Our Atlanta Criminal Defense Attorneys handle misdemeanor, felony, juvenile, and DUI cases in Fulton County. Our team of criminal lawyers includes former prosecutors and DUI experts. We work together drawing on more than 50 years of experience. We know firsthand how police officers, prosecutors, and district attorneys put together cases because we used to be in their shoes. We have the playbook. Now we use this firsthand knowledge to your advantage when fighting criminal charges.
We know that just because you have been accused of a crime, it doesn't mean that you deserve to be treated like a criminal! The prosecution still has to build a convincing case against you and establish that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a high standard, and our criminal lawyers in Atlanta are skilled in creating gaps in their arguments and creating uncertainty in the minds of the judge or jury. Our priorities are to protect your freedom, keep you out of jail, and make sure you can get back to your life. The stakes couldn't be higher than when you face a criminal charge. That is why you should be wise in selecting the best criminal defense attorney in Georgia with the right experience, knowledge, and background in resolving cases just like yours.
What Sets Us Apart as Atlanta Criminal Lawyers
There are hundreds of competent criminal lawyers in Atlanta, but you need the best if charged with a crime. Our attorneys at Lawson and Berry act fast, every day of the week. If you or someone you love is in jail or has been charged with a crime, call us now. In all likelihood, we have seen your situation many, many times before. However, this does not mean we approach it the same way. We understand that every case is different, and we will take the time to thoroughly investigate your case. We will spend time listening to your side of the story and finding the evidence to help support it. Whether it is visiting the scene of the incident, interviewing witnesses, consulting doctors, we are willing to do whatever it takes to achieve the best result in your case.
Full Access to Your Attorney
At Lawson and Berry, we put a premium on the accessibility of our Atlanta criminal lawyers and support staff. We are here to provide moral and emotional support as well as excellent legal representation. We do this by utilizing two important policies:
- Every call, email, or text is returned within 24 hours; and
- Our clients get the personal cell phone number of his/her attorney.
Not only does this provide you the assurance of knowing you can reach your criminal lawyer in Atlanta at critical times, but it helps us do our job more effectively. Lawyers that do keep in close contact with their clients often miss out on essential details of the case. They also tend to forego their clients' needs for the case and go with the most convenient option for them. However, our lawyers want to hear from you! We will work together to build up your case and present the best defense possible.
In addition to being easily accessible to you, one of our most important roles as your Atlanta criminal defense attorney is to be honest with you and remain objective throughout the process. Being charged with a crime can leave you depressed, angry, embarrassed, or discouraged. While we understand your feelings, we will offer insight into how your case is looking and give you regular assessments on what is likely to happen in the near future.
Proactive Approach to Your Case
Some criminal defense attorneys in Atlanta choose to take a wait-and-see approach. They wait until after the first court date to start investigating and planning your defense. In contrast, we believe there is no time to waste, and there is a lot to gain by early action. Critical information can be discovered the first few days after an arrest, or even before formal charges have been filed. Our research can reveal false accusation errors, uncover discrepancies in the blood or breath test, and identify exculpatory evidence. Because we get to work immediately, we often find favorable evidence for your defense and get a head start of fighting your charges!
Former Prosecutors On Your Side
One of the reasons that our Atlanta criminal lawyers are able to obtain excellent outcomes is because we have a competitive edge. With former prosecutors on your side, they know the arguments and cases used to convict because they used to do it! They know how to make the law work to your advantage.
Having this experience is invaluable to your case. Navigating the criminal process can be very difficult, but having a lawyer that has been on the other side and knows exactly what to expect is a significant advantage.
Experience with Atlanta Courts
Every county and every courthouse has its own way of doing things. Navigating the Atlanta legal system is extremely complicated. There are multiple courts, and your case may get bounced around. While there are written rules that must be obeyed, there are often many “unwritten rules” that go along with each court. With our 50 combined years of experience, our Atlanta criminal lawyers have practiced in Atlanta courts hundreds of times. What can be intimidating to other lawyers is a weekly, sometimes daily, occurrence for us. By working in and out of the same places, we develop trusting relationships with judges, prosecutors, probation officers, and court staff. Furthermore, we know how things work in Atlanta courtrooms, and we have learned whom to talk to and the most effective way to get the job done.
Our Atlanta Criminal Attorneys practice in these courts every week and know these hidden rules. For example, we know which prosecutors are likely to reduce a charge while another will require certain conditions are met first. We will use all of our knowledge to save you time and money by talking to the right person the first time.
