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Richard Scott Lawson
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Richard Lawson’s Answers

146 total


  • Is it likely for probation officers to verify community service hours once the letters of completion have been turned in?

    I've completed a good deal of hours and have gotten a letter printed up on the letter head of the community service organization. However it's in my local community and I did not tell the community service provider that I was working toward comple...

    Richard’s Answer

    You could also have an actual time sheet attached to the community service. That could add to the credibility.

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  • Second marijuana possession charge

    Four charges all together, one previous as an adult. Pled nolo and first offenders on first adult charge, served 1 year probation. Facing a $2000 fine and jail time. Would like to push to superior court, need to know if this is a good idea and wha...

    Richard’s Answer

    The decision to move a case to Superior Court should only be made after consulting with an attorney. That is a strategic decision that cannot be undone. If you court is pending in municipal court (for example), it is possible a case can be reduced to a local ordinance that would not be reported on your criminal record. In additional, many superior courts punish repeat offenders more severely than municipal court. Of course, a lawyer familiar with the particular court where you are charged, can advise you as to the punishment you could expect. In addition, a lawyer can advise you of any legal and procedural defenses that may be available in your case. You need representation. I would be happy to speak to you or even refer you to another lawyer. I would rather see you get another lawyer than have you make these important decisions on your own. I feel that strongly about ti.

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  • Atlanta Alternative Choices Corp Diversion Program

    Can anyone tell me about the Alternative Choices program that is utilized in Fulton County? How hard will it be for my attorney to get me into this as a first offender charged with felony theft? How does the program work? She has mentioned it as a...

    Richard’s Answer

    If you are charged with a Felony you may qualify for first offender treatment. The standards in Fulton County are no different than in most places. Your sentencing judge must agree to sentence you under the first offender act. In addition, remember that first offender is a double edge sword. If you successfully complete your probation, you can honestly answer that you are not a convicted felon. However, if you violate probation, you can have your first offender revoked. Then you will become a convicted felon. In addition, the judge can re-sentence you to to the maximum available punishment that was allowed for the charge to which you entered a plea. So, if you are on regular probation for 5 years and violate in year 4, you can be sent to jail for 1 year. If you are on 5 years first offender probation, but the offense had a 10 year maximum, and you violate in year 4, you can be sent to jail for 6 more years. So, before entering into a plea under the first offender act, make sure you plan to have no violations of your probation.

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  • What would most likely be my consequence of theft by shoplifting at a target,was not arrested but has a set court date?

    18 yr old College student, who was influenced to shoplift for the first time with a Misdemeanor case of a value of 25$, target was also paid 500$ in order to drop the charges by parent. Should I mention this in court? Will they have knowledge of t...

    Richard’s Answer

    Ben and Jessica are correct. It is important to take any criminal charge seriously. The decisions you make today are for life. Most of the decisions cannot be revisited later in life. Many courts have pre-trial diversion programs that can result in a dismissal if successfully completed. In addition, as in any criminal charge, you may have legal and procedural defenses to the charge. His an attorney immediately to protect your rights and your future.

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  • What happens at an arrest warrant hearing?

    I have filed an application for arrest warrant for neighbor who trespassed and caused damages. I do not have an attorney, will I ask questions to the accused or will the judge do all questioning? Can I ask for removal of spite fence? Can I ask ...

    Richard’s Answer

    Ms. Veal is correct. I would suggest if you have defenses to hire an attorney prior to the warrant application hearing. Prior to the hearing, your lawyer may be able to broker a settlement between you and the other party that causes the warrant application process to no go forward. If a hearing is necessary, you lawyer can make a record for your that can be used in your defense later on. A properly cross-examined witness against you cannot later change their testimony if they later figure out that there was a more self-serving "memory" of the events. This could be your only chance to question the witness prior to a prosecutor preparing them to testify against you. Don't be penny wise and dollar foolish. Hire an attorney before the warrant application hearing. Too much is on the line.

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  • What is the punishment for a first probation violarion on misdemeanor DUI probation? It is a tehnical violation.

    He failed to appear at a regular probation visit. He has been in constant contact with his PO. He has had no form of trasportation and his PO knew this. He also just got a job and is supposed to start work in less than a week.

