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The most important thing to do if you are facing criminal charges, Hire a Lawyer!

What to do if you are facing criminal charges in Georgia?

It is not unheard of that the otherwise stand-up members of society find themselves embroiled with law enforcement. It is natural for you or your loved one to feel overwhelmed and confused when faced with criminal charges. On such occasions, it is essential to remember that you need to protect yourself. Meaning,  if you have been involved in or suspected of a misdemeanor or a felony in Atlanta, Georgia, you need to calmly and succinctly remember the information related to your case. Not having a clear picture of what happened can be very damaging to your legal defense.

What to do if you have been pulled over for a DUI in Atlanta

Getting hauled for driving under the influence (DUI) is the stuff of everyone’s nightmares. It becomes a real risk if you return from a party or a gathering where you had one too many drinks. The thoughts that pace through most people’s heads are all the penalties, including losing thousands of dollars and your license. You might even think about fleeing the scene. That move can only make things worse.

You need to remember that if you fail to pull your car over when you see the police vehicle behind you showing its lights or sounding sirens, you may be charged for fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer. The law in Georgia law is unambiguous, “it shall be unlawful for any driver of a vehicle wilfully to fail or refuse to bring his or her vehicle to a stop or otherwise to flee or attempt to elude a pursuing police vehicle or police officer when given a visual or an audible signal to bring the vehicle to a stop.”

Where you hurt in a car accident in Atlanta. Call Attorney Tom

Don’t let the Big Insurance Companies Win! Let our Personal Injury Lawyers Work for You.

Atlanta Car Crash Attorney

Car and auto accidents can be frightening and damaging. But what aggravates the debilitating effect of an accident are the medical bills that often follow in the aftermath of a motor vehicle crash. Besides missing workdays, finding alternate transport and the uncertainty of when you will be back on your feet only makes things more complicated. To top it all, you may need to go through a plethora of paperwork and a legal labyrinth, which only makes you feel overwhelmed. While you may think that you can look into the paperwork yourself for the claims after an accident, you may not be up to it, depending on your injuries. After an accident, you need to give your body time to recover and heal from the injuries and the trauma. However, since the statute of limitations of Georgia gives you only two years to file your personal injury claim, you or your loved one may not have enough time, energy, or strength to prepare the documents and evidence required for a successful claim. This is where a personal injury lawyer in Atlanta can help you. Reaching out to a personal injury lawyer swiftly after the injury will give you time to recuperate at your own pace without worry without having to navigate a myriad of paperwork, document, evidence, etc.

Georgia Gun possession and Federal Regulation
On a regular basis, I get questions regarding a persons right to possess a firearm. Many cases I defend have direct implications regarding my client’s right to possess firearms.
Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm in 18 U.S.C. § 922(g) also called the Gun Control Act.

Bonding out of Jail in Fulton, Cobb, Gwinnett and Dekalb County Georgia

I received a call regarding someone arrested for driving without a Georgia driver's license. 
This is a misdemeanor in the State of Georgia and carries the same penalties as driving on a suspended license.

He was in the City of Atlanta jail.  At his first court appearance, he was advised of his charges 
and told there was no bond set. Court was continued for a week. He would lose his job if he was
in jail for another week. His friend googled Atlanta Georgia suspended license charges in the City of Atlanta with no bond and found my criminal defense law firm. He called me for help.  

My client was out of jail that afternoon. 

If you've been arrested and remain in jail with no bond, I can file a petition with the the court to 
set bond in your case.  Arrests that occur on weekends, holidays and 
when courts are closed can be much more difficult to get bond 
 In this specific case, the person was arrested, was not giving a bond when he was processed at the jail.  He went to court and his case was reset for one week for a judge to address bond. This case involved the city of Atlanta Municipal Court and the city of Atlanta Detention Center. (ACDC) 

Every city and county jail has different rules and procedures regarding no bond cases. Each 
situation is very fact specific. It could take a week or more to see a judge who can set a bond. 
Serious misdemeanors and felonies may require an appearance in front of a Superior Court Judge.Violent felonies could take 30 days or more to get bond.  If you are on active probation, you may not get a bond. If you were arrested without a warrant, the law requires that you must be brought before a judge judge within 48 hours of arrest. If you were arrested by a police officer or detectivewith an warrant, you must be brought before a judge within 72 hours from the time of your arrest.Failure to follow these time frames could result in your release form jail.

If you've been arrested and charged with a misdemeanor or felony and have a scheduled court 
date to appear in any Georgia court; city, county, state, superior, magistrate, or recorders court, 
call me now. I offer a free initial consultation and will answer all your questions and explain your options. 

You might not have to wait in jail for your next court date to get a bond.  If you or someone you know is in trouble with the law, don't waste precious time!
Start your defense.
Thomas C. Nagel
Attorney at Law
5855 Sandy Springs Circle
Suite 150
Atlanta, Georgia 30328
404-255-7373 fax

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I am often asked about how to keep points off of one’s driving record. In my opinion, the real issue is keeping the charges from going on your driving record alltogether. Once an offense is lodged on your driving record, it stays there for life. Many people think auto insurance companies use the points system to determine there rates. They do review your record, but they are more concerned with the offenses that show up versus the points for an offense. For example, A DUI conviction has no points associated with it because it carries an automatic license suspension. You can be sure they will hold it against you even though no points are associated with it.

