Should I get an accident lawyer for my not at fault collision? The at fault driver was charged with a dui.
Injured by DUI Wreck Asks: “I was recently in a 3 car accident. My vehicle rolled 2-3 times, and rolled over another car in the process. The person that hit me was arrested for failure to yield and dui. I went to the hospital as well as the person in the car I rolled over. My injuries were not life threatening thankfully. Will this be something my insurance will be able to handle for me successfully or should I get a lawyer.I am really hoping for an expedient process as I have no vehicle to drive. I have an outstanding personal loan that I purchased my vehicle with approximately 6 months ago, along with associated expenses and accessories. Blue book will not pay it off.”
Andrew Answers: “Yes you need a lawyer. When a drunk driver causes a wreck it allows the person struck, you, to pursue damages for your medical bills, pain, property damage, and punitive damages. Because the other driver was drunk you should be seeking a policy limit resolution, as in more money than you might have expected, and generally the insurance company of the drunk driver will want to settle because juries are more willing to side with you here.”
How can a warrant be issued for a person that was never ticketed, never questioned or seen by the police.
Friends Asks: “My friend wreck a car left the scene of an accident but was not caught by the police the passenger said he was driving. the police mailed the tickets to the passenger address although the driver don’t live there.”=
Andrew Answers: “The police only need to establish to a judge that there is probable cause someone was driving this car. There is no magic formula, only that based on what the police know a reasonable person would believe your friend was driving the car that left the scene.”
My mother was arrested 11 years ago for a DUI and possision in Gwinnett County. She got probation but never finished.
Potential Client Asks “When I look up the court case this is the last thing that is posted. 07/24/2008 – order amending sentence – defendants case expired with outstanding balance due – judge
She has changed her life and would like to move on but she is terrified about the possibility of going to jail. She can’t do normal things like cash a check or get on an airplane because she is afraid to get an Georgia ID. Would she still have to go to jail? or can she just pay her fines since it’s expired. I just need some input so that I can know what to do to help her.
Andrew Answers: “If the probation case is expired than the case is over. If instead the probation officer tolled, a legal word for stopped, the time your mother was completing on probation then you should hire a criminal attorney. They can address your mother situation with the probation department, judge, and Gwinnett Solicitor’s Office. A potential leal result could be simply closing your mother’s case and letting her live her life, completing what is owed on probation, to giving a jail sentence.”
Friend asks “Best friend recently got 1st DUI in Georgia. Resides in Georgia. No priors of any kind. Refused roadside breathalyzer. Took all roadside field sobriety tests. Was arrested. BAC measured at the jail. BAC registered .21. Athens.
She has already hired an atty to submit appeal letter to DDS, and it will be submitted within the 10 days. I’m a paralegal. I know that DDS automatically suspends your license, based on roadside breathalyzer refusal and .21 BAC. What are her odds of prevailing at DDS admin hearing and obtaining a permit to drive? I read that Senate Bill 236 (effective Jan 2013) will even help 2nd in 5 convictions, using Interlock Ignition device and alcohol treatment as leverage to obtain a permit for work, court, comm. serv., etc. Odds at DDS AND in Superior Court case?”
Answer: “DDS will allow your friend to reinstate on a first lifetime after completing DUI School, Georgia’s Risk Reduction course. Literally if your friend’s license is suspended at an Administrative License Hearing she can be reinstated the next day.
When she goes to court on the DUI, if convicted she, would be facing a separate but related suspension of her license. Based on the facts you have provided she would be eligible for a limited permit from the Department of Driver’s Services after leaving court. She would be able to get her license back 120 days later.”
How do I get a copy of my preliminary hearing “court recording” ? Can I have these charges lessened , expunged or sealed?: I was accused, arrested and convicted of Simple Battery, “Habitual offender” In the Court room at the Bond hearing my Ex-Husband told the judge as well as my witnesses that I didn’t hit him. They were then told that since I was arrested as a habitual offender for simple battery that it was to late to withdraw the charge.
Also charged with “Possession of a controlled substance with the intent to distribute” Name and quantity of controlled substance is not listed on the record I have obtained from my local Police Department.”
Andrew’s answer: “Convictions do not take place at the preliminary hearing level. The process, simply described, is you are arrested, a judge may consider whether there is probable cause supporting the warrant at a preliminary hearing, if so, the case will move to the prosecutor’s office, who then will formally file an accusation or pursue an indictment with your county’s grand jury, which is your notice the charges will not be dropped and the State is seeking a condition, after this point you may be convicted at trial or enter a plea of guilty or no contest to the charges in court.”
