Forsyth County DUI Court Overview Written by Defense Lawyers
The Forsyth County DUI Court is marketed as a treatment-centered alternative to jail time for repeat DUI offenders. While DUI courts do not exist in every Georgia county, they are becoming more common, especially in Metro Atlanta areas. The Forsyth County DUI Court was founded in 2006 and is run by the collective efforts of the Forsyth County State Court, Forsyth County Solicitor's Office, probation, law enforcement, treatment provider representatives, DUI court staff, and a defense attorney who represents those involved in DUI Court.
Participation in DUI court requires a minimum of a two year probated sentence. The DUI Court has nothing to do with the merits of your pending DUI case. In order to be admitted into the court, you must enter a guilty plea to your underlying charges. Therefore, there is no added benefit of your DUI being dropped or dismissed, even upon successful completion of the program. (This is different from many other accountability courts- Drug Court, Veteran's Court, Mental Health Court, and the like, where your charges are dismissed upon successful completion.)
In 2020, if you have a second or subsequent DUI, you will be deemed eligible and referred into the DUI Court Program. You can expect to see two plea offers given out at your first court date (DUI Court Review Hearing), one with DUI Court participation, and one without. On a second DUI within the past 10 years, expect to see a 3-6 month jail offer if you choose not to participate in DUI Court. Even DUIs further than the required 10-year "look back" window count towards your eligibility for DUI Court and will be taken into consideration in the prosecutor's plea offer.
Under Georgia law, a second DUI in 10 years can be punished with up to one year in jail. However, Georgia law only requires an absolute 72 hours in custody. Oftentimes, DUI Court participants enter the program when faced with more severe jail sentences, or when their most current DUI charges have violated some other probation sentence, or given rise to other legal problems. I do not advise anyone to participate in DUI Court unless their goal is to get rehabilitative help and you are willing to be closely monitored for 18-24 months.
The Forsyth DUI Court program is broken into ever evolving phases. All phases involve some level of treatment, court supervision, alcohol and drug screening (2-3x weekly), curfews, and monetary payments made to the court and treatment providers. In order to be eligible, there is a residence requirement (Forsyth County, or county with comparable DUI Court program), and a general requirement that you have no prior violent offenses on your record. Additionally, the DUI Court will not accept your case if you are on certain medications, depending on their potential for abuse.
If you have questions about DUI Court in Forsyth County, or want to discuss your alternative options- including having a trial in your case, our Team is here to help. Remember, participation in DUI Court does not have your current charges dropped or dismissed. Depending on your unique case facts, you may or may not be seen as a candidate for DUI court participation. All potential DUI Court participants must attend an orientation and a clinical assessment within a certain time period after their arrest. If accepted, your attorney will negotiate your plea into DUI court with the Forsyth Solicitor's office.
Give us a call at (770) 676-1340 or use our confidential contact form within this site to call Peter or Evan and discuss your DUI Court situation. Both of our attorneys have brokered numerous deals for DUI Court, for alternative treatment plans, and litigating a case through trial. We will give you the real, honest facts about your situation.