If you or someone you care for has been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol in Georgia, you face very serious criminal consequences. This includes potential time in jail and high fines. Certain counties, like Forsyth County, have special DUI courts that promote treatment rather than or in addition to typical criminal penalties.
DUI court has specific eligibility requirements, and participation in the DUI court may not be right for everyone. Understanding the risks and benefits of this program can help protect your rights. An experienced Forsyth County DUI attorney can help you make the right decision.
What is a DUI Court?
A DUI court is a treatment program run by the county court system and is typically intended for repeat DUI offenders. A DUI court is a very strict program, with very specific guidelines that must be followed to the letter. Failure to follow the guidelines imposed by the court can result in additional penalties, loss of negotiated plea agreements, as well as other unanticipated consequences to your criminal record.
Before agreeing to be a part of a DUI court program, it is important to make sure that you are serious about following all of the rules.
Forsyth County DUI Court
The Forsyth County DUI Court is a partnership among the judge, solicitor's office, probation, law enforcement, DUI court office, treatment provider representatives, and defense bar.
It is intended to provide treatment and intervention as an alternative to jail "for the participant who can function in the community with support."
The program is in four phases and lasts a minimum of 18 months.
- Phase 1: Orientation Phase
- Phase 2: Transitional Phase
- Phase 3: Maintenance Phase
- Phase 4: Aftercare Phase
The program provides you an education about drugs and alcohol addiction, treatment for any alleged addiction, a possible alternative to jail time, possible dismissal or reduction of your charges.
To be part of the program, the following criteria must be met.
- The current offense is second DUI, third DUI, or more in 10 years.
- BAC levels ranging from .15-.179 may be referred at the Solicitor General's discretion.
- No prior violent convictions.
- At least 17 years old.
- No more than two felony arrests within the last 10 years;
- Legal documentation to be in the U.S..
- Must not be taking:
- sedatives, or
- any other addictive medications.
Eligible individuals are required to attend weekly group counseling sessions and weekly recovery meetings. DUI court members are not allowed to ingest or consume alcohol, illegal drugs, or non-approved prescription medications at any time. All members of the DUI court may be randomly tested for drugs or alcohol in their system at any time.
Failure to Complete the Program
If you fail to complete the program, you could face the original penalties associated with a DUI charge, as well as additional penalties imposed by the court. Failure is serious, and with the strictness of the rules, it is important to follow each and every one carefully.
Consult a Forsyth County DUI Attorney
Drug court may be the right choice for you. You can avoid jail time, high fines, and get treatment that you may need. With the help of an experienced Forsyth County DUI attorney, you can defend your case to best protect your rights. Contact us today for a free consultation.