Transferring a Cumming, Georgia DUI Case to State Court

If you have been arrested for DUI in Cumming, Georgia, transferring your case to State Court is an option. This article will educate you on why you would transfer your case and what it actually means to transfer the case to Forsyth County State Court.

DUI Arrests in Cumming

The Cumming Police Department has the power to make DUI arrests within the city limits. If you are arrested by Cumming PD, you will be taken to their jail and have to make a bond on the charges. A bond on a DUI charge will range from $1200-$2500, depending on whether there are other charges tacked on to your case. Once you bond out, you will be given a court date in the Cumming Municipal Court.

Cumming Municipal Court has arraignments at 6 p.m. on the second Wednesday of every month. While your case is in Cumming, your attorney will be able to file for discovery, meaning the court prosecutors will have to provide evidence of your DUI arrest. Generally, DUI evidence will consist of the officer's reports, any video evidence that may exist, and any data and results from a blood or breath test. Of course, if you refused testing under implied consent laws, your case will not have any blood or breath test information.

After negotiations with prosecutors in the court, you have two options for resolving your case: (1) close the case in Cumming, or (2) transfer the case to the Forsyth County State Court. There could be advantages for closing your case in Cumming, especially if an ideal plea negotiation is reached. However, if your attorney is unable to work out a plea, then requesting a jury trial will automatically result in your case being sent to Forsyth County. This is because in any state law misdemeanor case- which DUI is- you have the absolute right to a jury trial under Georgia law.

What Happens When a Case is Transferred?

Upon transferring your case to Forsyth County, the Cumming Municipal Court will send the file and any information to the Solicitor General's office. The delay can be anywhere from 2-6 months if your case is transferred to Forsyth, since the county prosecutors are busy with all cases made by both the Forsyth Sheriff's Office and Georgia State Patrol.

Once your DUI case is given a case number and the file is opened by the Solicitor's office, your attorney will once again be able to file motions for discovery as well as request hearings on the DUI evidence in your case. Transferring the case to Forsyth for jury trial gives you the option to have a jury trial; however, it is not mandatory. In fact, many cases in Forsyth County still plead or even have trials with the judges, even after being sent from Cumming. Remember, the Forsyth Solicitor's Office will begin negotiations with a clean slate. They do not use the Cumming prosecutors' file or opinions when evaluating your case.

Typically, within 6 months, we will have a DUI arraignment date in Forsyth State Court. Depending on your DUI history, this first hearing maybe waived without your presence in court. If you have had other DUIs in your past, you will likely be notified to appear in person at this first court date. Remember, your arraignment date is simply the court session where you plead Guilty or Not Guilty. Almost 100% of our clients plead Not Guilty at this court date, unless negotiations have already taken place and it is to someone's advantage to close their case at arraignment.

Other Hearings on DUI Cases in Forsyth Court

After your arraignment date, your attorney and the prosecutor will once again share information and start negotiating on your case. The prosecutor's office will need to share all information about your DUI, even if your attorney received the information from Cumming. By filing a discovery motion, your attorney will be able to get test information, videos and reports from your arrest. Our law office always files for discovery under Georgia's laws that apply to misdemeanor cases, as well as under Brady v. Maryland, which entitles you to all exculpatory evidence.

Sometime after your arraignment date, the court will allow your attorney to argue any motions on the evidence that could come into your DUI case. Common motions in Forsyth include motions to keep out (suppress) evidence of your breath or blood test, motions to suppress evidence from field sobriety tests, and motions to exclude your refusal of testing. Fighting to exclude bad evidence is important because, (a) it can open further negotiations between your lawyer and the prosecutor and (b) of course, you do not want unfavorable evidence admitted if your case must go to trial.

Remember, in Forsyth you are entitled to a jury trial, and your attorney can certainly ask for the judge to hear the trial. Under the law, the prosecutor could object to a judge hearing your case, but cannot prevent you from being tried by a jury. Whether your case is best heard by a judge or jury in the county will be a decision you ultimately make with your attorney. There are advantages and disadvantages to each type of trial, depending on your case. Make sure to discuss these difference in depth with your attorney.

Why Peter Zeliff and Evan Watson are Your Best Choice for DUI Defense in Forsyth

In 2011, Peter and Evan formed Zeliff | Watson to defend Forsyth and North Atlanta against DUI charges. Both attorneys left one of Georgia's largest DUI defense firms when forming their partnership. Combined, Peter and Evan handle hundreds of cases a year throughout Georgia. Both attorneys attend annual training on DUI defense including training accepted by the State Bar of Georgia and the National College of DUI Defense. Peter and Evan are trained on field sobriety tests used by officers, the Intoxilyzer 5000, and Georgia's new Intoxilyzer 9000 machine. Both attorneys also have training in the effects of prescription and other drugs on driving.

If you have been arrested in Cumming for a DUI charge, contact us today at (770) 676-1340 or through our contact form on this site. We never charge for our initial in-office consultation and can usually schedule your first appointment within 24 hours of your phone call. Additionally, we will explain the process for filing a driver's license suspension appeal and help you get it filed.

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