Fitzgerald DUI Defense Attorney
Every year thousands of people are arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in Georgia. This is a serious criminal charge that you should not underestimate. It’s not just another traffic ticket. Depending on the circumstances, a DUI conviction can result in jail time, fines, higher insurance rates and a loss of your license.
Could you keep your job if you have to spend time in jail or couldn’t drive? Can you afford to pay fines and higher car insurance rates?
If not, you need legal representation to protect your liberty, rights and your ability to support yourself and your family after a DUI charge.
It’s not unusual for people to drink and drive. Many of us underestimate the effect alcohol has on our driving or overestimate our ability to handle it. A DUI charge can also include impairment due to prescription, over-the-counter or illegal drugs.
In Georgia there are many ways a prosecutor can go after someone for DUI. It’s illegal for a person to do any one of the following:
- “Drive or be in actual physical control of any moving vehicle while…Under the influence of alcohol to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive.” O.C.G.A. § 40-6-391(a)(1). Due to this law you only need to be under the influence of alcohol, not to have actually driven in an unsafe way or have a certain level of alcohol in your blood.
- “Drive or be in actual physical control of any moving vehicle while…the person’s alcohol concentration is 0.08 grams or more at any time within three hours after such driving or being in actual physical control from alcohol consumed before such driving or being in actual physical control ended.” O.C.G.A. § 40-6-391(a)(5). To make this charge, the state would need to show an alcohol test result that proves your blood alcohol content (BAC) was 0.08; there is no need to show you drove unsafely. For drivers under the legal drinking age of 21, to be charged for this crime the BAC has to be 0.02. For commercial drivers, the BAC need only be 0.04.
- Drive “under the influence of any drug to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive.” O.C.G.A. § 40-6-391(a)(2). Any substance in your system could lead to a violation of this law if the prosecution can show that because of the drug you couldn’t drive safely.
- Cause a serious injury to another while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. O.C.G.A. § 40-6-394 defines this as “cause[ing] bodily harm to another by depriving him or a member of his body, by rendering a member of his body useless, by seriously disfiguring his body or a member thereof, or by causing organic brain damage which renders the body or any member thereof useless…” A “serious injury” could be anything from a fractured bone to severe burns, dismemberment or loss of consciousness. A “serious injury” need not lead to a permanent limitation or disability.
There is a wide range of possible penalties for a DUI-related conviction in Georgia. First and second convictions are considered misdemeanors; a third conviction would be a high and aggravated misdemeanor. Causing bodily harm to another while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a felony. Penalties for violations are more strict depending on how quickly they happen and if there are aggravating factors such as a high BAC level or an accident occurred that involved injuries or property damage. Possible penalties are:
- Maximum jail time of a year to fifteen years
- Minimum sentences ranging from 24 hours to one year
- Fines ranging from $1,000 to $5,000
- Community service, a DUI Risk Reduction course and probation
- Maximum license suspensions from twelve months to five years
- Surrendering license plates
- Forfeiture of a vehicle to the state
- Installation of an ignition interlock device which would prevent a vehicle from starting if alcohol use by the driver is detected.
A person with a commercial driver’s license convicted of a first-time DUI faces a one-year disqualification of their commercial driving privileges. Subsequent convictions would result in a lifetime CDL disqualification.
You can have practical problems beyond a criminal sentence if you’re convicted of DUI:
- Missed work due to a license suspension or jail time could result in a job loss, making it harder to support yourself and your family.
- Future job applications may ask for criminal convictions. Admitting such a conviction may be a reason for being turned down. If you don’t tell the truth and your employer learns about the conviction, it could be grounds for termination.
- You may lose your auto insurance or your premiums could increase.
- It may be difficult or more costly to obtain life insurance.
Contact a Cordele Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or a loved one has been arrested for DUI in Fitzgerald, Ocilla, Tifton, Cordele, Adel, Hazlehurst, Sylvester, Ashburn, Moultrie, Abbeville, Nashville, McRae or Douglas, don’t try to handle this by yourself. Protect yourself and your family by retaining our experienced DUI defense team. Contact our office today to set up a consultation.
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We are proud to serve the counties of Irwin, Ben Hill, Crisp, Wilcox, Jeff Davis, Coffee, Tift, Dooly, Atkinson, Colquitt, Berrien, and Dodge. We are appreciative of the opportunity to serve the cities of Ocilla, Fitzgerald, Abbeville, Eastman, Hazelhurst, Tifton, Douglas, Moultrie, Nashville, Enigma, and Cordele.
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