If you are on this page, it’s likely that you (or a loved one) have been arrested or charged with a DUI in Atlanta. You may be feeling anxious and overwhelmed by the daunting criminal justice system and are looking to see what a Atlanta DUI attorney can do for you. You may be aware that DUIs are taken very seriously in the state of Georgia. Driving under the influence can be both a misdemeanor or a feleny depending on the various details. It’s important to discuss with an experience attorney the specifics of your case and determine what can be done to positively affect the outcome. Below we will discuss some of the relevant information to those facing DUI charges.
Know Your Rights After A DUI Arrest
The majority of people are not familiar with their rights in regards to being charged with a DUI. They know that they are allowed to hire an attorney and that maybe an attorney can do something for them. However, understanding your charges fully, the associate penalities, and the possible defenses is critical is making the right decision moving forward. Below are a few things we want to inform you about as you’re making the decision to hire an Atlanta DUI lawyer.
Starting upon the day of your DUI arrest, you have 10 days to request a special hearing with the Department of Driver Services. Without this hearing, your license will 100% be suspended, regardless of whether you are convicted of the DUI. This 10 rule applies if your BAC was above 0.08 or if you refuse to take the drug or alcohol test. If you don’t request a hearing or if you lose the hearing, the suspension of your license would begin on the 31st day after your initial arrest. For first time DUI offenders, the suspension period is 1 year. For second time DUI, the suspension period is 3 years and for a 3rd DUI it’s a 5 year suspension.
There are two types of DUIs that can occur in state of Georgia. Both are equally common and their characteristics are as follows.
Less safe DUI
This type of DUI arrest occurs when the arresting police officer doesn’t have definite proof that you were driving under the influence. An example of a Less safe DUI is when you fail the field sobriety test.
Per se DUI
This type of DUI occurs when the officer does have solid proof that you were driving under the influence. For example, if you submit to a chemical alcohol test and they measure your BAC to be above the legal limit of 0.08 (8% alcohol in the blood).
- License suspension: Offenders receiving their first DUI can have their license suspended for up to 1 year. Multiple offenses increase the length of the license suspension. Additionally, the individual is responsible for any fees associated with the license reinstatement.
- Fines: In Atlanta, individuals that receive a DUI conviction will have to pay a minimum of $300 in fines to a maximum of $5,000. If this is a subsequent offense (DUI number 2 or 3), then the fines will be higher.
- Completion of a mandatory Risk Reduction Program: A more common name for this is DUI school. This is a 20-hour state program that includes counseling and education in a group environment. Of course, the classes have a fee that you are required to pay and each an every session must be attended.
- Vehicle confiscation: Your vehicle could be confiscated by the state of Georgia. This usually happens to repeat offenders.
- Jail time: The most serious punishment for a first-time misdemeanor DUI offender could be a judge order to remain in custody for a period of up to 1 year. For a felony DUI offense, incarceration periods of up to 5 years are possible. On top of a prison sentence, probation and community service requirements are common.
- Installation of an ignition interlock device (IID): This device attaches to the steering wheel of your vehicle. In order to start the car, you have to blow into the IID device and have it test you BAC. If your BAC is below the legal limit of 0.08, then your car will start. Otherwise, you will have to make alternate driving arrangements at your expense. And again, you will have to pay for the installation, repairs and all other costs associated with the IID.
- Potentially the most costly punishment: One of the most damaging penalties associated with a DUI conviction is the permament black mark on your criminal record. Even if you DUI offense is a misdemeanor it can seriously affect your future career propects because it will appear on a background check.
Why You Should Hire An Atlanta DUI Lawyer
Representing clients charged with a DUI is a very specialized area of a legal practice. It requires the attorney to be thoroughly familiar with Georgia statutes and law precendent. It may be tempting to try defend yourself in court for your DUI charges. However, it may not be as straightforward as it seems. DUI law is extremely complex. Many factors affect the case and people often find out the hard way how much goes into defending a DUI charge. An experienced Atlanta DUI attorney alleviate the pressure and can help with the following:
- Navigating the justice system: A driving under the influence charge will involve an extensive amount of paperwork and multiple court hearings. A DUI lawyer can file the documents on your behald and represent you during a DUI Trial. You any still need to appear in court, but you will have a hard-working attorney advocating for your rights.
- Allowing you to exercise your full rights: A DUI attorney will use his extensive knowledge of the relevant statutes and cases laws to build a strong defense for your drunk driving case. You can rest assured that your constitutional rights will be protected by an individual that has a deep knowledge of the US Constitution.
- Negotiaging with prosecutors: You lawyers has the ability to communicate with teh prosecution throughout the whole process of your case, before or after you are officially charged. This special access can allow the attorney to make a favorable deal on your behalf, which could include lesser charges or reduced punishments. An experienced Atlanta DUI attorney will not just accept any old offer. They can provide informed insights as to the substance of an offer. If an offer is not worth it, the attoreny can advise you whether you should reject it.
- Gathering evidence on your behalf: A DUI lawyer can review the multitude of documentation related to your drunk driving case. This might include the police report from the original arrest, the results of an BAC or drug testing, and also any possible eyewitness accounts. All of this evidence can be used to support your defense or to find holes in the prosecution’s argument.
Find The Help You Need
You’ve learned the many ways that an Atlanta DUI lawyer can help you with your case. Now the question is of who to hire and how much it’s going to cost. Avoiding the expense of a DUI attorney is often the main reason why most individuals do not secure the legal representation they need to avoid a DUI conviction. The fines and secondary consequences of a DUI conviction (IID device, damaged career prospects, alternative driving arrangements) can run you around $10,000. With this high cost, you cannot afford to go without legal representation. Setting up a free consultation today with an DUI attorney in Atlanta will give you keen insights into your specific case.