Most attorneys will claim that DUI cases are more complicated than murder cases. DUI cases bring so many technicalities that even many lawyers cannot properly deal with them. This is why a skilled DUI attorney is crucial in obtaining a favorable result.
Every DUI arrest requires a police officer to follow specific procedures before making an arrest. A competent lawyer will point to unsupported conclusions or mistakes in procedure to challenge your arrest. Police make mistakes frequently, and identifying those mistakes or wrong opinions can be the difference between winning and losing your case. It is essential to ensure that you have a DUI lawyer who knows how to challenge any errors, whether they are factual, technical, or legal. These challenges can result in a dismissal or a reduction in your case.
Georgia DUI laws are tough and their enforcement is rigorous. Measured Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is normally the basis for accusations of intoxication. The state considers a drivers to be under the influence if they present a BAC of .08 or higher. Importantly, the state can proceed with a DUI prosecution even if your BAC is under the legal limit. Essentially, the state can argue that you were unsafe to drive despite being under the legal limit. This can allow the state to proceed even if the results of a state administered test are inadmissible.
The state holds those operating a commercial vehicle with a Commercial Driver’s Licenses to a higher standard. For these professionals, a BAC of (.04) constitutes intoxication. Additionally, the state holds those under 21 years of age to an even higher standard. For this age group, anything above (.02) constitutes intoxication.
Understanding field tests
If a police officer stops your automobile and smells alcohol, the officer will ask you to take a battery of field sobriety tests. This will often provide the state with evidence it can use against you. An arresting officer may utilize the following tests:
- the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test (HGN),
- the Walk and Turn test, the One Leg Stand Test,
- the hand held breath test on a device called an Alcosensor (a PBT – portable breathalyzer test, not a Breathalyzer).
If the officer decides that you failed the tests or if the police officer suspects impairment, you will be arrested. After placing you under arrest, the officer is to read the Georgia Implied Consent Notice to you. The officer will designate which of the three tests (blood, breath, or urine) he or she wants you to take (officers can ask for all 3 or any combination). Essentially, the officer is asking you to provide the state with additional evidence to be used against you.
What to do following a DUI arrest
If you take the test and have an unlawful blood alcohol level or if you refuse to take the test, you have just ten business days to request an administrative license suspension hearing. If you don’t request the hearing within the ten business days, your Georgia driver’s license or privilege to drive in Georgia will be suspended for 1 to 5 years by operation of law, depending upon your record. And that is all before you go to court.
DUI convictions can carry many serious consequences:
- you can go to jail for up to a year
- you will have to do at least 40 hours of community service
- you will have to pay a substantial fine
- you might lose your driver’s license for 1 to 5 years
- you will have to attend DUI school (also called alcohol risk reduction school)
- you will have to pay a reinstatement fee to get your license back
- you will have higher insurance premiums
- you might have to have an ignition interlock device placed on your car
- you might have to turn in the license plates on all the vehicles you own
- you might have your picture published in the newspaper
- you might have to attend alcohol counseling
To obtain the best results, contact our office at 770-253-3282 and set up a consultation. Your rights are our priority.