DUI lawyer Atlanta, GA
Georgia DUI laws have consequences that result from two types of court hearings. The Georgia DUI consequences have an administrative license hearing, which is more often than not going to be requested by your DUI lawyer in Atlanta, GA and then the criminal proceeding is secondary in nature.
Both are important, because both the administrative license hearing and the criminal proceeding can affect your eligibility for a license and the consequences of the DUI. A criminal hearing can lead to more severe punishment, such as jail time, community service, license suspension, forced alcohol and drug treatment and fines.
- The Do’s and Don’ts of Dealing With a DUI Charge
- When Driving Under the Influence Becomes a Felony Charge
- Georgia DUI Laws
- Why is a DUI Lawyer Necessary?
- Why is a DUI Lawyer Necessary Infographic
- Contact an Atlanta, GA DUI Lawyer to Discuss Your Case
What Is An Administrative License Suspension?
An administrative license suspension is when you would have your Georgia license and right to drive in this state removed for a set period of time. This is a separate proceeding that is often initiated by the Department of Driver Services and can affect your ability to drive before you have been convicted of the DUI.
For anyone who refuses to take a state-administered test or if the results of the test show your blood alcohol levels were above .08 grams, you may have your license suspended for a year. You can appeal but you only have thirty days to do so, and this appeal leads to the administrative license suspension hearing.
This specific type of hearing is limited in scope and only covers very specific issues, such as whether the officer has reasonable grounds to believe the person operating the vehicle was in physical control of said vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It also looks at whether they caused a fatal collision or serious injury, whether the officer informed the person of their rights, whether the person refused the test, and whether the test was administered correctly.
Any such administrative hearing that leads to suspension, the suspension will be credited to a period of time imposed on the criminal activity. If you refuse to take the test and it’s your first suspension, you will be facing a 12-month suspension and you will not be eligible for limited driving permits or early reinstatement.
As long as you do submit to the test, you will be able to get a limited use driving permit during the suspension period, as long as it was your first administrative suspension. The limited permit allows you to drive to work, school, alcohol or substance abuse meetings, attend court, probation appointments, community service, receive medical care and treatments, acquire prescriptions, and may extend to your immediate family members.
Georgia’s laws can be confusing, therefore you should read on to fully understand all of the available information regarding Georgia’s DUI laws and how each case is handled. You should also ensure that you work with a DUI lawyer in Atlanta, GA that you trust.
While each driving under the influence (DUI) case in Georgia is different, several defense strategies are commonly utilized by an experienced DUI lawyer Atlanta, GA residents trust. If you have been stopped and charged with DUI, you need to be aware of your legal rights. Just because you have been charged does not mean there is nothing else you can do. There are options available. Contact a criminal defense lawyer immediately so that you can obtain additional guidance. They have years of experience helping clients who have been through similar circumstances. Indeed, it is important to understand a brief overview of five DUI defenses that are commonly used.
I was improperly stopped by the police.
In the United States, the U.S. Constitution prohibits police officers from pulling over or stopping individuals without reasonable suspicion. A police officer has reasonable suspicion, and therefore can legally pull a driver over if they reasonably suspect that the driver is engaging in illegal activity. For example, if a police officer is driving along and notices the car in front of them swerving in and out of their lane, then it is reasonable for the police officer to suspect that the driver is intoxicated and to briefly stop the driver to investigate. However, if an Atlanta GA DUI lawyer can show that the arresting police officer pulled the defendant over without reasonable suspicion, then any evidence that the police acquired from the illegal stop will not be admissible in court. If you can get most, or all, of the prosecution’s evidence thrown out there is a good chance that your DUI charges will be dismissed.
I can explain why the arresting officer mistakenly believed that I was driving under the influence.
If the officer who arrested you reported that you smelled of alcohol, had bloodshot eyes, had poor motor skills, or slurred your speech, you may be able to explain away these potentially damaging observations. For example, an individual may exhibit traits like these that are commonly associated with the consumption of alcohol if they have a medical condition or are experiencing a side effect of a legally prescribed medication or an over-the-counter drug. If you have been wrongly charged with a DUI because an officer confused symptoms or side effects with driving under the influence, inform a lawyer so that they can advocate for you and your charges may be dropped.
The results of my field sobriety test are not valid.