Facing criminal charges can be stressful and confusing. Defending against criminal charges requires the assistance of knowledgeable Atlanta criminal attorneys to help you achieve your desired outcome. We believe that great outcomes are accomplished through pretrial investigation that adds reasonable doubt to the prosecution's case. At Lawson and Berry, we have brought together the best team of Atlanta Criminal Lawyers with extensive experience in defending against criminal charges.
Our team is experienced in negotiating plea bargains to help reduce your potential sentence or eliminate some of the charges brought against you. However, we are just as skilled in obtaining favorable outcomes through a trial. Because of our decades of practice in Atlanta courts, we can also discuss an alternative sentencing program for your situation. We will take the time to understand what is the most important goal in your case: staying out of jail, keeping a conviction off your record, or avoiding fines. We will then build a defense around this goal.
History of Success
At Lawson and Berry, our Atlanta criminal lawyers have mastered four skills that we believe make us Georgia's premier defense firm: the ability to investigate, negotiate, provide a technical legal defense, and win at trial.
While investigating may seem like an obvious thing, many lawyers do not give their cases the time and attention they should. We believe in over-investigating our cases to help us gain the upper hand. Information gathering is a critical skill. We continuously ask ourselves, how can we prove this? What did the police miss? Are there phone records, text messages, photos, videos, or witnesses that contradict the police? Evidence can be the difference between success and failure. We are willing to go to the crime scenes, find our own witnesses, and spend hours investigating your case to uncover beneficial evidence. While this is common practice for us, it is not for all lawyers.
Having strong negotiation skills is an invaluable asset for Atlanta criminal defense lawyers. It does not mean bullying others into getting what we want, nor does it mean whining or pleading with prosecutors to help us with our case. We are powerful negotiators because we know the ins and outs of our cases and our clients. We sit down and discuss all of the options with our clients to find out what their goals are. Then we work with the prosecutor to accomplish these goals. Negotiating is an art, and our decades of experience have helped us perfect this skill. Our job is to protect your future, your rights, and your freedoms, and negotiation is often the means of achieving those goals.
Providing a technical legal defense is another skill that makes us stand out. Because we practice criminal defense in Atlanta every day, we know the laws inside and out. We study cases to see if we can find an exception for our client. We read and reread discovery. A robust legal defense puts pressure on the prosecution. Having a solid legal basis can sometimes lead to victory but frequently provides additional leverage for settling the case.
Lastly, we know how to win at trial. There are numerous lawyers that refuse to take cases to trial. Our criminal defense attorneys in Atlanta are not one of them. While many cases are settled outside of trial, we are willing to take your case to trial if we think that is where the best chances for success are. We have handled dozens of trials over the years and understand the time and preparation it takes to be successful.
Your Atlanta criminal lawyer needs all of these skills. Trust only the best with your case because your future is at stake. We have developed and mastered these skills over the decades and are ready to use them in your case!
No Case We Can't Handle
Our criminal defense lawyers in Atlanta have over 50 years of experience! With our team of former prosecutors, there is no case we can't handle. We have experience in all areas of criminal law from hijacking to robbery to prescription drug DUI. Every case gets our undivided attention, whether your goal is to avoid a trial or to minimize jail time. Some of the cases we handle every day include:
DUI is one of the most commonly charged crimes in Atlanta. People often underestimate the effects that alcohol or drugs have on their driving. A conviction for driving under the influence in Georgia will not only impact your criminal history but will result in jail time, fines, fees, driving school, license suspension, or other penalties. Our Atlanta criminal attorneys have the technical and scientific knowledge to raise the best defenses in these cases and help you back on the road.
If arrested for DUI in Atlanta, you may have been held in jail overnight or not. If kept overnight, then arraignment is the next step in the DUI process. It is likely to be conducted within a couple of days. If you were not held in jail overnight, there might be more time in between your arrest and your arraignment. However, no matter when your arraignment is, you only have 30 days after your arrest to request an Administrative License Hearing! If you fail to request a hearing or install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle, your license will automatically be suspended by the Department of Driver's Services. Most people are unaware that when you receive a DUI in Georgia, two cases result from your arrest: the criminal case and the Department of Driver Services case.
Atlanta Municipal Court differs from other courts because they have a strict policy where all DUI cases must be either resolved or transferred to Fulton County State Court within 60 days. Because of this short deadline, your attorney must work fast to unearth evidence that you did not do the crime as charged. That is one of the reasons it is critical to hire an Atlanta Criminal Defense Attorney as soon as you are arrested. Once your attorney begins collecting evidence, then they can work with the prosecutor to try and negotiate a plea deal. Entering into a plea deal negates the need for a trial.
