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A Message from Decatur DUI Attorney Frank Ward
I want to help you avoid the devastating impact of a DUI conviction in Decatur Municipal Court. I want to fight to save your driver license, your job and the future of your career. A Decatur DUI charge is a serious matter, and you need a good Decatur DUI defense attorney. You are not the first good person to be in this situation, and you will not be the last. I have been been helping good people like you in court for over 12 years, and I have helped many people avoid DUI convictions in Decatur. I look forward to helping you too. Let me fight for you!
Call Right Now to Speak with Mr. Ward at 256-384-5699
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Frequently Asked Questions about Decatur, Alabama Municipal Court DUI Charges.
Is a DUI charge in Decatur Municipal Court a felony or a misdemeanor?
DUI charges in Decatur Municipal Court are misdemeanors, not felonies. In Alabama, felonies can result in imprisonment for more than one year. However, misdemeanors can only result in imprisonment up to one year. In theory, municipal court judges have authority to sentence a person up to one year in jail for a first offense DUI. In practice such a result would be very much out of the ordinary. In most DUI cases, persons convicted of DUI received either a suspended jail sentence or a much shorter jail sentence time the maximum allowable under the law. Every case is different, though, and you should talk to a DUI defense attorney to get a better understanding of what the likely sentence would be if you were convicted of DUI in Decatur Municipal Court for your particular case.
Where is the Decatur Municipal Court located?
The Decatur Municipal Court is located on the second floor of 402 Lee Street NE, Decatur, Alabama. Both the Decatur Municipal Court or Municipal Court Clerk’s office are located on the second floor. You will need to go through the metal detectors to reach your courtroom or the Court Clerk’s office. Just before court times, the line through the metal detectors can get quite backed up. It’s a good idea to arrive at the Municipal Court building about 10 or 15 minutes before your court appearance, so you do not have to stress about being late to the courtroom. The personnel working the metal detectors can help point you to the courtroom if you are uncertain where it is located. Be sure you do not to confuse the Morgan County Courthouse located with the Decatur Municipal Court.
I am not certain when my Decatur Municipal Court DUI court appearance date or time is. How can I find that out?
You can get this information from the Decatur Municipal Court Clerk’s Office, which is located on the second floor of 402 Lee Street NE, Decatur, AL 35601 or call the Clerk’s office at 256-341-4676. If you hire a DUI defense attorney, he or she can also find this out for you.
The Decatur police officer who arrested me took my driver license. Can the police legally do that, and how do I get it back?
Most, but not all DUI arrests, result in the police taking a person’s license even before the person has a court date. Alabama law allows the police to seek to have your license suspended after a DUI arrest, if the police have reasonable grounds to believe you were operating your vehicle on a public roadway while under the influence of alcohol and you either blew over the legal limit or refused to take a breath test. This is a bit of an oversimplification of the law. Mr. Ward would be happy to discuss it in more detail if you call him. Generally, if your driver license was valid at the time of the stop, the police officer will give you a sheet of paper (often yellow, but sometimes white) that acts as a temporary driving permit for a period of 45 days in place of the plastic license that the police took from you. At the end of the 45 days, your driver license will be suspended for a minimum period of 90 days and possibly much longer, depending on your driver license and criminal history. The good news is that there is a process to challenge the driver license suspension, but you must act fast. Your driver license suspension “case” is separate from your Decatur Municipal Court DUI criminal charge. It must be addressed separately from your DUI charge if you want to avoid having your license suspended. You only have a 10-day period under Alabama law in which to request an administrative hearing challenging the suspension.
Mr. Ward has helped many people get their driving privileges back after a DUI arrest by the Decatur Police Department. He has been able to keep many of them from having any driver license suspension at all, and he has been able to get the suspension time of many others reduced dramatically. He would love to talk with you about how he can help you with your driver license.
Is a DUI charge in Decatur Municipal Court different from a DUI charge by the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department or an Alabama State Trooper in Morgan County District Court?
Technically, yes, but for the most part the difference does not matter. A DUI charge in City of Decatur Municipal Court is charged under Decatur Municipal Ordinance 16-1, which makes it an ordinance violation to engage in any conduct in Decatur that would be a misdemeanor under Alabama State law. On the other hand, DUI charges in Morgan County District Court are almost always charged directly under Alabama state law’s DUI statute, Section 32-5A-191 of the Code of Alabama.
Can I get a jury trial on my DUI charge in City of Decatur Municipal Court?
No. Decatur Municipal Court, like all other municipal courts in Alabama only has “bench” trials. A bench trial means the judge is the “finder of fact” in your case, the role of the jury in a jury trial. The “finder of fact” listens to the evidence at trial and decides whether or not the evidence is sufficient to prove the alleged offense beyond a reasonable doubt. While a jury trial is not available in Decatur Municipal Court, by law if you are found guilty in a trial in the City of Decatur, you have a right to appeal your case to the Circuit Court for a new trial before a jury. However, the appeal does not take place automatically, and the deadline to appeal is very short and the notice of appeal must specifically request a jury trial. Rule 30.1 of the Alabama Rules of Criminal Procedure states: “A defendant convicted of an offense in a municipal court or a district court shall have the right to appeal the judgment, within fourteen (14) days of the date of the judgment or the denial of a timely filed postjudgment motion, to the circuit court for a trial de novo.”
Does DUI attorney Frank Ward frequently handle DUI cases in Decatur Municipal Court?
Yes. Mr. Ward has for years represented many individuals who have faced DUI charges in City of Decatur Municipal Court. He has practice law for over 12 years and tried many DUI cases. He has helped many clients accused of DUI in Decatur Municipal Court avoid DUI convictions and protect their driver licenses. He would love to talk with you at no charge and answer your Decatur DUI questions. Call him 24/7 at 256-384-5699.