the administrative hearing.
This is the date of the first court appearance in your DUI Criminal case. When you make bond and are released from jail, you should have paperwork that shows that date. In some cases you will not have to appear. However, many courts will require your presence at arraignment. For our clients only about 10% of judges require for you to appear at the arraignment.
ALL MOTIONS TO EXCLUDE EVIDENCE MUST BE FILED AT OR BEFORE ARRAIGNMENT OR THEY MAYBE WAIVED.
Arraignment is an important hearing and the attorney must be aware of all issues that are relevant to your defense in order to get harmful evidence against you excluded. This is done by filing legal papers that are sometimes collectively called "motions".
Pre-trial Conference/Plea Negotiations:
Your attorney will discuss your case with the prosecutor and attempt to work out the best disposition possible. This is an on going process. Many cases do not get resolved until the eve of trial.
At a pre-trial "motions" hearing, the Court may suppress some or all of the evidence against you if your constitutional rights or Georgia's implied consent laws have been violated. Your attorney will file motions to suppress. In some courts there will be a separate hearing date. In other courts, motions will be heard right before trial.
In Georgia we have the right to a jury trial in DUI cases. In other states such as New Jersey, Hawaii, Nevada and Nebraska, first offense DUI cases only merit a "judge" trial (no jury). A misdemeanor jury trial in Georgia is decided by six citizens. A felony case in Georgia requires the traditional 12 jurors. In some cases, we will opt for a bench trial where a judge will decide innocence or guilt.
The Court imposes a sentence after a conviction at trial or after a plea bargain is accepted and a guilty plea or a nolo contendere plea is entered. Sentences for DUI and other serious driving offenses may include jail time, in home detention, public (community) service, alcohol classes and fines. Since July 1, 2008, all DUI cases require the person to be evaluated for alcohol and drug dependency.