However, you have the discretion to request a jury trial. If you ask for one, then your case will be transferred to Fulton County State Court. Once bound over, your case starts over and things move much slower in the State Court. It could take up to a year for your court date.
The decision to continue in Atlanta Municipal Court or request a jury trial should not be made without first consulting a DUI lawyer in Atlanta. Both choices will affect your case, and your future so do not take the decision lightly.
The government is tough on crime but even tougher on the war on drugs. If charged with a drug crime in Atlanta, your reputation, career, and freedom are on the line. You need an Atlanta Criminal Lawyer that understands what you are going through and has the specialized knowledge to handle drug cases successfully. Our attorneys have represented individuals for over 50 years charged with drug cases, from possession of marijuana to prescription drug cases. We have earned the reputation of aggressively fighting cases and obtaining excellent results for our clients.
Many people choose to handle their Atlanta Drug Case on their own because they think they have no defenses available to them. But this could not be further from the truth. Proceeding without a criminal attorney in Atlanta will have dire effects in your case. You may miss a filing deadline where you could have challenged a search of your car, person, or house. Challenging the search in a drug charge case is one of the most successful legal arguments for having your drug charge dismissed. Countless people are unaware that they can challenge the search after the fact and often waive their most valuable defense.
Because Atlanta courts are inundated with cases, it may take a year or more to receive a court date after your arraignment. Due to this, people tend to postpone making decisions about their case, and this can be a terrible mistake. Evidence disappears, witnesses move, and you may miss deadlines to file motions. Hiring an experienced attorney is vital to the success of your case. A conviction for a drug-related crime in Atlanta involves jail time, probation, fees, a license suspension, and possibly a permanent criminal record. Don't wait if charged with a drug offense in Atlanta, call us now.
In Atlanta, people are more likely to be involved in a traffic related offense than any other crime. Our criminal lawyers in Atlanta are frequently contacted by individuals charged with traffic offenses. Some common examples include:
- Driving without a seat belt
- Hit and run
- Reckless driving
- Failure to obey a traffic control device
- Driving without a license
- Driving without insurance
- Failure to maintain lane
- Illegal turn
- Following too closely
Some of these offenses are minor while others are serious accusations that could result in jail time. Our Atlanta Criminal Lawyers help our clients navigate their cases as well as the DMV portion of their cases every day.
If you accumulate 15 points in 2 years in Georgia, your driver's license will be suspended. Additionally, you will be subject to higher insurance rates. However, the right Atlanta Criminal Defense Lawyer will help you fight tickets and traffic violations.
Under Georgia law, there are many types of crimes against a person. They range from misdemeanors to felonies, and the punishments vary from minor fines to life in prison. A large number of people have an adverse reaction when they hear about violent crimes. They assume guilt before they even know the facts of the case. However, our Atlanta Criminal Attorneys know that there is always more to the story. No matter what crime you have been charged with, we can help with your case. Some of the offenses categorized as against a person include:
- Assisted suicide
- Reckless conduct
- Voluntary Manslaughter
All of these crimes have one thing in common: there are defenses available to fight your charge! Do not make the mistake of thinking all the evidence is stacked against you. A proper investigation conducted by a criminal defense attorney in Atlanta will allow you to see your options and may reveal a lack of evidence in your case.
Being charged with a theft crime can be a humiliating and stressful experience. Theft crimes cover a wide range of offenses from shoplifting to extortion to entering auto. We have clients contact us every day with these types of cases and many times it is a result of a misunderstanding. Our criminal lawyers in Atlanta do not hesitate in beginning the investigation of your case. We will work hard to protect your rights and secure the best possible outcome.
A conviction will have far-reaching consequences including hefty fines and jail time. Furthermore, it will damage a person's reputation. Having a conviction can create barriers to finding employment and providing for one's family. We understand how painful this experience is and we know how to obtain favorable results for our clients. We are skilled in negotiating a reduction or dismissal in your case but are just as comfortable challenging the prosecution's evidence against you in a trial. Helping you to avoid a criminal conviction is our one and only objective!
If you are a juvenile charged with a crime in Atlanta, you need to contact a criminal attorney in Atlanta from the very beginning. The juvenile laws vary significantly from other offenses, and juvenile court has its own set of procedures. It is challenging for a general practitioner to jump into a juvenile case and obtain the best possible outcome for your case because they are not involved in juvenile work all the time. However, at Lawson and Berry, we have Atlanta Criminal Attorneys that are immersed in juvenile law.
