Recently, one of the top judges in Georgia made some comments on the status of the state’s judicial system and the access to liberty and justice for all. The judge praised the manner in which specialized DUI courts are helping citizens — mainly because these courts give judges alternatives to jail time, which can be issued to those who qualify. The judge said that people who complete these alternative programs have a 93 percent chance of continuing their lives without further criminal charges.
However, the judge did express concern that individuals who are arrested and accused of DUI are not always obtaining the level of legal service they require. Indeed, six counties in the state of Georgia do not have any legal representatives working in them, and 70 percent of Georgia’s legal representatives are working in just five counties in Atlanta’s metro area alone. Plainly put, the cost of legal representation may sometimes appear too high for people in low-income brackets. As a result, many courts in the state have seen increasing numbers of individuals representing themselves.
According to the judge, people representing themselves tend to lose their cases. He was worried that different categories of people, particularly those in low-income brackets, are not taking advantage of the benefits of legal representation — which is extremely risky. Ultimately, according to the judges comments, the state has taken some incredible leaps forward in helping those accused and/or convicted of DUI to get back to their normal lives again. However, some income individuals may not have access to the enormous benefits of having an attorney advocating on their behalf.
Clearly, most instances of DUI are not examples of a chronic problem, but rather an example of an isolated mistake that may have occurred one time in a person’s life. Nevertheless, punishments related to a drunk driving conviction can be severe. For this reason, anyone who is accused of drunk driving in Georgia must take those accusations seriously if they hope to avoid the stiff penalties that can be associated with a criminal conviction. A well prepared defense could help in achieving a reduction in sentencing, get some or even all of the charges dismissed or in order to qualify for an alternative program in lieu of jail time.
Source: mdjonline.com, Ga top judge Too many lack access to lawyers, Kate Brumback, Feb. 6, 2014