Frequently Asked Criminal Questions
A diversion program is a "second-chance" program offered by many prosecutors as an alternative to prosecution. Entry into these programs typically cost $500-$700; however, after successfully completing given requirements such as community service, related courses / programming and restitution / fine payments, the case is dismissed. Most importantly, most prosecutors offer record restriction upon successful completion of the program. These programs are highly recommended because if allowed to participate, the defendant is given a fairly risk-free pre-trial resolution resulting in a case dismissal and arrest record restriction.
Georgia changed the law in 2013 to "restrict" arrest records rather than "expunge" the records. Although the terminology is different, the final result is the same. Record restriction no longer needs to be applied for and should occur automatically based on the resolution of the case. The prosecutor communicates the restriction to the Clerk who communicates it to GBI. For more information on record restriction, click here to go to the GBI website. Click here for more FAQ's with Georgia Justice Project.
No. Although the officer may take the physical license, the privilege of driving is not automatically suspended. DUI-related suspensions do not result from the arrest, but instead from the conviction. Click here to go to the DDS website for more information regarding DUIs and the ramifications of a conviction on one's license; click here to go to the DDS website for more information on license suspensions.
No. The ALS hearing (civil charges) is related, yet separate from the DUI case (criminal charges). Although the disposition of one affects the other, a dismissal of the ALS does not equate to a dismissal of the DUI.
Georgia law allows for two different types of DUI arrests: (1) applicable when the driver's blood alcohol content is over the legal limit (the legal limit depends on the license type and age of the driver) and (2) applicable when the officer has probable cause to believe that the driver was impaired as a result alcohol or drugs. Also, Georgia law allows for a DUI conviction if any amount of marijuana is found in a driver's system.
The appearance of a defendant in Court is generally required regardless of whether there is an attorney retained or not. Although rare for appearances after arraignment, the defendant's presence can be excused at the discretion of the Judge.
Bond money paid with cash directly to the jail or clerk will be returned after a case is completely resolved; it is the same premise for liens put on property in satisfaction of bond payment. Each jurisdiction has its own procedures to return the money back to the surety. Defendants do not receive any monies back that are paid to a bonding agency.