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DUI Case: From Start to Finish

Posted by Manal Chehimi | Dec 20, 2016 | 0 Comments

The Process of a Typical DUI Case

Being arrested and charged with a DUI is a very scary thing.  For most, it's the first time they have had to deal with the criminal justice system.  Below, we outline the general process of a typical DUI Case.  Every case is different, and every case gets its own special attention from our Team.  It's important you have an Attorney that you

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are comfortable with, that you trust, and that is experienced in the area of practice you need.  Call our firm today for a free case evaluation.

Step 1: You have been arrested for DUI - Save Your License!

If you tested .08% or higher or you refused to take the state's test, you were issued the yellow copy of form 1205, which serves as the state's intent to suspend your license. You have 10 business days, starting the day after you r arrest, to contest the automatic suspension of your license.

As our first step in your defense, we will request an Administrative License Suspension (ALS) Hearing and represent you at that hearing before the Georgia Office of State Administrative Hearings.

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We find many clients are confused by the fact that the typical DUI in this State ends up in two separate and very different courts. Most people are familiar with the regular criminal court and have a good idea about the issues involved there. Few people are acquainted with the other court, the Office of State Administrative Hearings (OSAH) where the court holds ALS hearings.

  • Criminal Court DUI proceedings in the criminal court are typically initiated by the State with one or more uniform traf fic citation(s) (UTCs). Inthe criminal court, the central issue in cases is whether the person charged is guilty of the offense charged beyond a reasonable doubt. The accused in a criminal court has the right to have a jury listen to the evidence and decide if they are convinced, beyond a reasonable doubt, of the accused's guilt. If they are so convinced, sentencing is up to the
  • OSAH: Proceedings in the OSAH are typically initiated when a police officer files a Department of Driver Services Form Inthe ALS hearing before the OSAH, the central issue in cases is whether the person charged should have his or her license suspended and for how long. Since there is no possibility of jail time and there's not even the possibility of a fine, the standards and procedures are much different than in criminal court and much less favorable to the accused. A judge makes all the decisions about the outcome of a case. The lawyer at an Al.S hearing will, in consultation with his or her client, generally do one of four things:
    1. Try to have the 1205 petition thrown out because the police officer doesn't show up for the hearing,
    2. Have the police officer unilaterally withdraw the 1205 petition, that is, without any conditions for the withdrawal,
    3. Have the police officer withdraw the 1205 petition in exchange for a promise to plead guilty to either reckless driving or DUI in the criminal court, or
    4. On rare occasions, try the case before an OSAH judge

Step 2: I've hired the Don Turner Legal Team - What next? 

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After your initial interview and after you have retained our services, we thoroughly investigate your case and gather all pertinent information that will aid in your defense.  Visit our page DUI Case Evaluation and Interview Process to find out more information about your first meeting with a member of our Team.  

Once hired, we immediately send the Court our Entry of Appearance and our investigators and staff begin collecting the following evidence:

  • Police reports
  • Intoxylizer maintenance records and user logs
  • Video of your arres
  • Video of your test at the police station
  • Dispatch reports
  • Witness statements
  • Arresting officer statements
  • Various other reports and files

Step 3: The Evidence is in - Client Case Review

After the evidence has been gathered and analyzed by your expert Team, you will meet with us to review the case. Several things will take place at this meeting.

  • We will review and discuss the findings of the investigation with you, so that you completely understand the facts surrounding your case
  • We will discuss the defense strategies that can be used and will recommend the best defense for your case. 
  • We will discuss how you want to proceed and what outcome you want to see.
  • Together, we will map out and decide the best defense that will give you the best possible outcome.

Step 4: Motions - Preparing and Arguing

Your expert team will prepare the necessary Motions. Motions are legal vehicles used to protect your rights and exclude evidence which could lead to a dismissal inyour case.

Step 5: Arraignment

You will be required to attend an Arraignment where you will enter a plea of Not Guilty.  Your lawyer will also file the Motions which were previously prepared. If the Motions are not filed at the Arraignment, they will be filed shortly after.

Step 6: Motions Hearing

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A hearing will be scheduled to argue the Motions filed on your behalf. You will be required to attend along with your lawyer, the solicitor, the arresting officer and any other witnesses relevant to the Motions.

If the Motions Hearing results in a ruling favorable to you, the state may agree to dismiss the charge altogether or agree to a reduction of charges such as a non-DUI offense. 

Step 7: Trial Calendar

However, if the solicitor does not dismiss the charge or allow you to plea to a non DUI offense, your case will be placed on a Trial Calendar.  Some courts have a Calendar Call set to determine the readiness of both sides to proceed to trial. Be aware that many conflicts can occur which may cause your court date to be reset one or more times.

Step 8: Trial - Bench or Jury

The Trial portion of your case occurs when a satisfactory plea or dismissal of your charges cannot be worked out.

There are two types of trials; each with their own pros and cons. You and your lawyer will decide which will benefit your case and allow you the best possible outcome. The primary difference between the two trials is who hears your case and decides the verdict.

    1. In a Bench Trial, the judge hears the arguments from defense and the solicitor and is solely responsible for deciding the outcome.
    2. In a Jury Trial,your case will be argued in front of 6 of your peers selected from a panel of 12. The defense and the solicitor may each dismiss 3 candidates leaving only 6 jury members.
Jury trial pic

Note: You may be placed on call when your court date arrives. This keeps you from having to wait all day at the courthouse. You will need to be ready and available for us to contact you. Your judge will accept no excuse for your tardiness or absence on the day of Trial.

The solicitor presents their case first since they have the burden to prove your guilt.  Your lawyer will present your case last.

In both cases, witnesses will be called and evidence will be exhibited. Each side will have an opportunity to question (cross-examine) each witness. Your expert team will meet with all defense witnesses including yourself, prior to the trial, and will help prepare them for the type of questions they may be asked.

Closing arguments will be made by both sides. The judge then "charges" (explains the law and the responsibilities) the jury, and they deliberate the case until a verdict is reached.

Conclusion

It's important to have an Attorney that you are comfortable with, that you turst, and is experienced in the are of practice you need.  Being arrested and charged with any crime is a very stressful and scary time.  One of our main goals at the Don Turner Legal Team is to make sure our client's are well informed of their specific case's progress and what to expect. If you or a loved one has been charged with a DUI, please call us today for a free case evaluation.

About the Author

Manal Chehimi

Manal earned her BA with honors from Georgia State University and her Juris Doctor from the John Marshall Law School, where she excelled. She has nine years of experience in the legal profession. She was the President of the...

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