Gwinnett County, Georgia, is a populous and fast-growing Atlanta-area county and it is stridently enforcing Driving Under the influence (DUI) laws. As a result, many DUI arrests happen in Gwinnett County. As local Gwinnett County DUI lawyers, we wanted to draft a blog post to explore the unique aspects of DUI in Gwinnett County and what you need to know should you or a loved one get arrested on a DUI charge there.
I. Understanding the DUI Laws in Gwinnett County
Georgia's DUI laws are fully applicable to Gwinnett County:
- Drivers 21 and older are treated differently than drivers under the age of 21. The legal BAC limit is 0.08% for drivers 21 and older.
- Drivers under 21 years of age face the much lower threshold of 0.02%.
- For all drivers penalties can include jail, probation, fines, safety classes and license suspension.
- If your driver’s license is taken, you only have a certain period of time to submit an appeal or utilize an Ignition Interlock Device and save your driving privileges.
- A Gwinnett County DUI lawyer needs to assess your case and determine what your next best steps should be based upon all the evidence. They need to discuss effective tactics and strategies with you.
II. Consequences of DUI in Gwinnett County
The penalties for DUI offenses in Gwinnett County are stringent to deter potential offenders and only increase with subsequent DUI charges. Each new DUI brings increased penalties. The consequences only escalate with each subsequent offense:
- First-time offenders may face fines, a license suspension of up to one year, mandatory DUI school attendance, probation, and safety classes.
- For second-time offenders, the penalties increase significantly, with longer license suspension, enhanced community service requirements, higher fines, jail and other things.
- Third-time offenders face even harsher consequences, including longer jail sentences and the possibility of being labeled as habitual violators.
- A fourth DUI within 10 years is a felony under Georgia law.
Gwinnett County Has City/Municipal Courts
Gwinnett County has a number of cities and unincorporated areas, including:
- Berkeley Lake
- Peachtree Corners
- Rest Haven
- Sugar Hill
Most Gwinnett County cities have their own city or municipal courts. And each court has its own judges, prosecutors, and procedures for handling DUI charges.
Gwinnett County Recorder’s Court
The Gwinnett County Recorder's Court handles many DUI cases. It is a court with limited jurisdiction. The Gwinnett County Recorder’s Court primarily handles misdemeanor cases and traffic offenses that occur within the boundaries of Gwinnett County. Here are some key points about the Gwinnett County Recorder's Court:
- Jurisdiction: Gwinnett County Recorder's Court has limited jurisdiction; it does not handle felony cases. Rather, it deals with misdemeanor offenses and traffic violations, including traffic tickets, and DUI cases.
- Traffic Offenses: The court processes traffic citations issued by law enforcement officers within Gwinnett County. Defendants can sometimes choose to pay the fine or contest the ticket in court. Sometimes a court appearance is mandatory. When charged with a DUI a court appearance is mandatory.
- Misdemeanor Cases: The court hears cases involving misdemeanor offenses, which are less serious crimes compared to felonies. These offenses typically carry a maximum punishment of up to one year in jail.
- Judges: The court is presided over by appointed judges who are responsible for overseeing the cases and making rulings based on the evidence presented and the law.
- Proceedings: The court proceedings in Recorder's Court are generally less formal than those in higher courts, as jury trials are not available in Recorder’s Court.
- Appeals: If a defendant disagrees with the court's decision, they have the right to appeal the ruling.
- Location: The Gwinnett County Recorder's Court is located in Lawrenceville, the county seat of Gwinnett County. The address of the court is 115 Stone Mountain St. Lawrenceville, GA. 30046.
The Gwinnett County State Court
The Gwinnett County State Court handles many DUI cases.
The Gwinnett County State Court is a trial court of limited jurisdiction located in Gwinnett County, Georgia. It has the authority to hear a wide range of cases, including civil and criminal matters, and conduct jury trials. Here are some key points about the Gwinnett County State Court:
- Jurisdiction: Gwinnett County State Court has limited jurisdiction, meaning it handles certain types of cases but not all. It has the authority to hear civil cases involving claims of up to a certain dollar amount and misdemeanor criminal offenses.
- Civil Cases: The State Court hears civil disputes. These cases can include contract disputes, property damage claims, personal injury claims, and other civil matters where the amount in controversy falls within the court's jurisdictional limit.
- Misdemeanor Criminal Cases: The State Court has jurisdiction over misdemeanor criminal offenses. Misdemeanors are less serious offenses than felonies and typically carry a maximum punishment of up to 12 months in jail.
- Judges: The court is presided over by elected judges who are responsible for overseeing the cases, conducting trials, and making legal decisions based on the evidence presented and the law.
- Proceedings: Like other courts of limited jurisdiction, the Gwinnett County State Court proceedings are less formal compared to higher courts, but defendants still have the right to legal representation and to present their case.
- Appeals: If a party disagrees with the decision of the State Court, they have the right to appeal the ruling. The case may then be transferred to a higher court, such as the Superior Court or the Court of Appeals, for further review.
- Location: The Gwinnett County State Court is located in Lawrenceville, GA. The court’s address is 75 Langley Dr, Lawrenceville, GA 30046.
If someone needs a local Gwinnett County DUI lawyer, we are here to help! Call us now for a free case evaluation.