Our criminal defense attorneys in Atlanta will help you understand the differences between juvenile law and other areas. For instance, if a juvenile is convicted, they will not be found guilty of a crime. Instead, they are determined to be unruly or delinquent. This means that the child will need supervision, treatment, or rehabilitation. Georgia laws state that children do not have the criminal intent to commit a crime; therefore, they are deemed delinquent instead of convicted.
However, there are situations where a child can be prosecuted as an adult. Some of these situations include:
- Voluntary manslaughter
- Armed robbery
- Aggravated battery
- Aggravated child molestation
A minor being prosecuted as an adult is a terrifying thing because their punishment will last their entire life. No matter what crime a juvenile has been charged with, our Criminal Lawyers in Atlanta can help. Defending the charge is our life's work, and we will work tirelessly to protect your child's future.
Like most states, Georgia takes a hard stance against sexually-based offenses by punishing offenders with harsh prison sentences and other undesirable consequences. Sex crimes include sexual battery, child molestation, pimping, rape, and bigamy. In Georgia, sex crimes can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. The most common felony crimes are child molestation and rape.
People charged with rape or other sexually based crimes face intense social stigmas. However, the Atlanta criminal defense lawyers at Lawson and Berry never assume your guilt! We understand that things can be misinterpreted and our purpose is to find the defenses that apply to your case. We do this by building a complete defense that starts with an investigation of the alleged victim and their background. We interview witnesses, visit the crime scene, request discovery from the police stations, and speak to officers. Conducting a full investigation is key to establishing a person's innocence and helping them walk away unscathed from a serious charge like rape. Our attorneys understand that the victim's story is one narrow point of view and that an extensive examination of the incident must be covered.
If charged with a sex crime in Atlanta, call of our of Atlanta Criminal Attorneys to discuss your rights.
Fraud is a broad term that encompasses multiple offenses including dishonest or fraudulent acts. Fraud offenses include some sort of false statement, misrepresentation, or deceitful conduct. In Atlanta, fraud crimes can manifest themselves in many ways including:
- Identity theft
- Computer theft
- Deposit account fraud
- False report of a crime
Fraud crimes require the expertise of an Atlanta Criminal Lawyer because there can be two cases brought against you: a criminal case and a civil case. The State has their case against you, but the victims can also bring a case for restitution.
The penalties for a fraud conviction in Atlanta are severe. It generally comes with a prison term and a hefty fine. The best way to avoid these consequences is to hire a criminal defense attorney in Atlanta immediately.
Crimes involving other people include conspiracy, solicitation, RICO, attempt, and gang activity. These offenses are heavily penalized in Atlanta and require the expertise of an Atlanta Crimes Involving Other Parties Lawyer. Various Georgia criminal defenses apply to your case. We have over 50 years of experience in Atlanta Criminal Law and are prepared to assist with your case today.
Drug crimes are at an all-time high in Atlanta, but there is another category of drug crimes that relate to dangerous drugs. These offenses include:
- Intentional inhalation of model glue
- Possession or sale of counterfeit substances
- Prescribing or ordering dangerous drugs
- Failure to label a container of dangerous drugs
All of these crimes have one thing in common: they need an Atlanta Dangerous Drug Crime Lawyer! We have unparalleled experience with drug crimes in Atlanta, and we are Georgia's premier criminal defense firm. Contact us now and discover how we can assist with your case.
There are over 4 million people that live in Atlanta, and so many of them have computers, smartphones, laptops, tablets, and other electronic devices. The crimes surrounding these devices are highly technical, and case law is still being established for these offenses. Because of this, you need an Atlanta Computer Security Crime Attorney that is progressive in their approach to your case. Our lawyers scour through all of the upcoming laws to make sure we provide you with the best defense. We go to trainings on recent case developments and technological advances. We understand how stressful it is to be charged with a crime and we want to assist you! Contact an Atlanta Criminal Attorney today to discuss your case.
Animals are an important part of our lives, and there are negative stigmas attached to people charged with a crime involving animals. Some of the crimes include:
- Abandonment of dogs
- Cruelty to animals
- Cruelty to dogs
- Livestock running at large
No matter what type of crime, our Criminal Lawyers in Atlanta can assist with your case. Our decades of experience will help resolve your case in an efficient and effective outcome.
Our Criminal Attorneys in Atlanta frequently receive calls concerning crimes related to public health or morals. These include gambling-related offenses, pyramid schemes, soliciting a bribe to influence an athletic contest, and more. No matter what you have been charged with, rest assured that our Atlanta Criminal Defense Attorneys can handle your case.
