Cobb County, Georgia, police are making increasing amounts of DUI arrests. It’s important to be informed about the laws, penalties, and procedures related to DUI in Cobb County because it can make all the difference if you are facing this charge. In this blog post, we'll explore eight essential things you need to know about DUI in Cobb County, Georgia, to help you better understand the implications and navigate Cobb’s complex legal system effectively.
- Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Limits
You don’t have to take a breath, blood or urine test. You can refuse all tests. But if you don’t, be aware that the per se blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit in Georgia is 0.08% for driver’s 21 years of age or older. However, for drivers under 21, any detectable amount of alcohol in their system (.02) is considered illegal.
But even if your BAC is below the legal limit, you can still be charged with DUI if you exhibit impaired driving behavior. This is known as a "less safe" DUI charge, where the prosecution doesn't solely rely on BAC levels but also considers your driving behavior and physical condition. If you look and/or sound drunk, this can certainly work against you.
- DUI Penalties
DUI penalties in Cobb County, Georgia, can be severe. Different factors go into what a sentence can include. Factors include your BAC level, prior DUI convictions, presence of an accident, and other circumstances. Some common penalties include:
- License suspension
- Mandatory alcohol education or treatment programs
- Community service
- Ignition interlock device installation
- Jail time
Repeat offenders face harsher penalties under Georgia law, including longer license suspensions, more substantial fines, jail time, etc. You definitely need to understand the potential consequences of a DUI conviction.
- Implied Consent Law
Georgia, like many other states, has an implied consent law, which means that by operating a motor vehicle on the state's roads, you implicitly agree to submit to chemical tests, such as breath, blood, or urine tests, if an officer suspects you of DUI. This is a way for the state to impose penalties on people who refuse tests. Refusing these tests, however, can result in an automatic license suspension.
- The Legal Process
The DUI legal process involves multiple stages, including:
- Arrest: You'll be taken into custody by law enforcement if they have reasonable suspicion to believe you're driving under the influence. This happens mostly on the road, after you have been pulled-over.
- Booking: After arrest, you'll be taken to a police station or county jail, where you'll be processed, including fingerprinting and photographing (”mugshots”).
- Court Appearances: You'll need to attend various court hearings, including an arraignment, pre-trial conferences, and potentially a trial if you plead not guilty. Sometimes you may only have to attend one court appearance; the amount of court appearance depends on various factors.
- Sentencing: If found guilty or if you plead guilty, you'll face sentencing, which may include fines, license suspension, probation, jail and more. This depends on the unique facts and circumstances of your case.
- Seeking a DUI Lawyer
Perhaps the most crucial thing to know when dealing with a DUI charge in Cobb County is the importance of seeking legal representation. An experienced DUI attorney can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. They can:
- Properly assess all the evidence against you.
- Help you understand your rights under Georgia law.
- Negotiate with the prosecution to potentially reduce charges or penalties.
- Provide expert advice on whether to accept a plea bargain or go to trial.
- Cobb County State Court Handles Most DUI Cases
Here are some important things to know about Cobb County State Court:
- Jurisdiction and Cases Handled:
- Cobb County State Court is a limited jurisdiction court located in Cobb County, Georgia. It primarily handles misdemeanor criminal cases, traffic violations, and certain civil cases.
- Misdemeanor cases include offenses like DUI (Driving Under the Influence), shoplifting, simple assault, and other non-felony charges.
- The court also handles some civil cases.
- Judges are elected to the Cobb County State Court
- Court Structure:
- Cobb County State Court is divided into different divisions.
- Judges preside over these divisions, and they are responsible for hearing cases, making legal rulings, and issuing judgments.
- Court Procedures and Appearances:
- Understanding court procedures and appearance requirements is crucial. Failure to appear in court when required can result in warrants for your arrest or adverse legal consequences.
- It's essential to follow court instructions and deadlines, such as responding to legal notices and attending hearings as scheduled.
- The Cobb County Solicitor General’s Office Prosecutes Most DUI Charges
The Cobb County Solicitor General's Office is responsible for handling misdemeanor cases in Cobb County, Georgia. The Solicitor General is Makia Metzger. She is an elected official who serves as the prosecutor for misdemeanor offenses, such as traffic violations, DUI (Driving Under the Influence), and other non-felony crimes within Cobb County. The Cobb County Solicitor General’s Office address is 10 East Park Square, Suite 500,Marietta, GA 30090.
- The Cobb County District Attorney Prosecutes Some DUI Charges
The Cobb County District Attorney’s Office also prosecutes DUI charges in some circumstances. For instance, if it is a felony DUI (a 4th DUI charge within 10 years) or if a felony charge is included among the charges (for example a felony drug charge or a felony gun charge), then the Cobb DA will handle the matter in Cobb County Superior Court. The Cobb County District Attorney is Flynn D. Broady Jr., and the office of the DA is located at 70 Haynes Street, Marietta, GA 30090. DA Broady is an elected official.
We are local Cobb County DUI lawyers. We have the experience and knowledge to help you. When the question arises: “Do you know a local DUI lawyer near me,” you can come to us for help!