General FAQs About DUI Charges
Can I win my case?
Every DUI case has potential. The goal is to obtain either a significant reduction of charges or total dismissal of charges. It is crucial you hire an experienced local DUI attorney to handle your case immediately following your release from jail. The more time a quality criminal defense lawyer has to prepare and gather evidence to build your DUI defense, the greater is your case’s potential to be won. Upon being charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, you will first be required to appear at your court arraignment, in which you will enter your plea of “guilty” or “not guilty.”
Following your arraignment, the discovery process begins. This time period is of the utmost importance to your case’s success. A knowledgeable DUI attorney must gather and evaluate all evidence pertinent to your DUI case in order to properly assess your case’s potential options and outcomes. This requires significant knowledge of complex Georgia DUI law and DUI court processes. Gathering evidence includes collecting the following: video footage of your driving and the arrest, reports filed by the responding officer, all breath/blood tests providing evidence of intoxication, breath/blood tests refused, evidence of the responding officer’s adherence to state law during the arrest, eyewitness statements, evidence of the testing machine’s calibration, etc. At Dove Law Firm, our experienced DUI attorneys know how to gather this crucial evidence, including statutory discoveries, exculpatory evidence, sending letters ordering the preservation of evidence, and subpoenas ordering that evidence be brought to court.
At Dove Law Firm, our quality criminal defense lawyers are experienced in complex Georgia DUI law and understand the Georgia DUI court process.
They are familiar with the proper methods and strategies to use in building a successful DUI defense using tools provided by the Georgia courts. For example, pre-trial motions such as motions to suppress evidence may be filed to exclude any harmful evidence from the court’s consideration. At Dove Law Firm, after our experienced DUI attorneys evaluate the details of your DUI case, we will assess the best methods for your success in court and the best path to take in building your DUI defense.
As a first-time DUI offender, what can I do to help my DUI case following my arrest?
Following your DUI arrest, there are several tasks you can complete to gather evidence for your DUI case. Obtaining a 7-year driving history from the Georgia State Patrol and a criminal history from the Georgia Criminal Information Center (GCIC) will serve as useful evidence in your DUI defense. This information will be useful to your DUI attorney in advising you of the best strategies and approaches to take in proceeding with your DUI case.
Photographing the scene of your arrest will also prove useful in fighting your driving under the influence charge. Photographic evidence of the scene of your arrest may serve as evidence of any discrepancies in the police report about the stop. It may also help to discredit the validity of any field sobriety evaluations you submitted to. For example, photographic evidence may show rocky ground or obstructions on the ground that could have caused you to fail any field sobriety tests requiring balance.
If you are a first-time DUI offender, attending and completing a DUI school will present you in a positive light to a judge and/or jury. A DUI school completion certificate can prove useful in an administrative license suspension hearing prior to your trial. It can persuade judges and/or juries that you are remorseful and that your arrest for driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol has served as a learning experience through which you have bettered yourself.
You will also need to submit an administrative license suspension (ALS) appeal to the GA DDS within ten business days following your arrest. If you fail to submit an appeal and the required fine to the GA DDS within 10 business days, you will automatically lose your license for a full year. Click here to read more about how our attorneys can work on your behalf to get your license back.
Does judge assignment matter? Is it better to hire a local attorney?
Hiring a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer with prior experience defending DUI clients in the same local courts in which you will be fighting your driving under the influence case is crucial to your case’s success. Local criminal defense lawyers can use this information in determining how to appeal to the court in your DUI defense.
At Dove Law Firm, our quality DUI lawyers have experience appearing within local South Georgia probate, city, state, municipal, and superior courts located within the following areas: Coffee County, Tift County, Dooly County, Atkinson County, Colquitt County, Berrien County, Dodge County, Crisp County, Turner County, Cook County, Irwin County, Ben Hill County, Worth County, Wilcox County, and Jeff Davis County. Our criminal defense attorneys have formed positive, working relationships with the local judges and court officials working within these local South Georgia courts. If you have been charged of DUI crime in South Georgia, submit online information about your case to our local South Georgia DUI attorneys for a free case review or call Dove Law Firm at 229-468-0832 for a free consultation.