    Richard’s Answer

    Most technical violations can be resolved without jail time if the probationer makes a good attempt to resolve the violation. For example, if the violation is failure to complete community service, immediately volunteer over the next couple of days an knock out 20 hours of community service. I have always founds that a probationer will get jail time when his probation officer or sentencing judge loses faith in him. The key is to show good faith by making an attempt to get the condition of probation at least partially done before the hearing date.

    Hiring an attorney can help in the negotiation process. It also shows you have taken the matter seriously. Finally, if taken into custody, your attorney can work on getting you out as soon as possible. Good luck.

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  • I was arrested for DUI last week. This is my second. My first was 21 years ago. I live in Athens GA. What now?

    I did not take any tests at the scene and wasn't offered any at jail. They have me going to Magistrate Court as if it were first offense. I stayed 24 hours in jail and don't want to go back. I am disabled so community service will be dangerous ...

    Richard’s Answer

    The first thing that needs to be done is your ALS Letter, generally referred to as the 10 day letter. DUI Defense has changed since your last DUI. You have 10 business days to request a hearing with the Georgia Department of Drivers Services. Your attorney should do the request for you to make sure it's done correctly. The State of Georgia charges $150 to file the letter. You lawyer will pass that charge onto you as an expense.

    The second thing that needs to be done is the filing of criminal discovery motions and motions to suppress the evidence against you. Those motions must be filed before your arraignment date.

    In Athens your case will move more quickly than in other jurisdictions. This is because there are so many people who live in Athens for only part of the year. Additionally, the prosecutor in Athens has an open file policy. Once the discovery motions are filed, your lawyer can get immediately all the reports and videos related to your case. There is never an excuse to not have all reports and videos in Athens. If your lawyer does not have the information, he or she did not go to pick it up Make sure you hire a lawyer with experience in Athens.

    The final step is the case evaluation and the decision to litigate or settle the case with a plea bargain. Your will be making that decision within the next few weeks. So, hire your attorney as soon as possible

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  • Can I get my criminal record "Felony DUI" expunged in the State of Georgia?

    I was convicted of two DUIs in the late 1970s however, I have a letter from the judge in the second case overturning the conviction. In the 1980s I got charged and convicted with felony DUI as a repeat offender. I feel that I was charged erroneo...

    Richard’s Answer

    You could also apply for a pardon. You would make application to the pardon's and parole board. You do not need an attorney to file for it.

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  • What if someone completed a case with Deferred Adjudication can it showed up on there criminal background as a conviction

    if so what should they do

    Richard’s Answer

    There is a difference between a dismissal and an expungement. Upon completion of deferred adjudication a person gets the case dismissed. When a criminal record is viewed, the arrest will still be there. In certain circumstances, a person can apply to have the record expunged. Such expungement must be agreed upon by the prosecutor. As a result, it is best to have the expungement agreed upon prior to the plea bargain and as a condition therein. Otherwise, they may not agree to it after the fact.

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  • My 3rd DUI lifetime in GA, however this would be my 1st in over 12 years. What type of punishment would typical be recomeneded?

    There was an accident with no injuries. No filed sobriety test given (I did "not" decline). Given state breath test instead.

    Richard’s Answer

    There really isn't a typical punishment in any case but a first offense DUI. To begin with, there may be problems with the State's case against you. It is always important to properly investigate your case. If the arresting officer did not follow all the right procedures, then it may impact the State's ability to prosecute you. It could lead to a dismissal or reduction to a lessor charge such as reckless driving. In the event the State' case is solid, there are things you can do to better your own case. For example, if you seek alcohol treatment and attend AA meetings, that can be used by your lawyer to show that you have taken your situation seriously. It may lead to your attorney being able to negotiate a more favorable plea bargain. So, no tow cases or clients are the same or in the exact same situation. The third factor is the actual jurisdiction where the case is pending. Some judges and or jurisdictions treat multiple offense DUI's more seriously than others. Therefore, having an attorney that knows the local prosecutors and judges is very important. The best advise is to interview a few lawyers and pick the person with whom you feel more comfortable.

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