An Atlanta DUI charge can be delivered when an individual commits a DUI offense within the city limits of Atlanta which encompasses Fulton County and a bit of DeKalb County. With a DUI in Atlanta, a Georgia State Patrol Officer, City of Atlanta officer, or even a Georgia Tech police officer can pull somebody over for a DUI charge or for a traffic offense that turns into a DUI. Georgia Tech cases are sent to Fulton County State Court. Some individuals are charged with DUIs through the use of DUI stops in Atlanta, enacted to prevent and prosecute drunk drivers.
The Georgia State Patrol often operates DUI checkpoints in Atlanta. A checkpoint in Atlanta must be well-identified. The checkpoint must be manned by officers familiar with DUI investigations, in terms of how to administer a Field Sobriety Test and spot the signs and manifestations of an impaired driver. Further, the officers must stop all vehicles. There must be a programmatic level in place to determine that the road check or road block is designed specifically for traffic enforcement and not for general crime control. In addition, it must be set up by a supervisor and not an officer in the field.
Checkpoints can take place on any roads. Both Georgia 400 northbound by Lenox Road and the Governor’s Mansion off East Paces Ferry Road are common places for the Georgia State Patrol to set up a roadblock. A roadblock can take place on any road in Georgia that is capable of being driven, as long as it is a public highway. Although the checkpoint can be on any road, usually law enforcement officers will look for people leaving a well-populated area that has good restaurants, shopping, and bars. However, these Atlanta DUI stops are usually not very close to those areas.
Appearing in Court
Atlanta DUI cases begin in the Municipal Court of Atlanta at 8 a.m., usually the day following the arrest. A lawyer may appear for an individual, or the individual can appear for themselves for a status conference on the first day of the case. At that point, the Atlanta Municipal Court judge will ask an individual questions about whether they are going to get a lawyer on the case, handle the case themselves, or apply for a public defender. The judge resets the case after the status conference to inquiry calendar, which may be 60 days after the initial status date after the arrest.
Following that inquiry calendar, there is an opportunity for the state to gather all the evidence such as video tapes and police reports, and make an individual an offer in the case to determine whether they will want to accept the plea bargain. At that point, the state will set the case for a final plea calendar. An individual is obligated to appear for a final plea calendar where they may keep the case in Atlanta, dispose it with a plea, or move it to a bench trial calendar within the Municipal Court of Atlanta, which does not have jurisdiction to have a jury trial on the case. An individual can move the case to the State Court of Fulton County or perhaps DeKalb County, if the case happened in the small part of Atlanta that is DeKalb County.
For someone under the age of 21, the minimum Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) level needed to be charged with a DUI is 0.02. The legal level in Georgia is 0.08, but an individual does not need to have a minimum BAC level of 0.08 to be charged. There are cases that can be made at a lesser standard. A BAC of 0.02 is the per se level for some under 21, 0.04 is the per se level for a commercial trucker, and 0.08 is the per se level for somebody over the age of 21.
The standard of proof in DUI cases in Georgia is where the State must prove the driver was less safe as a result of consuming alcohol. These breathalyzer tests can be administered at any Atlanta DUI stop. However, there is no requirement that an alcohol content be proven to establish a driver as less safe in Georgia.