In the State of Georgia, if you are convicted of a driving offense, points will be added to your record. If you accumulate 15 points in a two year period, you will be subject to a suspension of your license. Georgia Code Section 40-5-57 lays out the points system. Different rules apply if you are under 21 or under 18 years old. If you are under 21 and are convicted of a traffic offense that carries 4 or more points, a licenses suspension will occur. If you are 18 or under, the accumulation of 4 points will result in a license suspension. That means two 2-point offenses will result in a license suspension.

Some people think driving offenses “come off your record” after a certain period of time. This is not true. Everything stays on your driving record for life.

In many cases, a driver may be over-charged or not charged with the correct offense they committed. In these cases I can negotiate with the prosecutor to have your charges modified, reduced or even dismissed. This makes a big difference when it comes time to renew your Georgia auto insurance.

In these times of economic uncertainty, most people charged with violations of Georgia traffic law believe its too expensive to hire an attorney to represent them in traffic court. Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish. An experienced traffic court attorney will be able to preserve your good record which will save you handsomely in the long run.
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Basic Rules of Court Conduct
If you have been ordered to appear in court, this blogpost will provide important information that will assist you before your appearance. This information does not constitute legal advice. If you require legal assistance, please consult an attorney.

When Appearing in Court
· Be on time · Throw away gum, food, and drinks before entering the courthouse · Stand when the judge enters and leaves the courtroom · Stand when you are speaking to the judge · Speak clearly when you respond to the judge’s questions · Always address the judge. If you are unsure of what you heard, wait until the judge or other person speaking at your hearing has finished talking before asking a question · Enter and leave the courtroom quietly, so you do not disturb others · Only approach the bench when instructed to do so
Dressing for Court
If you are appearing in court you should dress nicely and in a manner that shows respect for the court.

Here are some things you should NOT wear:
· Hats inside the courtroom (except those worn for religious purpose)
· Sunglasses · T-shirts depicting violence, sexual acts, profanity, or illegal drugs · Tube or halter tops/plunging necklines/midriffs · Ripped or torn jeans · Mini skirts or shorts · Baggy pants that fall below the waist · Muscle shirts (usually worn as undergarments)

If you are not dressed properly, you will be asked to leave the court and return at a later date. This will delay your hearing and require you to appear in court more then once.

Prohibited Item
Items that should NOT enter the courthouse:
· Weapons of any kind · Electronic equipment such as video, voice recorders or cameras (unless approved by the court)
· Food, beverages, chewing gum and tobacco
Children in the Courtroom
Please do not bring children to court unless the court has ordered them to be present. Many topics discussed in the courtroom are not appreciate for children and may be hurtful or confusing. Please arrange for a friend or relative to watch your child(ren) while you are in court.

Cell Phones and Pagers
The use of cell phones are not allowed in the courtroom. Your cell phone or pager must be turned off before entering so that you do not disrupt the court. If you are required to carry a phone or pager for business purposes, it must be placed on silent mode.

Security Precautions
Before entering the court you must go through a security checkpoint. In most cases, you will be asked to walk through a metal detector or an officer will use a wand to check for prohibited items. You should allow the officer to search any bags, packages or personal belongings that will be taken in to the courtroom. If you refuse to cooperate, you may be denied entry to your hearing.

The courtroom is a place of order and structure. You should at all times act in a respectful manner when in the presence of the judge, court staff, attorneys, court officers and other persons attending court. Once the court has made a ruling in your case, continue to be respectful as you exit the courtroom. Attempts to disrupt the court once the judge has made a ruling may result in jail time.

Frequently Asked Questions
What time is my hearing?
If you have question about your case such as the time or date of your hearing, you can contact the court clerk’s office for assistance. You may also ask for directions to the court and the courtroom that you should appear.

What if I need special assistance?
If you have a disability, speak another language, or require special accommodations in the courtroom, please call before your hearing to allow the court tine to properly assist you.
What should I do if I cannot appear at my hearing?
If you are not able to appear in court, contact the court clerk a least 48-hours before your scheduled hearing. If you do not appear at your hearing and fail to notify the court, a warrant may be issued for your arrest in criminal cases. You should also keep in mind that a judge may make a ruling in your case without you being present, such as civil matters like a divorce hearing.
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License Suspensions and Reinstatement in Georgia
I get many calls regarding license suspension cases. Many times the suspension of driving privileges could have easily been avoided. For example, failure to appear in court for a traffic citation will result in your Georgia driver’s license or privilege to drive in the State of Georgia being suspended. Another example involves pleading nolo contendere (Nolo) to a first offense possession less than an ounce of marijuana. Failure to complete a Georgia DUI risk class within the time prescribed by law will result in suspension of driving privileges in the State of Georgia.

Drivers under the age of 21 have a different set of rules. Children under the age of 17 must appear in juvenile court with a parent or guardian to answer to these charges.

Penalties for a first offense driving on a suspended license and driving without a license are harsh. Mandatory minimum $500.00 fine, 2 days in jail and an additional 6-month suspension of driving privileges. Second offenses within a five-year period are punishable by a mandatory $1000.00 fine, ten days in jail and additional 6-month suspension.

Over the last 20 years, I have learned that in many cases, license suspensions can be avoided. When charged in the State of Georgia with the offense of driving on a suspended license or driving without a license, your case can be resolved avoiding mandatory jail time and additional suspension of your driving privileges.

If you have been charged with O.C.G.A. 40-5-121 Driving on a suspended license or driving without a license in the State of Georgia, you need to be represented by an experienced traffic court defense lawyer. Having experienced counsel during this critical period is essential.
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