Defendant asks “I was pulled over for a tag light being out. the officer smell alcohol on my breath and ask me to step out of the vehicle. i complied to the field test and also the breath test. the officer told i wasn’t doing anything outside the norm,he just pulled me over because of my tag light. i blew a .138. this is my first offense and would like it to be dropped off my record. i also would like help in filling out the appeal to keep my license to travel back and forth from work.”
Andrew’s Answer: “A DUI can be dismissed or reduced to a charge less serious than DUI when your attorney investigates and finds a weakness in the Officer’s DUI case. To increase the chance of a good outcome for your case, hire an experienced DUI attorney soon. They will immediately challenge your license suspension, what you refer to as filling out an appeal, and should investigate the strengths and weaknesses of your case between today and your first day in court. When you enter court you have a plan and already know what path you are going to pursue in fighting your case and getting an outcome you want.”
The state of Georgia offers a deal for people who have committed their first offense. As one would expect, it is called the First Offender’s Act. However, like all deals, it comes at a price. There are pros and cons to the first offender’s act.
Many people who live outside of the criminal life are shocked and chilled to the bone when they find themselves in a situation where they need to deal with police, lawyers, and judges. Most people have one thing in common, they just want it to go away, as fast as it possibly can, so they can move on with their lives.
Here are the positives of First Offender’s. You have been charged with a felony or misdemeanor crime. Believe it or not, that felony arrest and conviction can be sealed. The charge will still be there while completing first offender, but once completed the hope is your move forward without future arrests. If you are ever asked if you have been convicted of a crime, you can honestly answer “no”. Most employers will be unable to access your criminal arrest record. However, even though employers cannot access it, keep in mind that law enforcement can access this. If you are arrested again, the police and courts will still know about your first offender sentence.
In order to receive the First Offender’s, you must be sentenced by the court under the First Offender’s act. First Offender’s can be used for either a felony or a misdemeanor. Therefore, if you use it on misdemeanors, and end up later being charged with a felony for the first time, you would not be able to use the first offender act for a second time on your subsequent felony case.
There are responsibilities that come with taking the First Offender’s plea: you must uphold your end of the bargain with the judge. That means, first and foremost, staying out of anymore legal trouble, complete any special conditions of your probation ordered by the judge, pay all fines to the courts, and attend meetings with the probation officer. If you fail to uphold the conditions of your plea you can be re-sentenced, lose the benefit of your First Offender’s status, and be sentenced to the maximum penalty your originally faced, meaning you could now be going to prison.
The greatest fear of everyday people when arrested for a crime is that they are going to be mixed with the worst of career felons. There are uncomfortable truths about the First Offender’s Act. It is not a free pass out of jail. You can be sentenced to jail time by the judge. After you do your time your first offender status allows you to move on with your life with the hope your criminal history will not follow you.
In Georgia to have a status as a Habitual Violator (HV) you have to be arrested and convicted of three serious driving offenses in a five year period. Once you have HV status, your regular driver’s license will be suspended for five years.
A serious driving offense is a DUI, but it also includes offenses like hit and run, racing, and using an automobile in the commission of any felony.
To qualify for the five year suspension, all of the arrests have to be within the five years. This is different than the dates of the convictions
The state is required to notify you of your HV status. In the worst cases prosecuted in Georgia a certified letter delivered to your last known address has been found to be enough proof at trial if it goes unchallenged by the Defense. See King v. State, 246 Ga. 644 (1980). This is considered to be valid notice. There is a strong argument that this is in violation of your right to Due Process under the Georgia and United States Constitution, but has not been considered by Georgia’s Supreme Court. The constitutional error is that the Defendant has to prove he did not receive the notice. It should always be the State’s job to prove you guilty on every element of a crime.
If you think you have been convicted of three serious traffic offenses in five years, you should check to be sure you do not have an HV status.
Once you have an HV status you will not be able to get a driver’s license for two years. It is very important that upon notice of your HV status that you give the Department of Driver Services (DDS) either your license or an affidavit of a lost license. The two year clock during which time you cannot get a driver’s license does not start running until they receive this.
After the two years, you may be able to get a probationary license that will last for the other three years.
If you are caught operating a vehicle while having an HV status and without a probationary license, you may be guilty of a felony and get a fine of $750.00 and potentially spend five years in jail. Also, operating a vehicle is slightly different than driving. Sitting in the driver’s seat with the engine on is operating the vehicle.
If you have an HV status because you got three DUI convictions in five years and you are caught operating a vehicle without a probationary license, your vehicle may be forfeited to the state. You may also get a $1,000 fine and potentially five years in jail.
Once you have your probationary license, the penalties that you receive are different than those that you received before you got the probationary license. If you are operating the vehicle outside the terms of your license, you may be charged with a misdemeanor.
