Cobb County DUI Court

Cobb County DUI Court

Alternative Sentencing For DUI In Cobb County, Georgia

Many individuals charged with DUI are not aware that Cobb County State Court offers an alternative sentencing program for individuals charged with DUI. When a driver is arrested in Cobb County for a misdemeanor involving a driving under the influence of alcohol offense or driving under the influence of drugs, he or she is randomly assigned to one of the Cobb County State Court judges. Although most Cobb County State Court judges are similar in the way they typically sentence DUI offenders, sometimes sentences can vary depending upon to which judge a defendant’s case is assigned. For this reason, it is important to hire a local Cobb County attorney who is very familiar with each judge’s reputation for sentencing individuals charged with DUI.
Under certain circumstances, it may be preferable to apply for DUI Court, which is best suited to those individuals who have been convicted of prior DUI offenses. An individual’s election to participate in the program is voluntary, so one cannot be assigned to DUI court unless and until one applies for admission to it. Once admitted, an individual must complete the entire program which requires a 24-month commitment. This program emphasizes treatment rather than punishment or incarceration, offering counseling which focuses on drug and/or alcohol abuse.
To be eligible for the program, applicants must:

  • be charged with their 2nd DUI in ten years or 3rd or more in their lifetime;
  • have sufficient charges to support a 24-month sentence (In other words, the defendant must be charged with at least two misdemeanor charges to which he will be pleading, such as DUI and Failure to Maintain a Lane, or DUI and running a red light);
  • reside in Cobb County (However, there are exceptions to this rule. For example if the county in which he lives offers a similar type of DUI court, he may plead guilty to his charge in Cobb County and his sentence may be monitored in his county of residence. Fulton County and Cobb County offer such an arrangement. The defendant must seek approval for this allowance prior to entering a plea.);
  • be 17 years of age or older. If one was 16 years of age or younger at the time of one’s offense, the case will be handled in Cobb County Juvenile Court and one is not eligible for State Court DUI Court;
  • possess no prior convictions for violent felonies or any pending charges;
  • possess no out-of-state warrants;
  • not be attached to an immigration hold, frequently referred to as an “ICE Hold.”

Benefits of the Program

  • less jail time
  • a reduction in fines by one half upon successful completion of the program
  • community service credit of 200 hours upon successful completion of all requirements of the program (especially significant in the cases where an individual must complete 240 hours of community service on a 2nd DUI within 10 years)
  • affordable treatment and alcohol testing
  • support in achieving sobriety

Drawbacks to participation in the program

  • more frequent drug testing
  • very close and more structured supervision
  • cost of $75 a week for the program
  • time/obligations to attend all counseling sessions, group sessions, and DUI court sessions
  • ambiguous length of the program. DUI court is divided into five phases with minimum durations. The length of time a participant remains in a phase depends upon his level of compliance with the program. The requirements of the program decrease with each phase. If one is on regular probation based on a DUI plea, one has a termination date for his probation. The amount of probation cannot be increased once an individual is sentenced for a DUI.

Phases of Program
Phase I:

  • Court – attend one-hour court session every other Tuesday at 4 pm.
  • Group Treatment – twice per week – Tues: 7:30-9pm, Thurs: 7:30-9pm
  • Individual Treatment – once per week
  • Family Group Session – once per month
  • Support Group Meeting – four per week: AA, NA, SMART Recovery, or MADD

Phase II:

  • Court – attend one-hour court session every other Tuesday at 4 pm.
  • Group Treatment – twice per week – Tues: 7:30-9pm, Thurs: 7:30-9pm
  • Individual Treatment – twice per month
  • Family Group Session – once per month
  • Support Group Meeting – three per week: AA, NA, SMART Recovery, or MADD

Phase III:

  • Court – attend one-hour court session every other Tuesday at 4 pm.
  • Group Treatment – twice per week – Wed: 7:30-9pm, Friday 7:30-9pm
  • Individual Treatment – once per month
  • Family Group Session – once per month
  • Support Group Meeting – three per week: AA, NA, SMART Recovery, or MADD

Phase IV:

  • Court – attend one-hour court session on the second Tuesday of each month at 4 pm.
  • Group Treatment – every Wed: 7:30-9pm
  • Individual Treatment – once per month
  • Family Group Session – one session during entire phase
  • Support Group Meeting – three per week: AA, NA, SMART Recovery, or MADD

Phase V:

  • Court – attend one-hour court session the second Tuesday of each month at 4 pm.
  • Group Treatment – Fri: 7:30-9pm (second and last of each month only)
  • Individual Treatment – not required
  • Family Group Session – not required
  • Support Group Meeting – three per week: AA, NA, SMART Recovery, or MADD

Drug & Alcohol Testing

Throughout the program, participants are randomly tested at least twice a week. Each day participants call in via phone to a drug testing number to find out if they are to be tested that day. Testing is done at the treatment center between 6 and 7 pm Monday through Friday and 9 through 10 am Saturday and Sunday.

Employment/Education Requirements

All participants must be working or be in school full-time.

It is strongly recommended that you consult with an attorney before you apply for DUI Court, whether in Cobb County or any other jurisdiction. The attorneys at Gentry, Smith, Dettmering, Morgan, Schnatmeier, & Collins LLP can help you decide whether DUI Court is the best course of action for your particular legal situation. Please call us today for a free consultation at 770-771-5097.