In Atlanta, crimes against public administration include bribery, obstructing a law enforcement officer, transmitting a false report of a crime, or violation of oath by a public officer. While some of these seem like minor crimes compared to other offenses, they will still have an impact on your future. The majority of these crimes are treated as a felony conviction. The penalties of a felony conviction extend beyond fines and prison time. It can also make it difficult to obtain employment, housing, or even credit with a felony on your record. To protect your rights, you need an Atlanta Criminal Attorney.
Crimes involving obscenity have been around for hundreds of years, but it wasn't until the 20th century that the Supreme Court started to hear numerous cases and had to address the issue. The Supreme Court came up with a 3 part test from the case of Miller v. California to define obscenity:
- Whether the average person would find the work appeals to the reasonable interest
- Whether the materials lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value; and
- Whether the material depicts or describes sexual conduct in a patently offensive way.
Obscenity crimes are difficult because each person has a different view on what reasonable is. This can be used to your advantage if you have an experienced Atlanta Criminal Lawyer. We know what defenses work best in your case and are prepared to help you now.
Georgia has a variety of laws that govern the possession, use, and ownership of firearms. There are a slew of charges you could face in connection with a weapon. Some examples of weapon charges include: carrying a firearm without a license, possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony, pointing or aiming a gun at another, and unlawful possession of a firearm. No matter the charge, our weapon lawyers in Atlanta can help fight your case. We will take the time to thoroughly investigate your case, and present all applicable defenses. While most weapon offenses are charged as misdemeanors, you could lose your ability to possess a firearm in the future. Therefore, contact us before you just plead guilty. There are always Georgia Criminal Defenses that apply. Call us to discuss your today.
While the penalties for any criminal conviction can be significant, being under the age of 21 usually enhances the penalties. Those who are under 21 years of age are at risk for life changing consequences. It is critical to hire an Atlanta Criminal Attorney if charged with a crime and under 21 years old. The penalties can range from license suspensions to jail time to permanent records. We frequently fight for the rights of those under 21 because we understand that a conviction can impact their ability to go to college, graduate, obtain a job, and more. Because the laws greatly differ between being over 21 and being under, it is imperative that you hire an attorney who has defended these cases before.
Some of the cases we have handled for those under 21 years of age in Atlanta include:
- Driving under the influence
- Minor in possession
- Shoplifting charges
- Traffic tickets
- Curfew violation
- Criminal damage to property
Our criminal attorneys in Atlanta are here to assist you no matter your situation. Do not think your case is beyond help! Call now.
Out of State Resident Charged in Atlanta, Georgia
Being charged with a crime is stressful all on its own. However, being accused of a crime in another state adds a whole new level of stress and complications. Whether you were just passing through Atlanta or here on business, it is difficult to defend a case when you live in another state. Many people make the mistake of not fighting their charge because they don't have the time to devote to it, don't have the money to travel back and forth, or just don't want to worry about it. While it can be difficult when you live in another state, it is nothing that our Atlanta criminal lawyers have not handled hundreds of times.
Whether you were charged with shoplifting, DUI, battery, or writing a bad check, we can help you. Our Atlanta Criminal Attorneys have over 50 years of experience. Most of our attorneys were former prosecutors, so they have the inside knowledge that gives you a significant advantage.
If arrested for DUI in Atlanta as an out of state resident, it can be difficult to go back home. If you drove to Atlanta, you are unable to drive home because your license will have been confiscated. Flying home can also pose some difficulties because you cannot present your id to get past airport security. These are just some of the considerations our criminal defense lawyers in Atlanta can help walk you through after you have been charged with a DUI in Georgia.
If charged with a traffic violation, people often do not know that the Georgia Department of Driver Services will report the violation to your home state. This could result in additional undisclosed fines and penalties.
Because the laws differ from state to state, you need to hire an Atlanta Criminal Defense Lawyer. No matter what type of crime you have been charged with, there are defenses at your disposal. However, hiring an attorney from the very beginning is crucial to protect your rights. Call now, and we will take some of the stress from you and begin preparing your defense immediately.
Whether an Atlanta resident or out of state resident, you should carefully explore all possible opportunities with a criminal defense lawyer in Atlanta. We will try to reduce your charge so that you can avoid unnecessary punishments.
We Take a Proactive Approach to Your Case
Many Atlanta Criminal Lawyers take a wait and see approach. They wait around for the first court date before they start working on your case. At Lawson and Berry, we believe there is no time to waste! The most critical window for defense work may be the first few days following an arrest and before the first court date. Because we get to work immediately on your case, we can locate evidence and witnesses getting the most recent information.
