An individual can find information regarding their initial Atlanta DUI court date on their ticket, or the information will be mailed to them. Generally, it is written on the traffic ticket and an individual is given the court date on the day they get out of jail. If something happens to the paperwork, a lawyer can call the solicitor’s office or the court clerk and should be able to hopefully find a new court date or the correct court date.

To understand the other legal processes that must occur on or before an individual’s initial Atlanta DUI court date, it is important that they contact an experienced Atlanta DUI attorney as soon as possible.

Defining an Initial Appearance

An initial appearance is where the person is brought to The Municipal court of Atlanta, told the nature of charges and has an opportunity to plead guilty or not guilty. In the city of Atlanta, the initial appearance occurs the day after the arrest or the following Monday after the arrest. And other jurisdictions will be longer than that. The prosecutor, the judge and the defendant and a lawyer if they have one or the public defender are typically in attendance. However, courtrooms in Georgia are open and anybody can attend.

Impact of a Bond Schedule

As far as a bond, most DUIs are set by schedule and that means that each jurisdiction has a fixed amount of how much the bond will be in a DUI case. As a result, when a person is booked into the jail, the officer will tell the person the amount of their bond. If, for some reason, the person is unable to make a bond, on a misdemeanor case they will be brought before the judge and the judge can go ahead and set a different bond in the case. The judge will read out the charges and then the defendant will have to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. In most cases, the judge who presides at the initial appearance is the same one who presides over the remainder of the case.

Changing the Date

A lawyer can request a continuance to plead not guilty before an individual’s initial Atlanta DUI court date. This will change the court date as well. Most courts, on a first appearance, will reset the court date at least once for an opportunity to get a lawyer. It is not impossible, but it is generally not something that is going to happen over the phone. A person will still need to appear.

Generally, not appearing will lead to a bench warrant. However, a lawyer in many cases, can appear on behalf of the client. Unless a judge puts out a warrant for the person’s arrest, they will not be penalized for not appearing.

If an attorney feels they need to have the client in court to plea and help with their case and answer questions, they will tell the client to attend. But for the most part, a lot of this will happen without the client being there.

Out-of-State

A lawyer may be able to change an individual’s initial Atlanta DUI court date if they are from out-of-state. To do this, they will contact the court and try and change it. More than likely, a court is going to listen to a lawyer much more quickly than they are going to listen to a person from out-of-state or a person from in-state without a lawyer.

Potential Penalties

If a person missed their initial Atlanta DUI court date and failed to appear when they needed to be there, a warrant can be issued for the person’s arrest and the person’s driver’s license can be suspended.

If it is a misdemeanor, in Georgia, more than likely the court is not going to come to the person’s state to extradite them. However, the person’s license can be suspended and, at some point, the person will need to come back to Georgia. An individual should listen to the lawyer and their advice on whether to appear or not.

Preparing for Court

First and foremost, an individual can prepare for their initial DUI court date in Atlanta by dressing nicely, being respectful, speak when spoken to, and be generally well-behaved.

If a person is going to be testifying in a case, an attorney will run them through a question and answer session and a mock cross-examination several times in order to prepare them for what they will face when the prosecutor is asking questions.

Other than that, most of the time, a client is going to sit silent and not say anything. A client may also need to be aware that if they are going to come to court and plead guilty to a DUI that their license will be suspended that day. They will need someone to take them to get a work permit or they may be losing a driver’s license for some period of time.

It is important that an individual be patient, and understand that it could take a couple of months or even years to resolve the case. The individual should know that it will take a couple of weeks to try to get all the discovery from the police reports, the video tapes, et cetera. A trial is a long process, and a person should expect that will be ups and downs throughout the process.