If you are charged with a DUI in Atlanta Municipal Court, it is never a good thing or a pleasant experience. However, knowing the exact steps to take after the DUI will help you be prepared and make the entire process go by smoother.

For some people, things are better when they are organized. And it is best when faced with a huge problem, such as a DUI.  Luckily, Atlanta Municipal is one of the courts that makes it easier. By invoking a case flow management plan, the Atlanta Municipal DUI court ensures that the final disposition of the case unless bound over to a State Court of Georgia, the final outcome, will be decided with 180 days, or six months.

It is important to appear in court, at the date and time listed on the yellow ticket paper given to you by the police after you are bonded out of jail.   If you hire an attorney prior to your first appearance the court will allow that attorney to appear for you.

Atlanta Municipal Court’s DUI case flow structure  is systematic and generally moves forward with the following court dates:


Arraignment Court Date (Your First Day in Court):

The arraignment occurs within twenty-four to forty-eight hours of arrest.  If you hire counsel prior to this court date the Judge will generally excuse your presence fro this court date and all future court dates with the exception of the final plea court date.  At arraignment Judge Ward of the Atlanta Municipal Court will inform you of your rights and the charges you are facing in his court.  Generally he will not allow you to enter a plea of guilty and the case will be reset for you to hire counsel.  It is best to have counsel to represent you at this date.


Inquiry/Status Court Date:

Two weeks, or fourteen days after the arrest, there is a court date where the judge inquires of the prosecutor and the defense lawyers the status of the case. A month into the case, or thirty days, there is another status inquiry with the judge and the prosecuting and defense attorneys.  These court dates are generally to let the court know if the case is progressing as expected or to allow the attorneys to address with the Judge if there are issues involving the case that need to be raised and addressed to keep the case moving through the court system smoothly.


Atlanta Municipal Court’s DUI Court Generally:

Once your lawyer files an entry of appearance, a legal motion notifying the prosecutor you have hired a lawyer and are requesting the evidence in your case, you will not have to appear in court until the day when you must make your final plea in Atlanta Municipal Court: Guilty, or not guilty.  This means that for two months, you and your lawyer can work on the case and decide what is your best way of dealing with the pending DUI.  Your lawyer will make appearances for you, so you do not have to miss work, and he will work everything out himself with the prosecuting attorney without you having to even be there.  If you want to appear in court you may, but once an attorney is hired the Judge only requires you to attend on the final plea court date.


Final Plea Calendar:

By two months, the defendant must announce either: a guilty or not guilty plea.  It is there that the defendant and his attorney must decide whether or not they wants to do a jury trial or not. If you want a jury trial on the final plea date you and your lawyer will ask Judge Ward to send your case to the appropriate State Court of Georgia.  Generally this is Fulton County State Court, but for DUI’s around Moreland Avenue in Atlanta it can also be Dekalb County State Court.  If you move your case to State Court, you will have a new Judge and Prosecutor assigned to your case.  Generally there is a lengthy period of time before your DUI will make it into court again.


Motions Calendars:

If you elect to waive your right to a jury, the court  will place your case on either a motions calendar or trial calendar.   The motions calendar is specifically to raise violations of your constitutionally or legal rights with the Judge and to ask him to make appropriate ruling to limit the admission of this evidence against you in court.

Bench Trial:

A bench trial calendar is available in Atlanta Municipal Court if you are comfortable having a Judge sit as the trier of fact in your case, as opposed to a jury or if you need your case resolved in a short period of time.

Generally speaking the goal of the the Atlanta Municipal Court is to have your case resolved within 180 days of arrest or to let you take your case to the State Court within in 60 days of arrest.