Four Proactive Steps for Defending DUI Cases in Georgia

Four Proactive Steps for Defending a DUI Case

- Attorney Evan Watson


Being proactive and completing the following tasks early in your case is always beneficial. Remember, even if your case is ultimately reduced to a lesser charge, courts commonly require these tasks to be completed.

Georgia Risk Reduction Class (DUI School)- This class is required by law for all DUI pleas and convictions. Additionally, many prosecutors and judges will require this class to be completed even if I negotiate a non-DUI plea (Reckless Driving, etc.) in your case. The class is approximately 20 classroom hours and includes an assessment/evaluation component, not to be confused with the clinical evaluation discussed next. Georgia law dictates DUI Schools charge $355 and schedules will vary based on the particular school you choose to attend. The same certificate of attendance will satisfy DDS and court requirements. A list of Georgia approved classes can be found at: http://www.dds.ga.gov/DUI/SchoolMatrix.aspx. Attend a convenient school, since curriculum and cost is standard.

Suggested Schools by Location:

  • Metro/North Atlanta: North Buckhead DUI School, (678) 510-2099
  • Sandy Springs: 1st Act Atlanta Driving School, (404) 641-2211
  • Cumming, Canton, Gainesville: Academy of Action, (770) 889-1023, Lem's (404) 916-5275

Clinical Evaluation and any Recommended Treatment- Most courts require those with alcohol-related charges to complete a substance abuse evaluation. These evaluations are done in a professional setting and usually take around 90 minutes. The cost ranges from $125-$325. If subsequent treatment is recommended, you will be required to complete whatever program is advised as part of your case. An evaluation can be obtained at any Georgia approved clinical evaluator listed on the registry, which is found at: http://www.mop.uga.edu/cetp/mop/soc.aspx

Suggested Evaluators by Location:

  • Metro Atlanta, Marietta: Larry Nolting, (770) 988-8333
  • North Atlanta, Sandy Springs, Alpharetta, Roswell: Rebecca Payne, (404) 414 8289
  • Cumming, Canton, Dawson, North Atlanta: Gay Baldwin, (404) 824 9525
  • Hall County: *Must call (770) 718-5710 and setup evaluation through Hall Co.*

Community Service- Community service is a common requirement for DUIs and many other charges. In general, community service may be done at any nonprofit organization, 501(c)(3), as long as proper documentation is provided to show completion of hours. Typically, a log sheet or letter stating how many hours you have completed, on the organization's letterhead and signed by a representative will suffice. Before starting hours, check with my office and we will verify that the jurisdiction handling your case accepts community service hours done prior to court and at any location. A minimum of 40 hours is required on a DUI charge in Georgia.

Victim Impact Panel- These 60-90 minute one-time lectures are given by a panel of speakers that have been affected by DUI drivers. Prices range from $25-$60 and various organizations host the panels. Google for panels in your area.

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