Author Archives: admin

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Arrested for Shoplifting in Alpharetta Municipal Court – Georgia

Being arrested for shoplifting can be a frightening experience.  A theft charge on an arrest record and a related conviction can have devastating effects on an individual’s ability to seek or maintain employment and pass background screenings.  Understanding that, certain courts in Georgia have diversion programs designed to allow first time offenders to have their case dismissed if they meet certain requirements (such as attending a class, performing community service and paying a program fee).

City of Alpharetta Municipal Court

The City of Alpharetta has a diversion program called a Hold & Clear program.  If an individual has a clean record (no prior convictions), and has not taken advantage of a pre-trial diversion program in the past, with the assistance of an attorney the individual may be eligible for the Hold & Clear program.  As part of the program, the individual will go before the judge and enter a plea of guilty; however, the judge will hold the guilty plea and provide a set of requirements (which will have been previously negotiated with the prosecutor) for the individual to complete.  As long as they successfully complete the requirements, the case will be dismissed.  If the individual does not successfully complete the requirements in the time provided, the guilty plea will be entered and the conviction will be reported to the state and posted to the individual’s criminal history.

Jamie Hernan, of the Hernan Law Firm, has been successfully representing individuals in the City of Alpharetta Municipal Court for over a decade and can help those facing charges in the court (whether or not it is for their first offense).  For a free consultation about a charge of shoplifting in the City of Alpharetta Municipal Court, or any other charge, call the Hernan Law Firm at (678) 275-4000.

More information about the law regarding shoplifting in Georgia

Georgia Code section 16-8-14 sets forth the elements of the offense of shoplifting and outlines certain requirements upon conviction.  The offense of theft by shoplifting can be charged as a felony or misdemeanor depending on the amount that the individual is accused of stealing and the number of times they have been convicted of shoplifting.  If the amount alleged to have been taken exceeds Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00), the case will proceed (at least initially) as a felony.  Cases involving amounts less than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) will be treated as a misdemeanor.  The fourth and subsequent convictions for shoplifting (whether or not the previous convictions were felonies or misdemeanors) will be treated as a felony.

The Georgia Code (Official Code of Georgia Annotated) can be accessed without charge by clicking here.

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Injured in a Car Accident in Roswell, Alpharetta or Milton

Were you or a loved one injured in an automobile accident in Roswell, Alpharetta, or Milton or the surrounding areas?  Immediately following an accident, it can be difficult to focus and determine what to do next.

Additional Resources available from the Hernan Law Firm for victims of auto accidents (coming soon):

  • What to do at the scene of the accident?
  • To Go or Not To Go (Treatment at the Emergency Room Following an Accident)
  • Information to Gather from the At Fault Driver
  • Demonstrative Evidence (Pictures, videos and more)
  • Don’t Forget the Witnesses
  • Gaps in Medical Treatment
  • Obtaining Copies of Medical Records

For loved ones, sometimes it can involve a frantic search to locate the hospital or other medical facility where a family member or friend was taken.  The following list includes some of the area hospital where individuals may be taken following an accident in Roswell, an accident in Alpharetta or an accident in Milton or the surrounding areas.  Note that Grady Memorial Hospital is the closest Level I trauma center and North Fulton Hospital is rated as a Level II trauma center (as is Children’s Healthcare in the pediatric field).  Click here for more information on trauma center designations.

Hospitals Serving Accident Victims in Roswell, Alpharetta and Milton

North Fulton Hospital
3000 Hospital Boulevard
Roswell, Georgia 30075
Level II Trauma Center
Telephone: (770) 751-2500
Emergency Room: (770) 751-2555
Northside Hospital – Atlanta
1000 Johnson Ferry Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30342
Telephone: (404) 851-8000
St. Joseph’s Hospital
5665 Peachtree Dunwoody Road, NE
Atlanta, Georgia 30342
Telephone: (678) 843-7001
Maps and Directions
Grady Memorial Hospital
80 Jesse Hill Jr Dr SE
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
Telephone: (404) 616-1000
Level I Trauma Center – (More on Level I Trauma Centers)
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta – Scottish Rite
1001 Johnson Ferry Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30342-1605
Telephone: (404) 785-5252

The following list includes some of the area chiropractors.  For more information on chiropractic care, please click here.

