Choosing an Atlanta DUI lawyer can be an overwhelming and extremely risky task, particularly if you are relying solely upon the internet to make your decision. In evaluating various lawyers, considering some of these factors can be helpful:
- Is the lawyer Board Certified in DUI Defense?
- Has the lawyer been recognized as a SuperLawyer?
- When was the last time that the lawyer actually tried a case?
- How active is his/her trial practice?
- Is the lawyer willing to meet with me in person to help me make my decision?
LOCAL ATLANTA DUI ATTORNEY EXPERTISE AND NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED AUTHORITY ON DUI DEFENSE
We bring local knowledge and nationally-recognized expertise to every Atlanta DUI case that we take on. No lawyer knows the process by which Atlanta DUI cases are prosecuted better than the DUI defense attorneys at The Sessions Law Firm. Likewise, very few attorneys (in fact, only 5 within the State of Georgia) can claim to be Board Certified in DUI Defense by the National College for DUI Defense (the only organization sanctioned by the American Bar Association to issue Board Certification recognition in the area of DUI defense). You undoubtedly want a lawyer that understands both the process and the very best defenses available in your case, and The Sessions Law Firm provides both at an exceptionally high level.
Most Atlanta drivers are familiar with the phrase “driving under the influence.” New drivers are taught about the dangers of driving under the influence, and some have seen these risks firsthand. The Georgia Governor's Office of Highway Safety reported that in 2012 alone, 277 driving fatalities were related to alcohol. Impaired drivers pose a risk to local communities, which is why state law treats this offense so harshly. Strict state DUI laws impose tough penalties of convicted offenders, even for their first conviction. If you are facing a DUI charge, read the important information below to learn more about this type of criminal case.
HAVING A TRULY QUALIFIED ATLANTA DUI DEFENSE ATTORNEY CAN MAKE A REAL DIFFERENCE IN THE OUTCOME
All too often, lawyers dabble in defending DUI cases. They don't really understand what is going in the Court or in the evidence in the DUI cases. They let the State dictate the flow of the case. In short, they simply react to the State's prosecution. The State has the burden of proof, and experienced Atlanta DUI attorneys recognize the value in making the State do its job. However, in the vast majority of cases, your Atlanta DUI lawyer must understand the intricacies of the court in which your case is pending and the unique procedural and evidentiary issues in Georgia DUI cases if you hope to obtain an exceptional result. Don't take your chances with a lawyer that dabbles in the defense of DUI cases.
Your Atlanta DUI attorney at The Sessions Law Firm understand how to effectively mount procedural and evidentiary challenges to the State's case against you. Ben Sessions of The Sessions Law Firm is 1 of 4 attorneys in Georgia to be Board Certified in DUI Defense. Our Firm remains on the forefront of DUI litigation in Atlanta and throughout Georgia.
GEORGIA DUI DEFINED
Georgia law defines DUI, or driving under the influence, as being in control of a moving vehicle while:
- Under the influence of drugs (prescription or illegal) or alcohol, and that influence creates a driving safety risk
- Driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of at least 0.08% or
- Driving with an illegal controlled substance in your body system
Often, DUI charges are related to impairment by alcohol, which is often referred to as “drunk driving.” A driver must be legally drunk, with a BAC of at least 0.08%, to be charged with a DUI related to alcohol. There are some exceptions to this rule, however. A minor driver (under the age of 21) can be charged if he or she has a BAC of as little as 0.02%. A commercial driver could face a DUI while driving with a BAC of 0.04%. As mentioned above, drivers under the influence of drugs can also face this criminal charge.
PENALTIES FOR DUI CONVICTION
The exact penalties for DUI depend on the number of prior convictions, if any, the driver has, as well as any other relevant circumstances in the case. Generally, state law allows for the following DUI punishments upon conviction.
- First offense: misdemeanor; penalties may include jail time between 10 days and 12 months, fines between $300 to $1,000, community service, and alcohol counseling.
- Second offense: misdemeanor; penalties may include jail time between 90 days and 12 months, fines between $600 and $1,000, at least 30 days of community service, alcohol counseling, and 12 months probation.