Atlanta Criminal Defenses
If you have been charged with a crime, our Atlanta Criminal Attorneys want you to know you have options! Do not plead guilty no matter how much you think the system is against you. The State must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. However, there are numerous defenses we can use to prove your innocence or help reduce the punishments you are facing.
Some criminal defenses available that our Criminal Attorneys in Atlanta will use to fight your case include:
Alibi: An alibi defense is based upon the argument that it was impossible for the accused to commit the crime due to being someone else at the time it was committed.
Statute of Limitations: There are specific time frames that a case must be brought. Therefore, a defense based on the statute of limitations argues that the amount of time that the prosecution had to bring charges has passed, and therefore, the charges must be dropped.
Equal Access: When charged with a drug crime, the equal access defense is one that should be explored. The premise of equal access is essentially that if multiple people had access to the drugs, it is difficult to prove one person exclusively possessed the drugs.
Self-Defense: There are situations where the use of force is justified, and in those situations, the accused will not be charged with a crime. However, there are specific elements that must be present before the use of deadly force is justified. If you believe that you were justified in using force, contact our Criminal Lawyers in Atlanta today.
Defense of Property: In some circumstances, the accused is justified in using force or threatening force when they reasonably believe that such force is necessary to prevent harm.
Consent: Consent can be a defense to multiple crimes such as theft crimes or sex crimes. With regard to theft cases, evidence that the owner agreed to let use the property is a sufficient defense.
Entrapment: Entrapment is an interesting defense because you are not showing that you did not commit a crime, but instead, that you were forced to commit a crime.
Mistake of Fact: A mistake of fact is not a defense, it and of itself. Instead, mistake of fact can insulate the accused from prosecution if it shows that the accused did not have the requisite intent to commit the crime. However, it must be a reasonable mistake to constitute a defense.
Insanity: The insanity defense requires our Atlanta Criminal Defense Attorneys to prove insanity by a preponderance of evidence. It is important to include evidence showing the accused's mental condition at the time of the crime and before and after the offense.
There is not a one defense fits all cases. Instead, arguments must be developed based on the particulars of your case. The defenses you can raise depend upon the crime you have been charged with, criminal history, and the evidence available to you. That is why we take an aggressive approach to your defense. We carefully examine every piece of evidence and will present your options to you.
Our Atlanta Criminal Defense Lawyers have over 50 combined years of experience preparing successful defense strategies for our clients. We understand criminal law and all the intricacies behind it. We also understand how to make the law work for you, instead of against you. With former prosecutors on our team, we have the upper hand because we can predict what defenses they will use against you. Our Criminal Lawyers in Atlanta look at cases from every angle and use our decades of knowledge to develop effective defenses for our clients. Call now for a free case evaluation.
We Know Atlanta Courts
Every county, city, and courthouse has their own way of doing things. The criminal process in Atlanta, Georgia differs significantly from other cities in Georgia. Our Georgia Criminal Attorneys work day in and day out in Fulton County courts. Because of our frequency, we have developed relationships with the judges, prosecutors, probation officers, and court staff. But more importantly, we know how things work. We have learned what approaches work and how to negotiate the best settlement for your case. In addition, there are often “unwritten rules” that people only know after frequent practice in these courts. It is in your best interest to hire an attorney that specializes in criminal law and is acquainted with these courts. Our criminal defense lawyers in Atlanta know the ins and outs of Atlanta courts and are prepared to help no matter where your case is in the process.
The various courts in Fulton County include:
Atlanta Municipal Court
Atlanta Municipal Court handles a variety of cases under state laws and its ordinances. They handle DUI cases, traffic and other moving violations, drug offenses, disorderly conduct cases, and other offenses.
Most cases are able to be resolved in municipal court, but there are circumstances where a trial in Fulton County State Court may be the best option. If you are unable to resolve your case in Atlanta Municipal Court, then it can be bound over to Fulton County State Court.
The municipal court in Atlanta has created programs that give you the opportunity to complete specific requirements and have your charges dismissed. One of the programs is the Pre Trial Intervention- Traffic (PTIT). PTIT does not apply if there was an accident or if it was a serious traffic offense. If you successfully complete the program, then your ticket will be dismissed. As a result, no points will be added to your license, and the ticket will not appear on your driver's history. There will be a program fee that is calculated based on your ticket. Most of the time it is less than the fine would be if you had decided to plead guilty or nolo contendere. However, you may be asked to take a defensive driving course or another type of class. If you get into PTIT but fail to pay the fee or complete the requirements, then your case will be assigned a new court date.
