Alpharetta DUI Charges Explained (2016 update)
If you have been arrested and charged with a DUI in Alpharetta, this article will help you ensure that you take the first necessary steps in defending your case. A DUI arrest in Alpharetta will usually be made by either the Alpharetta Police Department or the Georgia State Patrol. Alpharetta is within Fulton County, so your court options will be discussed below.
1. Your Drivers License Suspension if Arrested in Alpharetta for DUI
When you are arrested for DUI, the police officer is supposed to read you Georgia's implied consent notice. The implied consent notice states your rights as they relate to consenting to testing of your breath or blood (or urine, or other bodily substances) for alcohol or other impairing substances. Almost always breath or blood tests are requested in a DUI investigation in Alpharetta.
After your implied consent rights are read, the cop is trained to take you to a facility and obtain the tests you agreed to take. If you refused to take whatever test(s) the cop wanted, they will simply turn you over to the Fulton County Jail there in Alpharetta. Either way, the officer is directed to take your license and serve you with a suspension notice if you A) test over the applicable legal limit, or B) refuse to take the desired test.
The most important thing to remember as a driver is that you have 10 business days to have an appeal letter sent to Driver Services along with their required fee. If you fail to send this letter, or have your lawyer send the letter, your license will be suspended without the chance of appeal. You will simply get a letter from Georgia Driver Services notifying you that your right to drive is suspended. Do not wait or wonder whether you should send this letter. Talk to our offices today if you need your appeal letter sent.
Our attorneys at Zeliff | Watson has sent hundreds, if not thousands, of these appeal letters and successfully represented clients in obtaining their license back, even if they are facing the more harsh consequences of a "refusal" DUI. Don't let your 10 days lapse without calling us and taking this necessary first step.
2. Your DUI Court Date in Alpharetta Municipal Court
Once you have made a bond and been released, take a look at all of the paperwork you received after your arrest. Ideally, make copies or scans of the paperwork and keep them in a safe place. Your first court date for Alpharetta will be on your tickets, about 3/4 of the way down. It will order you to appear at that first date. Remember, the prosecutor and judge in Alpharetta Municipal Court will expect you to appear ready at that court date, as their is normally at least 4-6 weeks between your arrest and court date.
DUI is a misdemeanor crime in Georgia, unless there are aggravating circumstances, like an injury to someone else, or it is your 4th DUI. This means a DUI arrest shows on your driver's record as well as your criminal background. It also means you have the right to a jury trial.
Jury trials are not held in Alpharetta. The court does not have the authority to conduct trials with juries and currently does not conduct DUI trials at all. With this said, it is important to understand the role Alpharetta plays in your case. Negotiations can be conducted in Alpharetta on your case, and often times a resolution can be worked out, whether its a plea to reckless driving, or a plea to the original charges under certain circumstances. It is important to discuss your goals and primary concerns with your lawyer, that way plea negotiations can be fruitful. Let us be clear--- we never go into a DUI case with the approach of "just plead you guilty of DUI---but, under some circumstances, particularly if you have had multiple DUIs in the past, Alpharetta maybe a better option that Fulton County's court system, where you face DUI court and other enhanced punishments.
If your lawyer is unable to reach a negotiation in Alpharetta, you can simply apply to have your case heard in Fulton County. By telling Alpharetta you want a jury trial, this will force the court to send the case to the Fulton County State Court where it will be heard by a different judge and prosecuted by a different office. Sometimes, once your attorney is involved in the case, court dates will have to be postponed. This is normal and should not cause alarm. Courts expect defense lawyers to keep them informed of their schedules, but certainly work around scheduling problems.
3. Your License & Fighting Your DUI
Often, a decision must be made about whether you will contest your case even at the expense of your driver's license. The Driver Services hearing discussed above is all about your right to drive. The judge in that hearing does not care, nor impact what happens in your misdemeanor DUI prosecution in Alpharetta. Different agreements are possible at the Driver Services hearings, so make sure you speak to your lawyer about the pros and cons and any expected hardships you face with this hearing. License suspension times can range from 30 days to 12 months even on a first DUI and you may or may not be eligible for at least a limited permit to drive to work and other places.
4. Your Next Steps if Arrested for DUI by Alpharetta: Our Office of Alpharetta DUI Lawyers
If you have been charged with DUI by Alpharetta, contact our office 24/7/365 to begin your defense. Usually, we can have your appeal letter sent to the Department of Driver Services on the same business day you contact us. If you have waited a week or more, it is imperative that you let us know so we can make sure your letter is timely sent. After that deadline is covered, we will schedule a face-to-face appointment where we meet and go over all of your documents as well as conduct a thorough review of everything that happened in your arrest. This initial consultation is currently at no cost to you. Generally, set aside an hour for your initial appointment.
Call us today at (770) 676-1340 or reach out through one of the contact forms on this site to start your defense. Both of our lawyers have handled into the hundreds of cases in Alpharetta Municipal Court and surrounding jurisdictions and will put our experience to work in defending your case.