What are ‘Per Se’ and ‘Less Safe’ DUI charges?
Of the six different legal categories of driving under the influence (DUI), the two most common, termed “per se” DUI and “less safe” DUI, are alcohol-related. An individual is charged with “per se” DUI when he/she is determined to have a BAC (blood alcohol content) level of .08% or higher while operating a moving vehicle. Georgia law states the BAC legal limit is lower for drivers under 21 and for commercial driver’s license holders, which are .02% and .04% respectively. An individual is charged with “less safe” DUI if they are arrested for DUI absent breath or blood results. A charge of “less safe” DUI is based upon 3 different kinds of evidence: reckless driving, such as an accident or failure to maintain your lane; circumstantial evidence based on field sobriety tests; or circumstantial evidence inferred from the driver’s appearance and demeanor as described by the arresting officer.
Are Breathalyzer tests inaccurate? Is it possible to challenge handheld Breathalyzer test results?”
The Alcosensor is a handheld breath analyzer. It is far less accurate than the state-administered breath test, the Intoxilyzer 9000. Submitting to this field test could be to your advantage if you are sober or have consumed two drinks or less. Alcosensor test results are only admissible in court as a positive or negative, not as a numerical result, for the presence of alcohol in your breath. Results from this handheld breath analyzer are significantly easier to challenge and classify as inadmissible evidence than the state-administered breath analyzer. This is due to the Alcosensor’s high levels of inaccuracy.
It is unable to distinguish between levels of actual breath alcohol and substances that mimic alcohol in the presence of infrared light. Despite its inaccuracy, many officers place undeserved weight on its test results.
However, even if you have submitted to the Alcosensor and tested positive, your case may still be winnable. Contact our law firm to discuss your options in a free consultation. Submit your information for a free case review. At Dove Law Firm, our DUI attorneys are knowledgeable of the different ways in which it is possible to challenge Alcosensor test results. Contact our criminal defense lawyers if you wish to challenge your handheld breath test results and avoid a DUI conviction.
Is it possible to challenge a state-administered breath test, the Intoxilyzer 9000?
There are countless factors that can influence Breathalyzer readings. Our attorneys have a deep understanding of the possible issues we can explore to get your positive BAC readings suppressed and thrown out as inadmissible evidence in court. We attack the admissibility and the accuracy of the Intoxilyzer 9000, making sure its maintenance, calibration, and operation met the quality standards set by Georgia DUI law. If you took a breath, blood, or urine test, there are issues that can result in inaccuracy, including: residual mouth alcohol, radio frequency interference, outdated Intoxilyzer equipment, failure to follow the requirements of implied consent, mishandling of the blood or urine sample, use of an alcohol swab prior to taking the blood sample, failure to refrigerate the blood sample, improper or uncompleted paperwork by law enforcement, and health factors that can inflate the results.
There are countless personal health factors that also lead to an inaccurate breath test, including dental work, hypoglycemia, diabetes, a diet low in carbohydrates and high in proteins, the use of an inhaler due to asthma, and more. While state-administered chemical testing by breath analyzers, blood samples, and urine samples is far more accurate than handheld breath tests, there is still a great margin of error. However, these important errors may go unnoticed by DUI attorneys lacking in experience or education about the complex science and medical issues involved in building a strong DUI defense. Challenging your breath, blood, or urine test is very possible, and our DUI attorneys are dedicated to exploring every potential issue in their clients’ DUI cases.
Are field sobriety tests inaccurate? Is it possible to challenge field sobriety tests?
Police officers often try to coerce suspects into submitting to these tests, using persuasive tactics and misleading statements. Field tests are entirely voluntary, and the conclusions drawn by officers because of field testing performance are typically inaccurate and wrong. According to the officer’s very own National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) training manual, results from field sobriety tests are accurate an unimpressive 77% of the time. This means more than 1 in 4 individuals will be falsely charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs as a result of a misleading performance during field sobriety tests.