- Third offense: high and aggravated misdemeanor; mandatory minimum jail sentence between 120 days and 12 months; other penalties may include fines between $1,000 and $5,000, at least 30 days of community service, alcohol counseling, and 12 months probation.
UNDERSTANDING THE DRIVER'S LICENSE CONSEQUENCES OF REFUSING TESTING IN YOUR ATLANTA DUI CASE
It is crucial to understand the distinction between the administrative license suspension case and the criminal case pending in the Atlanta Municipal Court, but it is also important to recognize the interplay between the two processes.
OTHER CONSEQUENCES OF A GEORGIA DUI CONVICTION
For most of our clients, the criminal consequences of a DUI conviction are only part of their concern. Often times, the “collateral” consequences of a DUI conviction are more significant than the mandatory requirements of the law. Among the penalties that must be considered during the course of representation for a pending DUI in Georgia are:
- the impact upon the driver's license for both Georgia licensees and out-of-state licensees
- the impact upon employment, and
- the impact upon professional licenses.
ARE YOU LOOKING FOR AN ATLANTA DUI ATTORNEY THAT UNDERSTANDS THE COMPLEXITIES OF HOW A DUI CHARGE MAY IMPACT A PROFESSIONAL LICENSE?
Our DUI attorneys have successfully defended doctors, lawyers, nurses, teachers, and pilots charged with DUI. If you are facing an Atlanta DUI charge and you hold a professional license, it is vitally important that you understand how the licensing authority will treat a DUI conviction. It is also crucial that you act proactively to preempt the punishment that may be impose in the event that you are convicted of DUI.
If you are seeking the services of an Atlanta DUI attorney that understands how sensitive various professional licenses may be to a DUI charge or conviction, The Sessions Law Firm can help you.
THE ATLANTA DUI COURT PROCESS AND WHAT YOUR ATLANTA DUI ATTORNEY MUST KNOW
Not knowing the process followed in the Atlanta DUI court can lead to a lot of wasted time, and it can cause you a lot of stress in the Atlanta Municipal Court. The Atlanta Municipal Court has a standardized process for addressing DUI cases. The process is efficient, and cases move a long at an appropriate pace. Unfortunately, many lawyers do not take the time to learn the process, so here are the basics:
- With the filing of an entry of appearance by an attorney, a defendant is excused from appearing all court dates except for the Final Plea.
- You must appear on the Final Plea date.
- Expect your case to be completed in the Atlanta Municipal Court within 6 months from the date of arrest.
ABOUT THE ATLANTA DUI COURT
If a DUI arrest occurs within the city limits of Atlanta, the case will generally begin prosecution in the City of Atlanta Municipal Court. In the Atlanta Municipal Court, DUI cases are presided over by the Honorable Christoper E. Ward, who is the Chief Judge of the Atlanta Municipal Court.
The City of Atlanta Municipal Court has a well-defined process for the handling of DUI cases:
- Arraignments – Generally, arraignments are scheduled within 1 – 2 business days from arrest in DUI cases. If an attorney files an entry of appearance, the Defendant is excused from appearing.
- Inquiry Court Dates – Generally, inquiry court dates are scheduled 45 – 60 days after the arraignment date. At the inquiry court date, the Court inquires of the City and the Defendant whether the discovery process has been completed.
- Final Plea Date – Generally, the final plea date is scheduled 3 – 4 months following the arraignment. The final plea is a date on which a plea is entered, the case is scheduled for a bench trial, or the case is bound over to the Fulton County State Court for a jury trial. Below is the National Center for State Courts guidelines on the timelines for the resolution of misdemeanor cases. This is the guideline that is followed in the Atlanta Municipal Court.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS IN ATLANTA DUI CASES
- How do I get my license back after my administrative license suspension case is dismissed?
- What happens if I don't want to agree to the plea offer made by the City of Atlanta Solicitor's Office in the Atlanta Municipal Court? – You have the right to request a bench trial or a jury trial upon your case.
- If I go to trial on my DUI case and lose, will I receive a greater penalty? – Maybe. This is a question that really requires an analysis of the particular facts of your case, including your prior history, mitigation efforts, and understanding the Judge presiding over your case. Let's discuss this in more detail.
The Court makes every effort to have all proceedings in the Atlanta Municipal Court concluded within 6 months from the date of arrest.
