DUI Cases In Smyrna Municipal Court

DUI Cases In Smyrna Municipal Court

Smryna, Georgia is a city in south Cobb County that has approximately 55,000 residents.  Smyrna has seen significant growth recently with the redevelopment of a downtown.  This area has numerous new homes, shops, restaurants and watering holes.  With this increase in local nightlife has come an increase in police presence on Smyrna roadways especially at night and on the weekends.  The Smyrna Police Department (SPD) has a reputation for tough enforcement of traffic laws and especially DUIs. The SPD has 98 officer when it is fully staffed and has 2 officers assigned to the DUI Task Force.  In 2014, the SPD made a total of 515 arrests and the two DUI Task Force Officers made 287 of those cases. If you are arrested for DUI in the city limits of Smyrna, your case will start in the Municipal Court of Smyrna located at 2800 King Street, Smyrna, Georgia 30080.  Judge Alton Curtis is the Chief Judge in Smyrna and he has a reputation of being tough but fair.  You and you lawyers will have to decide whether or not to keep the case in Smyrna Municipal Court or “bind the case over” to the State Court of Cobb County in downtown Marietta, Georgia.  As a general rule, municipal courts in Georgia are only allowed to have “judge” or “bench trials”.  If an individual wishes to have a trial by jury, the case must be “bound over” to State Court (or Superior Court if a county does not have a state court).  The decision of where to handle your DUI case is an important one and should be made only...
Georgia DUI Ten Day Letter

Georgia DUI Ten Day Letter

If you are charged with DUI in Georgia, the arresting officer is required to fill out a form from the Georgia Department of Driver’s Services (“DDS”) called a DDS 1205 Form.  If the officer fills out this form, the arrested driver must request a hearing with DDS within 10 business days of his or her arrest.  It should be noted that the driver must also send a $150.00 payment along with the request following the procedures outlined in the form.  If the driver does not request a hearing within the deadline, the driver’s license will be suspended (the time depends on the circumstance of the case) pending the outcome of the criminal case.  The hearing on the DDS 1205 is commonly called an Administrative License Suspension Hearing or an ALS hearing for short.  If you are charged with a DUI by Cobb County PD, Marietta PD, Smyrna PD, Acworth PD, Austell PD, Kennesaw PD, KSU PD, SPSU PD or Powder Springs PD, the ALS hearing will be heard on a Monday morning at 8:30 a.m. in Marietta Municipal Court. Despite the fact that officers are “required” to fill out this form, sometimes they don’t do so for a number of different reasons.  One reason some officers don’t fill out and submit the form is if the arrested driver was cooperative and the officer wants to “cut him or her a break.”  Another reason is that the officer doesn’t want to have to attend an early court appearance for the ALS hearing when they have worked a late “morning watch” shift the night before the hearing.  Just because the officer...
Aggravated Assault versus Attempted Murder Charges in Georgia

Aggravated Assault versus Attempted Murder Charges in Georgia

Most people believe that any crime involving murder will result in the most serious type of criminal charge. But certain technical details involving aggravated assault charges in Georgia make them more challenging to defend — and subject to potentially more severe penalties than even attempted murder convictions. The term, attempted murder states that the defendant performed actions with the specific intent of killing someone. Aggravated assault, on the other hand, states that a defendant used an object on another person that could cause serious injury, whether or not the victim actually suffered injury in the attack, and regardless of intent. According to the Houston County District Attorney, charging aggravated assault offers two distinct advantages for the prosecution: The prosecution does not have to prove the intent of the defendant. For complex reasons, Georgia law imposes a maximum of ten years imprisonment for attempted murder convictions. Aggravated assault carries a 20-year maximum sentence that requires offenders to serve 90 percent of the sentence before qualifying for parole. The burden of proof is on the prosecution in any criminal case, and proving intent in the mind of a defendant is not necessary when the prosecution charges aggravated assault. This is why the prosecution seldom charges attempted murder. But an experienced defense attorney in Georgia still has an arsenal of legal tools and techniques to effectively establish reasonable doubt in the minds of a jury. The attorneys at Gentry, Smith, Dettmering, Morgan, Schnatmeier & Collins, LLP, have more than five decades of combined experience on both the prosecution and the defense side of criminal cases. We remain at your side to protect...
Is an Arrest Warrant More Serious than a Bench Warrant?

Is an Arrest Warrant More Serious than a Bench Warrant?

Both types of warrants are serious. But arrest warrants in Georgia are issued when law enforcement suspects you committed a crime, while bench warrants mean you definitely violated a judicial order. In either case, you need immediate support from an experienced criminal defense lawyer because you are in trouble with the law. Both the U.S. Constitution and the Constitution of the State of Georgia require law enforcement to have probable cause before placing individuals under arrest. If police directly witness a crime, they can immediately place offenders under arrest. Otherwise, they must obtain an arrest warrant by convincing a judge they have good reason to believe someone committed a crime and needs be arrested. But an arrest warrant does not prove guilt. By taking advantage of the Miranda right to an attorney immediately after arrest, some individuals can potentially secure release early in the process. Individuals receive Georgia bench warrants when they fail to appear at a scheduled court date. While judges can theoretically issue bench warrants to individuals who fail to appear for jury duty, they tend to reserve the use of these warrants for more serious situations. For example, when criminal defendants on bail fail to appear in court, judges view them as flight risks. Once police bring them to court, a judge may increase the bond requirements — or hold them in custody without bail until the time of trial. Anyone taken into custody by police needs immediate representation by an experienced criminal defense lawyer. When you retain an attorney from Gentry, Smith, Dettmering, Morgan, Schnatmeier & Collins, LLP, you benefit from a legal team with...
Can I Face Imprisonment if Found Guilty of Marijuana Possession in Georgia?

Can I Face Imprisonment if Found Guilty of Marijuana Possession in Georgia?

The Georgia marijuana possession laws specify harsh penalties for possession of relatively small quantities of marijuana. But the law also provides a number of ways to mitigate the consequences of conviction. Seeking support from an experienced criminal defense attorney can make a difference to the results of your case. Quantity and intent of marijuana possession can greatly affect the penalties. According to the Georgia Drugs and Narcotics Agency, even a person convicted on misdemeanor charges involving one ounce or less of marijuana can face up to $1,000 in fines and up to one year of imprisonment. At the opposite end of the spectrum, the law automatically interprets possession of ten pounds or more as trafficking, which is a felony offense. Depending on the quantity involved, an individual can face between $10,000 and $1,000,000 in fines, with mandatory prison sentences ranging from five to 15 years. On the other hand, the law provides certain flexibility under the right circumstances. For example, individuals with clean criminal records who possess a small amount of marijuana can potentially receive a conditional discharge or probation. Your Georgia defense lawyer may recommend you enroll in a substance abuse program prior to trial to help reduce penalties. Even relatively minor marijuana possession convictions can leave you with a criminal record that affects many aspects of your life, including the ability to find a job. The criminal defense attorneys at Gentry, Smith, Dettmering, Morgan, Schnatmeier & Collins, LLP take all charges seriously and conduct an aggressive defense to obtain the best possible results for your...