Contact Dove Law Firm for a free consultation if you have submitted to any standardized or non-standardized field sobriety tests. Submit a free case review, and our experienced DUI attorneys will explore your options.
After evaluating your case, our criminal defense lawyers will work on your behalf to get your field test results excluded from evidence in court and build a strong DUI defense. For example, if the arresting officer failed to fully inform you that every field sobriety test is 100% optional, our DUI attorneys will emphasize this unfairness to exclude your test results as evidence in court. View our in-depth descriptions of each field test to learn our attorneys’ varying methods in challenging each one.
Will a DUI be on my record forever?”
If you have recently been charged with a driving under the influence offense, it is important to remember you have only been charged—not yet convicted. The sooner you hire an experienced DUI attorney to handle your DUI case, the greater chance you have of obtaining a reduction of charges or total dismissal of charges. However, if you are found guilty of driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, a DUI conviction will remain permanently on your criminal record and driving history for the rest of your life. A permanently tarnished criminal record will have lifelong consequences on most aspects of your life, including employment opportunities and applying for a lease or an apartment. At Dove Law Firm, our criminal defense lawyers know the grave consequences of a DUI conviction.
Contact our quality DUI attorneys at 229-468-0832 for a free consultation, or submit information about your DUI case online for a free case evaluation.
What are the penalties I will face from a DUI charge/conviction?
If you plead “guilty” or are convicted of your DUI charge, you can expect the following consequences: $3,000-$4,000 in time and money, limitations on your driver’s license, 24 hours of jail time, a mandatory Drug and Alcohol Evaluation by a licensed counselor or psychologist for $100-$300, mandatory recommended treatment, 40-240 hours of community service, 12 months of probation with a supervision fee of $44 per month or probation, random tests of your blood or breath or urine during your probation, and a DUI conviction permanently on your criminal record and driving history.
You may lose your job if you use a commercial driver’s license at work. You may be under professional investigation if you are a licensed professional with the state or federal government with a governing board or commission. More than likely, you will experience penalties in your employment and future employment opportunities. A DUI conviction has lifelong penalties that outlast probation, community service, and expensive fines
At Dove Law Firm, we understand the grave consequences that accompany a DUI conviction. Contact our experienced DUI attorneys at 229-468-0832 for a free consultation, or submit information about your DUI case online for a free case evaluation by our quality criminal defense lawyers.
What are the benefits of reducing my DUI charge to reckless driving?
In fighting a DUI charge, some individuals decide to plead guilty to reckless driving rather than proceeding to fight their DUI offense in trial. Benefits of doing so include avoiding the social stigma a drunk driving offense carries. For example, your future employment opportunities are significantly less likely to be negatively impacted by a reckless driving conviction than a drunk driving conviction. Further, there are lesser penalties for a reckless driving conviction as opposed to a drunk driving conviction.
Determining whether to plead guilty to reckless driving or proceed to fight your DUI charge in a jury trial is a monumental decision that will impact your criminal record (or lack thereof) forever. It is important you make this decision after receiving legal counsel from a knowledgeable DUI lawyer; contact our experienced DUI attorneys at 229-468-7190 for a free consultation. Or, submit information about your DUI case online for a free case evaluation completed by our quality criminal defense lawyers.
What is a plea deal?”
A plea deal is a “deal” offered by the prosecution that requires you to plead guilty in order to obtain a “better” sentence. The prosecution will often try to frighten you into accepting a plea deal by telling you what the judge will supposedly sentence if you do not take the prosecution’s deal and take your case to trial. In deciding whether or not to accept a plea deal, you are essentially deciding between accepting the plea deal and pleading guilty or refusing the plea deal and fighting your DUI case in court. In some cases, a plea deal may be the better option. However, in many cases, a plea deal is NOT your best outcome. Contact our experienced DUI attorneys today to discuss the details of your case and your case’s potential for success. Submit information about your DUI case in a free online case evaluation, or contact Dove Law Firm at 229-468-0832 to speak with our knowledgeable criminal defense lawyers. Katie and Andrew Dove will assess the details of your case, evaluate your case’s potential, and determine the best strategy with which to proceed
What is a felony DUI?