If you are convicted of a DUI or a serious traffic offense of the kind that got you into HV status in the first place while you have a probationary license, you may be convicted of a felony and you could get five years in prison and a $1,000 fine. Also your probationary license may be revoked and you may not be able to get your license back until two years from the new offense or five years from the original revocation, whichever is longer.
After the five year suspension has expired, if you have not gotten your license reinstated properly you may still be charged with a misdemeanor for operating a vehicle.
At the end of five years, you can apply for a new driver’s license and your full driving privileges will be restored. To be sure that your HV case is resolved in the best way possible and that you don’t lose your driving privileges for any longer than necessary, it is best to hire an attorney to help you with this situation.
DeKalb County News 12:13 p.m. Tuesday, April 26, 2011 Text size:
Seven students arrested during Emory protestShareThisPrint E-mail .By Christian Boone
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Seven students, four from Emory and three from other local colleges, spent Monday night in jail following a confrontation with Emory University officials who had ordered them off the campus quad.
The protesters, representing Students and Workers in Solidarity, say a university administrator told them they had not properly reserved the quad and promptly supervised the dismantling of a makeshift tent city that had formed after last Wednesday’s sit-in at Emory President James Wagner’s office. The group is targeting alleged unfair labor practices by Sodexo, the university’s food and beverage vendor.
In a statement sent to reporters, administrators said the protesters violated a “long-standing university policy [prohibiting] unauthorized use” of campus space. The arrests came after the students refused to vacate the last tent standing, according to school officials. The arrests were captured on video by fellow students.
Protesters say they will return to the quad at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday to “show solidarity” with those arrested, said SWS spokesman Alex Zavell.
The seven students, who face criminal trespassing charges, were released Tuesday morning on bond.
Return to ajc.com for updates.
To Blow or Not To Blow, with DUIs that is always the question
If you are ever stopped for DUI, you will have a choice to make regarding whether or not to submit to the state’s test of your blood alcohol level. There are good reasons to take the test, but there are some good reasons not to. There is no correct answer.
When you are arrested for a DUI there are two separate cases against you. There is the ALS (administrative license suspension) case and the criminal case. Most of us are aware of how things work in a criminal case. The state has to prove to a jury that you did what they say you did beyond a reasonable doubt. The ALS hearing is different and you have to request it.
After your arrest, you will have 10 business days to request an ALS hearing at which point you can challenge the administrative suspension of your license. After the hearing if the administrative judge finds for the arresting officer and against you, if you chose to take the test and this is your first DUI, you may be able to get a provisional permit from Georgia’s Department of Driver’s Services to drive a car the same day.
The ALS case is a civil case. It is a case about your license suspension. If you refuse to take a breath test and the administrative judge finds for your arresting officer you cannot get a permit to drive. The reason for that is that you impliedly agreed to take the test when you got your driver’s license. Georgia courts have found driving to be a privilege and not a right.
If you refused to take the test and your license is lost at the ALS hearing you will not be eligible for a limited permit or early reinstatement of your license. You will lose your license for one year unless the criminal charges are dismissed, reduced, not prosecuted, or you are found not guilty.
If you took the test, there are still ways that the evidence of the test can be challenged. The breathalyzer machine has flaws, and these can be exploited in the criminal case.
There is also the possibility that you might not blow over the legal limit. If you blow over, the legal limit is .08, it will be presumed that you were driving under the influence of alcohol. But even if you don’t blow over the limit, you still can be found to have been a less safe driver, meaning you are guilty of DUI, because of alcohol if the police can show you were not capable of driving your car safely.
The ALS trial is completely separate from your criminal trial. In the criminal trial, the police will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were driving under the influence. They will have to convince six jurors of this fact and the jury must decide unanimously that you were guilty. This is much harder to do if they don’t have the evidence of the breath test on their side. It is also harder to prove that you were driving under the influence if you refused to take any field sobriety tests. The state can use the fact that you didn’t blow against you at trial, but this fact is not as damaging to your case as a blood alcohol level over the legal limit of .08.
The major issues that you have to weigh in making your decision are how badly you need to be able to drive and how badly you want to fight the criminal prosecution.
If this is your first DUI and you need to have your license for work it is probably better to take the breath test. You will likely be able to get a provisional license immediately after the ALS hearing that would allow you to drive until your criminal trial. However, the result of the test is an additional piece of information that the police can use in the criminal trial against you. It is much easier to convince a jury that you were intoxicated if there is a scientific test in evidence that shows your blood alcohol concentration.
Ultimately, the decision is yours to make, but my advice would be to blow if you have to drive or your life would fall apart without the ability to drive. If you can get by without a car for a year and you are more concerned with fighting your criminal case then not blowing gives you the best odds of being found not guilty of DUI.