There is another pre-trial intervention program (PTI) for criminal offenses. Similarly to PTIT, the accused must pay a fine or complete a specified amount of community service hours. Once the conditions have been completed, the individual appears before the judge who will formally dismiss the case.
In both PTI or PTIT programs, having an Atlanta Criminal Lawyer can help expedite the case and answer any questions you may have. While it is possible for individuals to enter the programs on their own, hiring a criminal attorney in Atlanta can help you get into the program and reduce stress during that time.
The City Solicitor for the municipal court in Atlanta is Raines F. Carter, and his office can be contacted at 404.658.6618. Atlanta Municipal Court is located at 150 Garnett Street SW, Atlanta, Georgia 30303.
Magistrate Court of Fulton County
Magistrate courts are county courts that issue warrants, hear minor criminal offenses, and civil claims involving less than $15,000. There are three different types of hearings in Fulton County Magistrate Court: warrant application hearings, preliminary hearings, and bond hearings.
Warrant application hearings occur when a person files a complaint requesting a warrant for the arrest of another person. This can happen when an individual believes they have been a victim of a crime and the police have not taken an arrest warrant for the accused. The cost to file an application is $20 for each person you seek to have arrested. However, if the crime involves an act of despotic violence or a sex crime, there is no fee to file the warrant application. The warrant application must be filed in Carnes Building, 160 Pryor Street, Room J150, and payment must be made to the accounting office. The accounting office is in the Justice Center Tower, 185 Central Avenue, Room TG700. After paying, you must return to room J150 with proof of payment to receive a court date. Each party has the right to be represented by a criminal lawyer in Atlanta.
Magistrate Court of Fulton County has another hearing called a first appearance or bond hearing. The purpose of the hearing is to notify arrested persons of the charges being brought against them. The judge will also determine if bail is to set and whether any conditions of release should be imposed. The Fulton County Magistrate Court holds first appearance hearings Monday through Saturday and even holidays. Misdemeanor first appearance hearings are held at 9:00 a.m. at the Fulton County Jail during the week and 11:00 on Saturdays. Felony first appearance hearings at held at 111:00 during the week and on Saturdays at the Fulton County jail. If the hearing falls on a county holiday, the time will be determined by the judge holding the hearing. The Fulton County Jail is located at 901 Rice Street, Atlanta, Georgia 30318 and can be contacted at 404-613-2000.
Preliminary hearings are held to determine whether there is probable cause to believe the defendant committed the alleged crime(s). This is not the same as the first appearance hearing. If sufficient reason exists, then the case is either sent to Superior Court or State Court. It all turns out whether it is a misdemeanor or a felony. Misdemeanor cases are transferred to Fulton County State Court while felony cases are bound over to Fulton County Superior Court. One of the important things about what happens in Fulton County Magistrate Court is that their decision does not determine the guilt or innocence of the accused. Defendants are entitled to representation by a criminal defense attorney in Atlanta.
The Fulton County Magistrate Court is located at 185 Central Avenue, Atlanta, Georgia 30303. The phone number is 404-613-5360. If you are required to appear in Fulton County Magistrate Court, contact one of our Atlanta Criminal Justice Lawyers.
Fulton County State Court
Fulton County State Court oversees the prosecution of misdemeanor crimes committed in Fulton County, Georgia. They are able to hear cases, issue search and arrest warrants, and hold preliminary hearings. Some of the misdemeanor cases that they have jurisdiction over include traffic violations, misdemeanor drug cases.
One of the programs that Fulton County State Court promotes is DUI Court. The program is a collaboration between the judge, prosecutor, defense attorney, case manager, and probation office. The goal of DUI Court is to help the accused make some lifestyle changes so they can avoid prosecution in the future. It is an intense program that requires the participant to:
- Complete a clinical assessment and evaluation
- Enroll in substance abuse treatment
- Submit to random drug screenings
- Pay $50 a week for treatment fee
- Attend community support groups weekly
- Complete an approved DUI/Risk Reduction program
- Participate in compliance reviews
While DUI Court seems like a great option, it is not one to enter into lightly. The requirements are time intensive and missing just one thing will be grounds for dismissal from the program. The Fulton County DUI Court is not the solution for everyone so do not enter into the program without first consulting a criminal defense lawyer in Atlanta. We are intimately familiar with this program and will thoroughly explain your options to you. We will look at all possible defenses and all alternatives before advising if it is a good option in your case.
