Your first court date in Fulton County is the arraignment. Your arraignment may be in a municipal court such as Atlanta or Roswell, or it may be in the Fulton County State Court.
If your arraignment is in a municipal court, your Fulton County DUI Lawyer will have two bites at the apple insofar as negotiation is concerned. What that means is that your attorney can attempt to resolve the case with the prosecutor in the municipality. If your lawyer cannot get a favorable outcome in city court, he can then bind the case over to the State Court of Fulton County for a second bite at the apple.
One of the biggest mistakes made by inexperienced DUI lawyers is to automatically send the case to Fulton County State Court without first trying to resolve it in Municipal Court, quite frankly, its inexperience and/or laziness.
In some jurisdictions a favorable outcome in city court is not possible. Inexperienced lawyers who come to city court in Fulton County may assume that it is hopeless as well. Nothing could be further from the truth. In several Fulton County city courts, it is possible to negotiate a reduced charge such as reckless driving. An experienced DUI Lawyer in Fulton County knows at which city courts a reduction is possible.
In the event the case cannot be resolved in municipal court, your lawyer can demand a jury trial in Fulton County State Court. Then, the case will be send to Fulton County. This does not mean you will have a jury trial. It means you have an opportunity to have a jury trial because there are no jury trials in any Fulton County Municipal Court. The only place you can get a jury trial in Fulton County is in the State Court.
Do not attend your state court arraignment without counsel. Your motions must be filed at or before arraignment throughout the State of Georgia. Your motions are the legal challenge to the admission of evidence against you. Many times the motions in your case are the most important part of your defense.
If you attend arraignment without a lawyer, you may waive your right to file motions in your case. As a result, it is essential that you hire a lawyer prior to arraignment. In our next installment we will discuss what exactly are motions and how can they help in your DUI Defense in Fulton County.