Understanding the DUI Process
When you enter the system through a DUI charge, there is a certain predictable sequence that takes place in every case. It is strongly advised that you have a Cherokee County DUI attorney working with you to guide you through the DUI process. At the Law Offices of Richard S. Lawson, the legal team has over 20 years experience dealing exclusively with DUI charges. One can expect the process to proceed as follows:
Law enforcement will pull you over if they are suspicious that you are intoxicated. Allegedly, there is something in your driving that causes this traffic stop such as weaving, wide turns, speeding, reckless driving, or other similar activity. You also could have been stopped at a roadside sobriety checkpoint. You may be asked to perform certain field sobriety tests at the scene and the officer will be looking for signs of intoxication such as the smell of alcohol, open containers of alcoholic beverages, or the appearance of intoxication.
The Arrest Procedure
If it is determined that you are driving under the influence, you will be arrested and taken to the police station where you will be booked and you will be tested for alcohol (or drugs) by the use of a urine, blood or breath test. The breath test is most commonly administered. Even if you are below the .08% allowed, if they consider you intoxicated, you still could be charged.
The Arraignment – the first formal hearing
The arraignment is when you are formally charged in front of a judge. This may take place the next day. You will make your plea. It is strongly advised that you have legal representation from the firm with you at the arraignment. Your attorney can speak for you at this hearing.
Preliminary Motion Hearings
If the attorney has filings to suppress evidence, this takes place in a preliminary motion hearing. In some cases of DUI charges, the individual's rights were violated. There may have been insufficient cause to stop the client, or they may have had their rights regarding search and seizure violated. If the motion is successful, you could be offered a reduced charge or the case may be completely dismissed.
Georgia offers two options in the trial. There can be a jury trial with six jurors, or a “bench trial” in which the judge acts as both judge and jury. Determining which type of trial to have should be discussed with your DUI defense lawyer as it may depend on who the judge is, or whether there is extensive scientific evidence to present that a jury may have difficulty with. You and the DUI defense lawyer from the Law Offices of Richard S. Lawson can determine how to proceed with the trial.
At the trial, in order for you to be convicted, you must be proven to have been driving under the influence beyond a reasonable doubt. In many cases, the statements made by the individual charged are read to the court and may make a conviction more likely. It is important to get a lawyer to represent you before you speak at any DUI arrest. The defense attorney can cross-examine the law enforcement officer who is on the stand, and bring forward other witnesses to support the case for the defense. You are then found guilty or not guilty and the judge will sentence those found guilty. If you are found guilty and you wish to appeal the judgment, this can be done.
Contact a Cherokee County DUI Lawyer from the firm to guide you through the court process and to protect your rights.