Chiropractors in Roswell, Alpharetta and Milton

Sweet Apple Health Group
11040 Crabapple Road, Suite B
Roswell, Georgia 30075
Telephone: (770) 645-9595
Absolute Chiropractic & Wellness
45 W Crossville Rd #503
Roswell, GA 30075
Telephone: (770) 587-2616
The following list includes some of the area orthopaedic doctors.

Orthopaedic Facilities in Roswell, Alpharetta and Milton

Resurgens Orthopaedics
1285 Hembree Road, Suite 200-A
Roswell, GA 30076
Telephone: (770) 475-2710
* Note: The information contained in this post is provided as a public service and neither constitutes legal advice nor an endorsement of or by any of the providers listed on this page.

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Approvals come through for Deferred Action petitions

USCIS has finally begun to issue approvals of the deferred action petitions filed beginning in August 2012, including for many clients of the Hernan Law Firm.  Early applicants have been receiving approval notices over the last month or two, as well as their employment authorization cards.

For more information about the deferred action for childhood arrivals process, please call the Hernan Law Firm today at (678) 275-4000 for a free, no obligation consultation.  Also, feel free to use the Make an Appointment link above to set up a consultation with attorney Jamie Hernan.  Also, visit or

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USCIS announces final rule to allow for provisional waiver process supporting family unity

On January 2, 2013, USCIS announced the long awaited posting of the final rules for the provisional waiver process, a sensible solution to a component of immigration law that caused families to be separated during the petition process for immediate relatives (spouses, parents and children) who had entered the United States without inspection. Because of the beneficiary’s status and method of entry into the United States, the former process would require that they leave the country and apply for a waiver of their inadmissibility caused by such status. That could result in immediate relatives being separated from their families for extremely long periods of time, even as much as ten years. Under the process proposed early in 2012 and outlined with today’s announcement, the immediate relative will be able to apply for that waiver of inadmissibility while in the United States. While they still must depart the United States to obtain their visa through a consular process, if approved for the provisional waiver they would depart the country with the comfort and knowledge that they will be granted reentry promptly.

To be approved for a provisional waiver, the applicant must show that their immediate relative will suffer extreme hardship if they are not allowed to reenter the United States.

In other words, an individual who was previously unable to petition for their spouse, parent or child out of fear that their loved one would be forced to be out of the country for an extended period of time may now apply for a waiver of the bar to reentering the United States as part of the petition process. Once the beneficiary has an approved provisional waiver, they will be able to depart the United States knowing that the United States government has waived their inadmissibilty based on their method of entry into the United States.

It is important to note that this process not only makes sense for the important purpose of maintaining family unity, it will also likely be much less expensive for USCIS and the State Department to be able to have the waiver process handled from within the United States rather than at consular outposts around the world. Further, the final rules state that any increase in processing costs will be offset by fees charged to applicants.

Applicants will be required to file a new form (I-601A) to seek the provisional waiver. The process will be effective March 4, 2013.

For more information about the provisional waiver process, call the Hernan Law Firm at (678) 275-4000 for a free, no obligation consultation, or visit

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Bond set at $1,000,000 for George Zimmerman

The judge in the George Zimmerman case, Seminole County, Florida Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester, Jr., ordered George Zimmerman’s bond to be set at $1,000,000 with additional conditions including electronic monitoring, restrictions on leaving Seminole County, Florida without permission, check ins required every forty eight hours, curfew between 6:00pm and 6:00am, as well as requirements that he not enter the Orlando-Sanford International Airport, open or maintain a bank account, or apply for or obtain a passport. According to the judge’s order, the “increased bail is not a punishment; it is meant to allay [the] Court’s concern that [George Zimmerman] intended to flee the jurisdiction and a lesser amount would not ensure his presence in court.”

A bond is set in a criminal matter in an amount reasonably determined by the judge to be sufficient to deter the Defendant from absconding and failing to return to Court. If a criminal Defendant bonds out of jail and subsequently fails to appear in Court, in most circumstances the judge can order that the bond be forfeited. Courts reason that if bonds are too low on serious charges, a criminal Defendant could decide that they would rather forfeit the money paid for the bond rather than return to the Court.

