DUI, Right to Counsel, Setting Aside Guilty Plea. Alford v. State, S10A0062, April 19, 2010. A. Alford was found guilty after a bench trial of DUI in Muscogee County State Court in Columbus, Georgia in 1995 without an attorney. He filed a Habeas Corpus petition alleging that he was entitled to legal representation.
The Georgia Supreme Court found that he was entitled to legal representation or the State must prove that he knowingly and intelligently waived his right to counsel and that Alabama v. Shelton, 535 U.S. 654 (2002) applies retroactively to this 1995 case requiring counsel when a sentence may require jail time and not just if a sentence does require jail time. It would seem that in a world of aggravated DUI punishments it is incumbent on DUI Defense Counsel to investigate if the State can prove an intelligent waiver of counsel in all prior DUI convictions. The legislature has recently put time limits on Habeas Corpus petitions of 6 months for DUIs and other traffic offenses.