A felony offense is more serious and severe in nature than a misdemeanor offense, and a felony DUI charge has harsher consequences than a DUI misdemeanor offense. In Georgia, a first-time DUI offense lacking extenuating circumstances is classified as a misdemeanor crime, but certain situational circumstances can result in a misdemeanor DUI charge increasing to a felony DUI charge. Any alcohol-related accident resulting in a death or serious bodily injury is a felony DUI crime under Georgia law. Regardless of your previous driving record, any accident involving driving under the influence of alcohol that results in fatal injury or death could lead to felony charges like vehicular homicide in the first degree. If the state can prove that the impaired driving was the cause of your accident or serious traffic offense in which a passenger died, you can be charged with the felony offense of vehicular homicide. Any alcohol-related accident involving the endangerment of a child is also classified as a felony DUI crime.
A fourth drunk-driving offense within a time period of ten years is the final category of felony DUI crime.
In addition to these four categories of felony DUI offenses, Georgia DUI law names other extenuating circumstances that increase the charge from a DUI misdemeanor to a felony DUI charge. Fleeing the scene of an accident, evading the police, property damage, wrongful death, bodily injury, transporting a minor while under the influence, and excessive speeding while impaired are all elements of your DUI case that can result in felony charges.
What are the penalties for underage DUI (MIP)?
To support a DUI conviction for drivers under 21, prosecutors only need a Breathalyzer reading with a blood alcohol concentration of .02%, courtesy of Georgia’s Zero Tolerance law. This statute makes it a crime punishable by law for any minor to operate a motor vehicle with even a minute amount of alcohol in his/her system. Georgia law states that the standard license suspension for an underage DUI charge supported by a blood alcohol reading of .02% to .08% is six months, as well as 20 hours of community service. However, if your blood alcohol reading is .08% or greater, you could be charged with a standard DUI and subject to minimum penalties enforced by Georgia underage DUI law: a full day in jail, 40 hours of community service, and a license suspension of one year. At Dove Law Firm, our experienced DUI attorneys understand the grave consequences of an underage DUI conviction. If you have been charged with an underage DUI offense, contact our criminal defense lawyers at 229-468-0832 for a free consultation, or submit information about your DUI case online for a free case evaluation by our qualified DUI attorneys.
Can I be convicted of a DUI if I was on prescription medication?
Yes, you can be convicted of driving under the influence of drugs, even if those drugs were prescription medication. According to Georgia DUI law, doctor’s orders do not serve as an adequate excuse. These factors are relevant to your case and definitely information to relay to your DUI defense attorney.
What are the penalties for a charge of driving under the influence of drugs?
Despite the lack of a legal limit in DUI drugs cases, the consequences can be just as harsh as those for an alcohol-related DUI. Depending on the circumstances of your DUI drugs case, you could face jail time, probation, expensive fines, community service, increased insurance premiums, license suspension, a tarnished criminal record, and even mandatory drug rehabilitation. The long-term consequences of a DUI drugs conviction are much more severe than the immediate ones, given that a DUI drugs conviction will remain permanently on your criminal record. Whether you are applying for employment or for school, a DUI drugs conviction can be dug up from your past during a simple background check.
Because the consequences of a DUI drugs conviction are just as harsh as an alcohol-related DUI, it is equally as important that you hire a qualified, experienced Georgia DUI attorney. Fighting a DUI drugs charge is very possible with an experienced criminal defense attorney fighting on your behalf.
At Dove Law Firm, our Georgia DUI lawyers have the knowledge and experience to either negotiate a plea bargain, request the dismissal of your charges, or take your case to trial, and they can review the details of your case and discuss your options during a free consultation. Call us at 229-468-0832, or submit information about your case for a free case review with our qualified Georgia DUI attorneys.
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