A Johns Creek DUI charge does not have to be the end of your clean record and good name. Each year, hundreds of drivers are stopped and arrested for DUI in Johns Creek, and must appear in their municipal court to answer their charges. DUIs in Johns Creek are generally misdemeanors and will go on both your criminal in driving records. With so much at stake, it is important to go into your case with a general knowledge of the applicable DUI laws and a strategy for your defense. The following are pieces of basic information to help you defend your DUI in Johns Creek. Read these facts first, then call us to discuss your particular case.
How can I save my license?
If you are arrested in Johns Creek for DUI, chances are the cop took your driver's license and issued you a 1205 suspension form. If you don't have your license after your arrest, or have this 1205 form, or both, you will need to file an appeal letter with Georgia DDS to save your license.
Upon receipt of your appeal letter, DDS will automatically give you a driver's license hearing date. This is not discretionary; you are entitled to the hearing as long as your appeal includes the required information and is timely filed.
Don't chance this appeal letter. Leave it to us to do. We do not tack on extra fees to file this appeal on your behalf, and we will ensure it is properly filed.
What do I do at court?
The Johns Creek Municipal Court will first hear your DUI case. The must-appear date written on the bottom of your citations is the first court date, generally called the arraignment date. While in higher courts, arraignment is a formal process, in Johns Creek, it is rather informal. Usually, we are able to take care of a client's first arraignment dates without them speaking in front of the judge or audience.
Usually, first arraignments come rather quickly after your DUI arrest and both your defense attorney and the prosecutor will agree to more time to build your case file. If your first court date is less than six weeks after you are arrested, you can be confident your attorney will be able to get an extension before any final decisions must be made about your case. Our law firm handles all aspects of our clients' cases in the courtroom, from negotiations to court scheduling and more.
Do I have to go to trial?
Many DUI cases are settled in Johns Creek without trial. In fact, Johns Creek does not even have trials in DUI cases at their courthouse. If you demand a jury or even bench trial, your case will be transferred to Fulton County for trial.
Transferring a case to Fulton County should not be done automatically or without knowing your options in Johns Creek have been exhausted. Often, if a compelling case can be presented to the Johns Creek prosecutors, a DUI can be negotiated in their court without the need for transferring the case to Fulton. This can not only save you years of having your case pending, but can spare you the extra expense and stress of waiting on your case to wind its way through the Fulton court system. Our law firm always gets all evidence from the Johns Creek prosecutors and exhaustively negotiates DUI cases before making a final decision regarding pleading the case in their court or sending it to Fulton County.
Will I end up in jail?
On a first DUI in Johns Creek, ending up in jail should not be your biggest concern. In fact, I cannot think of a single first DUI case where jail was required in Johns Creek. (Not to say that it has never happened)
Generally, on a first DUI, you defense is centered around having your DUI charges lessened or dropped to the required mandatory minimums. In practice, our firm would need a very compelling reason to enter a DUI plea in Johns Creek on a first DUI. Often, we will transfer the case to Fulton County if pretrial negotiations with the solicitor in Johns Creek are not successful.
Is DUI a felony?
Only a fourth DUI in 10 years, with all being after 2008 is considered a felony in Georgia. First, second, and even third DUIs are misdemeanors technically punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Another danger comes if you are charged with child endangerment DUI. These child endangerment charges do not combine with other DUI charges or each other (merger) and therefore count as separate DUI charges. For example, if you are charged with DUI and have 2 children in the car, you are looking at a 3rd DUI charge.
There are other times a DUI can be more problematic than usual, and our firm has the experience to see potential yellow and red flags in your case. If you feel that your DUI may have aggravating circumstances, let us know early so we can build a defense around these issues.
How harshly does Johns Creek punish DUI?
Johns Creek Municipal Court can be a good place to enter DUI pleas under certain conditions. If you have multiple DUIs, the required minimums can usually be negotiated in Johns Creek. By comparison, if your case goes to Fulton County and you have multiple prior DUIs, you may end up in DUI court or with more jail time if you refuse DUI court.
Required jail time in Johns Creek is generally:
1st DUI- no additional time in jail required
2nd DUI- 3 days required in jail
3rd DUI- 15 days required
Why do I need a lawyer if I think I am guilty?
Even if you feel like you were fairly charged with DUI, or know you blew over the limit, you want an attorney to represent your best interest in a DUI case. Think about the last speeding ticket you got. Chances are you agree you were speeding, however, the cop did some things you did not think were right: it was a speed trap, they were going as fast, or faster than you, they overestimated your speed, etc. DUI investigations generally are slanted in the cop's favor from the beginning. Just because you may have blown over the legal limit or agree you probably had one too many, cops must still be held to a standard in their investigations.
Some of the seemingly worst DUI cases I have taken end up getting the best results when we really press the cop and hold them to proving their case. Courtrooms can be unpredictable places. Hire a lawyer that will fight to defend you no matter the circumstances. Your lawyer's defense will make a difference and can be the difference between a trashed and a clean record.
Why is your law firm my best choice?
Quite simply, we are compassionate and effective DUI defense attorneys. No question is a stupid question and no client's case deserves any less than our best effort. At Zeliff |Watson we not only defend DUI cases, we study DUI. We attend annual trainings and lectures, keep up to date on the latest cases in the world of DUI, and even teach and instruct fellow defense lawyers learning more about DUI.
Both of our lawyers have defended into the hundreds of DUI cases and received Not Guilty verdicts on about every set of DUI facts imaginable. Whether you think your case is almost unwinnable, or a very defensible case, give us a call to personally discuss your facts. We can be reached directly at (770) 676-1340 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will discuss your case on the weekend and can schedule an appointment generally within 24 hours. Our team includes paralegals, investigators and access to some of the best expert witnesses around the county. Give us a call today to start defending your Johns Creek DUI case.