Zimmerman’s bond was increased after initially being set at $150,000 and subsequently revoked after the State of Florida sought revocation of the bond based on the allegation that the Defendant had presented false testimony at the initial bond hearing. In the latest bond order, Judge Lester, Jr. stated that the Defendant “has flaunted the system” and that a higher bond was appropriate in this case. The eight page bond order outlines in extensive detail the analysis followed by the Court in determining the bond amount. The Court considered the nature and circumstances of the offense charged, the weight of the evidence against the Defendant, the Defendant’s ties to the community, employment history, financial resources and mental condition, the Defendant’s past and present conduct, whether the Defendant is a danger to the community, the source of funds to post bail, the probability that the Defendant would pose a threat to the victim’s family (noting that the Court found no evidence that the Defendant would pose any threat), whether the Defendant had committed a new crime while on pre-trial release, and the ability of the Defendant to pay the bail (noting that “setting an excessive bail is the functional equivalent of setting no bail at all.”

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Supreme Court strikes bulk of Arizona Immigration law (SB 1070)

The Supreme Court recently affirmed in part and reversed in part, in a 5-3 decision, the ruling of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in the constitutional challenge to Arizona’s immigration law (SB 1070).  The Court ruled that the powers granted to the federal government by the Constitution of the United States preempt the attempted efforts of Arizona to regulate immigration within its borders.

The history of the United States is in part made of the stories, talents, and lasting contributions of those who crossed oceans and deserts to come here.  – Opinion of the Court (No. 11-182)

The decision halted enforcement of sections 3, 5(C) and 6 of SB 1070 that had been challenged in the case.  The decision was based on the clear “broad, undoubted power over the subject of immigration and the status of aliens” held by the federal government.  Despite the well settled preemption of immigration regulation by the federal government, states such as Arizona have attempted to pass legislation that attempts to usurp such power and authorize its own regulation of immigration.  The Supreme Court has sent a clear message to Arizona and other states that such legislation must not violate the constitution no matter how frustrated the state is with the federal government’s abject failure to come up with a fair, reasonable and workable solution to the immigration problem in the United States.

The Court did allow Section 2(b) of SB 1070 to stand for the present time without fully addressing the constitutionality of such provision.  The section states: “For any lawful contact made by a law enforcement official or agency of this State or a county, city, town or other political subdivision of this State where reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States, a reasonable attempt shall be made, when practicable, to determine the immigration status of the person.”  The Supreme Court’s opinion, delivered by Justice Kennedy, does not state outright that such provision is constitutional but rather that the “nature and timing of this case counsel caution in evaluating the validity of Section 2(B).”  The Supreme Court is always very careful to address only those issues that are properly before it, from both a substantive and procedural basis.  The Court found, for example, that if the provisions of Section 2(B) could be interpreted or enforced in an unconstitutional way (such as “[d]etaining individuals solely to verify their immigration status”), and thus be subject to legal challenge.


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Governor Neal Signs Pro Life Bill

"Photo by Alana Joyner, Photographer for Governor Neal - Used with permission

A copy of HB 954 as passed can be found on the website of the Georgia Legislature (

The press release from the Governor’s office regarding the signing of the bill can be found on the Governor’s website (,2668,165937316_165937374_184598709,00.html).

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Governor Neal Signs Major Criminal Justice Reform Legislation

Georgia’s governor has signed HB 1176 into law, enacting legislation passed by the Georgia legislature in the recent session to make significant changes to the criminal justice system in Georgia.  Aimed at encouraging more efficient use of the limited resources of the justice system in Georgia, HB 1176 encourages the enhanced use of outside of the box sentencing programs, such as pre-trial diversion and alternative courts (such as DUI courts) and increases the threshold between misdemeanors and felonies and modifies sentencing requirements for certain theft and drug charges (in order to reduce the number of individuals in prison for relatively minor offenses).  The bill will also extend the statute of limitations for certain crimes against children.

The Governor has vowed to continue to fund efforts in the State to increase efficiency in the system and search for alternative methods of prosecution and sentencing to limit the use of expensive bed space for low level criminal offenders. 

A copy of HB 1176 as passed can be found on the website of the Georgia Legislature (

The press release from the Governor announcing the signing of the bill into law can be found on the Governor’s website (,2668,165937316_165937374_184643488,00.html).

The report of the Special Council on Criminal Justice Reform report can be found on the Georgia Legislature’s website (

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I Have Been Injured in An Accident.  I Have Been Arrested.  I  Need an Attorney for Another Type of Case.

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Hernan Law Firm Handles Other Cases

We handle Civil Litigation cases for individuals and businesses, contract review and negotiation, family and work based immigration – including removal defense, as well as many other matters.  Call the Hernan Law Firm now for a free consultation or click on our practice area pages for more information.

To set up a free consultation, call (678) 275-4000 or click this button.