SHOULD YOU CONSIDER A BENCH TRIAL FOR YOUR ATLANTA DUI CASE?
Absolutely, you should consider whether a bench trial in your Atlanta DUI is a potentially advantageous course of action.
AN ATLANTA DUI ATTORNEY THAT YOU CAN RELY UPON TO DELIVER THE BEST POSSIBLE RESULTS.
Atlanta DUI lawyer Ben Sessions arguing before the Georgia Supreme Court Ben Sessions of The Sessions Law Firm has developed a reputation in Atlanta and throughout Georgia for being a go-to lawyer for complex and serious alcohol- and drug-related cases. Lawyers that need some expertise in developing defenses to difficult DUI, serious injury by vehicle, and vehicular homicide cases, routinely rely upon Ben Sessions. If you need an Atlanta DUI lawyer, call Ben today for a consultation.
AN ATLANTA DUI LAWYER WITH TRUE LOCAL PRESENCE, CONNECTIONS, AND UNDERSTANDING OF THESE CASES.
Knowing the courts and processes by which a DUI case will be prosecuted is crucial to a successful defense. You will not find an Atlanta DUI lawyer that knows ins and outs of the court in and around Atlanta, GA, better than Ben Sessions of The Sessions Law Firm, LLC.
BE WARY OF CONNECTIONS AS THE WAY OF CHOOSING AN ATLANTA DUI LAWYER
Video: “Be Wary of Connections As The Way of Choosing a DUI Lawyer”
When you're trying to select a DUI attorney in your case, one of the things that you really need to be cautious of, is a lawyer who says that they have a local connection or a local friendship, and that will be the basis for favorably resolving your case. Instead of looking for that type of connection, what you should look for is a lawyer that has knowledge of the local processes and the process by which your case will be prosecuted there in that courthouse, and also has certain external validations of their experience. Number one: Has the lawyer actually tried cases in the last year? Number two: Has the lawyer actually tried cases in that courthouse? Do they understand how it is that the prosecutors in that courthouse work and the process by which your case is actually gonna follow? Number three: Has the lawyer actually received any sort of external validation that cannot be bought with their own paycheck? That is, is the lawyer board-certified, or is the lawyer been recognized as a Super Lawyer here in this state? What you should do is look for these types of indicators, rather than relying upon a lawyer's relationship. That's a much more reliable predictor of whether or not the lawyer can get the job done in your case. If you have a question about your DUI case, feel free to contact me. My name is Ben Sessions. My office number's 470-225-7710. Again, 470-225-7710. Thank you.
Ben Sessions has successfully defended DUI charges in every court in metro-Atlanta. He has tried DUI jury trials before each of the Judges of the Fulton County State Court. There are other lawyers that have appeared and helped clients plead guilty to DUI charges in each of the courts, but there are very few attorneys that have successfully defended cases in each of the courts in metro-Atlanta.
Ben Sessions is in the courts of Atlanta and Fulton County on an almost daily basis. He served on the City of Atlanta Municipal Court's DUI court planning committee.
ATLANTA DUI LAWYER BEN SESSIONS IS 1 OF 4 BOARD-CERTIFIED DUI LAWYERS IN GEORGIA
If you interview lawyers regarding your Atlanta DUI arrest, you will hear all different types of sales pitches and all different fee ranges. Some will seem to be too good to be true, and – truth be told – at the end of the case, those stories will probably not resemble the lawyer's performance and the fee that seemed very cheap will be very costly to you in the long-term.
Ben Sessions has developed a reputation as a go-to lawyer in cases involving difficult and complex issues. He is a frequent lecturer in Georgia and nationally, and he also serves as a State Delegate for the National College of DUI Defense.
If the defense of your DUI case really matters to you, call The Sessions Law Firm today.
CONTACT OUR ATLANTA DUI DEFENSE ATTORNEYS TODAY
At Sessions Law Firm, we understand the impact a DUI conviction can have on you and your family. Attorney Ben Sessions is dedicated to defending those charged with this serious crime. In fact, he is one of just five attorneys across Georgia to be certified by the National College for DUI Defense. In addition to years of experience, our legal team offers each client an unparalleled level of attention. To learn how our Georgia DUI lawyers can help you, contact Sessions Law Firm today.