DUI Court Procedure What Your Cartersville DUI Attorney Needs to Tell You!
In Georgia, DUI charges can begin in a variety of courts based on the agency the arresting officer works for, which county the arrest was made in, and if the arrest was within the city limits of any cities. Today, I will walk you through the ways a DUI charge can begin in Bartow County as well as the city of Cartersville.
Bartow County, Georgia
If you were arrested by a sheriff deputy or Georgia State Patrol trooper, your case will likely start in Bartow County Probate Court. When you are arrested you will be taken to the Bartow County Jail. Once you are released you will get a notice in the mail about your first court date scheduled usually within 4 weeks of your arrest. This date is arraignment in Probate Court. Arraignment is not a trial date. It is when you hear the official charges against you. It is also the first opportunity for you to resolve your case. At that time, you have an opportunity to do one of three things.
First, you can request a continuance to hire an attorney.
The Judge usually will grant 1 continuance for each case. If you are unrepresented and are not sure what you want to do because you have not had time to speak to an attorney, you can tell the court that you need more time “talk to a lawyer” before deciding what to plea in your case. It is important to talk with a Cartersville DUI Attorney as soon as possible!
Second, you can enter a guilty plea.
If you enter a guilty plea your case is over. You have given up without a fight. The judge will sentence you and it will probably be harsh. I discuss first DUI offense penalties here; second DUI offense penalties here; and third DUI penalties here. It is not advisable to enter a guilty plea without talking to a Cartersville DUI attorney first.
Third, you can enter a not guilty plea
If you enter a not guilty plea you open up to other options. You can have a bench trial in front of the probate court or you can request a jury trial that would be in Bartow County Superior Court. Remember that the probate court cannot hear a jury trial. If you request a Jury trial the process starts over and you will have another arraignment, this time in Superior Court.
Just pleading “not guilty” at arraignment, can be dangerous. You also need to file certain important pre-trial motions. If you enter a not guilty plea, request 10 days to file these motions, and then go see experienced legal counsel to get these extremely important motions filed in a timely manner. These motions may single handedly win your case. They will at least be instrumental in excluding key prosecution evidence, such as the breath test results in your DUI case.
Or better yet, If you have any desire to fight your DUI charges to try to win or reduce the charges, request a continuance for several weeks. This will allow you to hire a Cartersville DUI attorney to represent you without starting the 10 day timeline after arraignment to file motions. That way, you have not lost your chance to file pre-trial motions in your case.
If you are charged with a DUI in Bartow County, Contact Block Law at (770)387-4LAW for a free consultation!
City of Cartersville
If you were arrested by a Cartersville police officer, your case will likely start in Cartersville Municipal Court. When you are arrested, you will also be taken to the Bartow County Jail. Once you are released you will get a notice in the mail about your first court date scheduled usually within 4 weeks of your arrest. This date is arraignment in Cartersville Municipal Court. Arraignment is not a trial date. It is when you hear the official charges against you. It is also the first opportunity for you to resolve your case. At that time, you have an opportunity to do same three things as discussed above.
If you are charged with a DUI in Cartersville, Contact Block Law at (770)387-4LAW for a free Consultation with a Cartersville DUI Attorney!
Bartow County Superior Court
If you entered a not guilty plea and requested a jury trial your case will be “bound over” to Superior Court. At that time, the process sort of starts over. You will get a notice in the mail of an arraignment date. It is important to note that the arraignment date in Superior Court can be several months in the future. If you move, it is your responsibility to let the court know so they can send you information about your court date.
Once your arraignment date comes along you will still have the same options as outlined above. It is very important to contact an attorney to help guide you through the DUI court process.
Going to court is nerve wracking, if you don’t have an attorney you won’t have anybody to explain to you what is happening. The prosecutor can’t give you advice. If they do, trusting the advice they give would be like trusting a snake to give you fruit.