CHEROKEE COUNTY DUI LAWYER
If you have been charged with DUI in Cherokee County, Georgia, give us a call to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case with a Cherokee County DUI lawyer. Cherokee County is one of the fastest-growing counties in Georgia and home to the city of Woodstock, which is one of metro Atlanta’s fastest-growing cities. Cherokee County is home to five different incorporated cities – Canton, Ball Ground, Holly Springs, Woodstock, and Waleska. Four of Cherokee County’s five cities have their own police departments and municipal courts that can handle DUI cases.
The county seat is the city of Canton, and Canton DUI cases made by the Canton Police Department are heard initially at the Canton Municipal Court. The city of Ball Ground also has its own police department, and Ball Ground DUI cases are heard initially at Ball Ground Municipal Court. Holly Springs also has its own police department and Holly Springs DUI cases made by the Holly Springs police are first heard at Holly Springs Municipal Court.
Woodstock DUI cases made by the Woodstock police department are initially heard at the Woodstock Municipal Court. All other Cherokee County DUI cases including Waleska DUI cases are generally made by the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office or Georgia State Patrol, and those cases are first heard in Cherokee County State Court in front of one of its three judges.
How Your Cherokee County DUI Case Will Proceed
Municipal Courts do not conduct jury trials. They only conduct bench trials. A bench trial proceeds in generally the same manner as a jury trial, but the critical difference is that one judge decides whether you are guilty or not guilty instead of a panel of six or twelve jurors having to unanimously agree on that decision. All cases made by the Canton, Holly Springs, Woodstock, or Ball Ground police departments are transferred to Cherokee County State Court when you plead “not guilty” and demand a trial by jury.
Generally, most DUI defense attorneys prefer jury trials to bench trials if for no other reason than the math is more favorable when you have six or twelve jurors and only need to persuade one to vote “not guilty” whereas with a judge you have only one shot at a “not guilty” verdict. But there can be times where a judge, particularly a municipal court judge, might be a more favorable audience for your case. This is one of the early strategy decisions that must be made in any Cherokee County DUI case, and it is one of many reasons why it is so important to hire an experienced Cherokee County DUI attorney as soon as possible after your arrest to help you make the best decisions for your defense.
WHAT HAPPENS AT YOUR FIRST COURT APPEARANCE
Whether your case is in Municipal Court or State Court, your first court appearance will be what is referred to as your arraignment. That is your opportunity to go to court, be informed of the formal charges against you, and plead guilty, not guilty, or in some cases nolo contendere or “no contest.”
You may be wondering why you would need to be informed of the charges when you already received citations with your charges from the police. The reason for that is that the prosecutor, usually known as a solicitor in both Municipal Court and State Court, has the authority to change your charges based upon their review of the officer’s report and the evidence in the case.
They can add charges, reduce charges, or dismiss charges. Thus, it is entirely possible that the charges you face when you arrive at court for your arraignment could be different than the citations you received from the police when you bonded out of jail. You are entitled to know the charges against you and to receive a copy of the charging document. That usually happens at the arraignment.
YOU MAY HAVE TWO ARRAIGNMENTS–FIND OUT WHY
If you are charged with a Canton DUI, Ball Ground DUI, Holly Springs DUI, or Woodstock DUI you may have two arraignments. Your first arraignment is in Municipal Court, and if you plead not guilty and demand a jury trial, you will receive a second arraignment usually in Cherokee County State Court after the Cherokee County Solicitor’s Office receives your case and files an accusation in State Court. Most arraignments can be waived, and a not guilty plea entered by your attorney without you having to appear.
If you do not have an attorney by your arraignment date and appear in court the judge will usually address that issue with you. It is always extremely dangerous to try to represent yourself on any DUI case, and the judge will strongly caution you against doing so. The police officer and the government prosecuting you have a talented and experienced attorney on their side as the prosecutor, and you need an experienced DUI defense attorney on your side to provide you the best possible defense for your case.
HOW OUR FIRM SETS ITSELF APART FROM OTHER DUI LAWYERS
DUI defense attorney Jeremy Hayes has experience defending a Cherokee County DUI case. Did you know that Cherokee County’s police officers are trained to conduct DUI investigations the exact same way officers in every other jurisdiction in America are trained to conduct them? They are because DUI investigations are standardized investigations.
That means Cherokee County police officers are held to the exact same standards as every other police officer in every other Georgia county. Thus, when you hire a Cherokee County DUI defense attorney that knows how Georgia officers are trained to conduct DUI investigations, he can review the officer’s investigation to see if they properly administered the standardized field sobriety tests and other aspects of a standardized DUI investigation which he or she is relying upon in bringing a case against you.
Standardized field sobriety tests are the tests that were likely administered to you as part of your officer’s DUI investigation. They include the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test (which is where the officer repeatedly passes a finger or other object back and forth in front of your eyes), the walk-and-turn test, and the one-leg stand test. If standardized field sobriety tests are not administered properly, the results are not reliable evidence against you!
Attorney Jeremy Hayes is a member of the American Association of Premier DUI Attorneys and has special training in using the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) training manuals to evaluate Cherokee County DUI investigations, identify the improper administration of standardized field sobriety testing, and use that information to build your defense to a Cherokee County DUI. Not all DUI attorneys are created equal.
To have the best possible chance at building a successful defense to your Cherokee County DUI case, you need an attorney who not only has the knowledge and experience to be able to attack the foundation of the prosecution’s DUI case – the DUI tests – but one who is willing to devote the time it takes to thoroughly evaluate the case and identify each and every potential problem in the police and prosecution’s case. We see it as our duty to our clients to devote that kind of time to the defense of every DUI case we take on.
It’s how we would want our defense attorney to work for us if we were on the client’s side of the table, and we believe it is the best way to defend Cherokee County DUI cases. As a result, that time investment is built into the fee structure at our firm, and it is why we candidly acknowledge we are likely not going to be your cheapest option for DUI defense. But we also believe that with so much at stake in a Cherokee County DUI, your investment in your own defense and your own future is always worthwhile.
Give us a call today to schedule a consultation to discuss your Cherokee County DUI case.