For information about the State Court in Fulton County, you can contact them at 404-613-5085. Fulton County State Court is located at 185 Central Ave SW, Atlanta, Georgia 30303.
Fulton County Superior Court
Fulton County Superior Court is Georgia's busiest trial court of general jurisdiction. They have exclusive jurisdiction over felony cases. However, court cases can be transferred to Superior Court if the accused opts to have a jury trial.
The process of how a case proceeds through superior court can be confusing to those who are not experienced in Fulton County. However, our Atlanta Criminal Lawyers have extensive experience practicing in Fulton County Superior Court and are prepared to assist with your case today. At the most basic level, the following is how a case proceeds through the Superior Court in Fulton County:
- First, there is the first appearance hearing. The purpose of this hearing is to establish whether or not there is enough evidence to proceed. Bond is also discussed at this hearing, and the next court date is set.
- Next, there is a preliminary hearing that is also known as “the trial before the trial.” Here, the judge decides, at a more in-depth level, whether there is enough evidence to proceed with prosecution. If your attorney has negotiated a plan, they are taken at this hearing.
- Plea and arraignment hearings are the next step of the criminal process. Discovery requests are filed at this hearing, and negotiated pleas are accepted.
- The pre-trial conference is another meeting that can occur during this time. It is a way for the prosecution and your Criminal Lawyer in Atlanta to discuss your case and try to reach a resolution. If an agreement is unable to be reached, then the case proceeds to trial.
- The motions hearing is a critical step as a case proceeds. At this hearing, your criminal defense attorney in Atlanta will argue the motions they filed on your behalf. These motions may include a motion to suppress evidence based on a violation of your constitutional rights.
- The final stage of the criminal justice process is the trial. It can be a bench trial or a jury trial. A bench trial is where the judge hears the evidence and makes a determination about the case. A jury trial is before a panel of your peers, and they hear the evidence and determine either your innocence or guilt.
Because of the complexity of Superior Court cases in Fulton County and a large number of court appearances, you must hire an Atlanta Criminal Defense Lawyer. We will walk you through every step of the process and make sure your rights are protected from the very beginning. We understand the ins and outs of Fulton County Superior Court and know many of the judges, prosecutors, and court clerks. We understand how the prosecutors think and know how to negotiate the best plea for your case. However, we are also fully prepared to take a case to trial if that is the best choice for your case.
For information about the Superior Court of Fulton County, contact the Clerk, Tina Robison. Her office can be reached at 404-613-5313. The Court's address is 136 Pryor Street, C155, Atlanta, Georgia 30303. Furthermore, the District Attorney's office is charged with the prosecution of all felony charges that result in Fulton County. The current District Attorney is Paul L. Howard, Jr. and his office can be reached at 404-612-4981.
Our Atlanta Criminal Attorneys are Dedicated to Personal Service
One of our many strengths is that we are always accessible to our clients. We will give you the time and attention that is lacking at other law firms. We are always “on call.” Whether you need us during the day, night, on weekends, or even holidays, we will reply to your texts, phone calls, and emails. Our Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyers pride ourselves on always being available to you.
We start every case the same way: by listening. We will take as much time as you need to hear exactly what happened. The police and prosecution will have their story, but it is our job to present yours. That is why we start by listening and understanding your side of it. We don't try to make your story fit in a defense strategy. We develop arguments wholly tailored to your case! The reason we are able to do this is because of our over 50 years of experience in Atlanta Courts. Call us to hear why we are the right Atlanta Criminal Lawyer for you.
A good Atlanta Criminal Defense Attorney will not only make your life easier but will also improve your chances of winning your case or obtaining a more favorable outcome. We accomplish this by doing a thorough investigation of your case, being skilled negotiators, building a strong defense, and having the ability to win at trial. Do not try and handle your case on your own or settle for a court-appointed attorney. Additionally, look out for the criminal lawyers in Atlanta that handle all types of cases. When facing a criminal charge, you need an attorney that only practices criminal law! Do not sacrifice your case by hiring a less experienced attorney. Call us now!
Our talented criminal attorneys in Atlanta are ready to assist you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We are dedicated to fighting for your rights, your reputation, and your liberty. The best way to preserve your rights is to contact us the moment you have been arrested or charged with a crime. Waiting around means that witnesses may disappear, evidence gets lost, and ultimately, compromises your case. Our firm is devoted solely to criminal defense. Personal service and client contact is our priority! No matter if you are a resident of Georgia or an out of state resident, call a Georgia Criminal Lawyer if you have been charged with a crime in Georgia.