When a driver is pulled over under suspicion of driving under the influence, they are often asked to perform roadside sobriety tests. These tests commonly include walking in a straight line, balancing on one foot, or touching an outstretched finger to the tip of the driver’s nose. In some instances, an Atlanta, GA DUI lawyer can properly argue that the results of their field sobriety test are not a valid indication of intoxication because some other factor caused the defendant to test poorly. For example, a defendant may have performed poorly due to being overweight, having a physical impairment, being uncoordinated, wearing restrictive clothing or shoes, or unfavorable weather conditions. The defendant may have been anxious or fearful, which may have affected their performance during the test. It could have been a unique instance where they were not completely prepared for the test. Field sobriety tests alone are not always reliable in determining whether a defendant has had too much to drink, so a lawyer may be able to argue that other factors resulted in an unfavorable test result.
The police officer recorded a heightened BAC reading from my breathalyzer test.
DUI defendants often argue that their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) reading was inaccurate due to:
- The testing equipment is improperly maintained or calibrated
- User error causing an inaccurate BAC level to be recorded
- Malfunctioning BAC equipment
Inaccurate results due to prior ingestion of over-the-counter products such as mouthwash.
While my BAC was over the legal limit when measured, my BAC was not over the legal limit while I was driving.
This is called the “rising blood alcohol concentration” argument. Here, a DUI defendant is essentially claiming that they were not legally intoxicated while driving, even though when their BAC level was measured it was over the legal limit. This argument is based on the fact that it takes a while for alcohol to be absorbed into the body and that, consequently, it’s possible that a DUI defendant’s BAC level was not over the limit while they were driving but was increasing since their last drink and was therefore over the legal limit by the time the police tested their BAC. Talk to a criminal defense attorney to learn more about how this scenario occurs and if you believe this may apply to you.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Dealing With a DUI Charge
A DUI arrest comes with serious consequences so it is best to contest the charge effectively. During this process, how you react to certain situations could make a difference in your defense. Both what you do and what you do not do are important right after an accident and in the days and weeks after.
Do Take All Safety Precautions
If you have been involved in an accident, make sure to stay safe and to help with the safety of others when possible. This means moving the vehicle out of the roadway, exiting an unsafe vehicle and calling for emergency assistance. Provide your insurance to the driver of the other vehicle and take down their insurance. If time and safety allow, you can document the accident scene with photos from your phone. Your DUI lawyer in Atlanta, GA, might be able to use this information in your defense.
Do Take the Situation Seriously
Even a small accident is a serious matter and could result in thousands of dollars of property damage. If you are suspected of drinking, you could face large monetary fees and the suspension of your driver’s license. Understanding the gravity of the situation puts you in the proper frame of mind to answer questions and record details. At Lynch Law Group, our team can mount a vigorous defense with your cooperation.
If you are asked to take a BAC test or a field sobriety test, pay attention to how these were administered. These could provide important clues to aid in your defense.
Do Watch Your Posts on Social Media
After an accident, never post on social media information that could come back to harm your case. In fact, in most cases, it would be best not to write at all about the accident and certainly never in a joking or lighthearted manner. Your DUI lawyer in Atalanta, GA, knows that social media posts can sometimes be taken out of context. For example, though you may have been at a party earlier in the day this does not mean you consumed alcohol that impaired your driving.
Do Not Make Any Confessions or Admit Fault
Our team at the Lynch Law Group will mount a vigorous defense on your behalf, so it is best to watch your words after an accident. Do not admit to drinking at some point during the day, as this could be misconstrued as admitting impairment. An experienced DUI lawyer in Atlanta, GA, knows that accidents involve many complicated factors that determine fault.
When Driving Under the Influence Becomes a Felony Charge
Being arrested on a DUI charge can be a frightening experience. The only thing worse than knowing you are about to experience the consequences of a DUI is when you learn that the charge has been elevated to a felony. Not many people know that this can happen, but it is important to be aware of this change and in what circumstances it may occur. When and why does this happen, and what rights might you have in such a situation? The following information explains this. For more detailed information about your case, contact a DUI lawyer Atlanta, GA clients recommend.
First Offense DUIs and Felony Charges
While, in most situations, a first offense DUI is charged as a misdemeanor, there are few reasons why the charge might be elevated to a felony. Accidents involving the death or serious injury of another person are one of the most common scenarios. There are others, however, including:
- Driving a school bus intoxicated while there are minor passengers on board.
- Driving a for-hire vehicle with passengers while under the influence.
- DUI accidents involve bodily harm to passengers who are minors.
- Driving under the influence without a valid driver’s license or vehicle insurance.
- DUI crash in a school zone (while speed restriction is in effect) that caused great bodily harm.
If you are facing felony charges for a first-time DUI, do not assume that you will receive a lighter sentence because of your clean record. Even first-time DUI offenders are at risk of being handed steep penalties and severe sentences. Instead, ensure you have the protection you need and contact an experienced DUI lawyer in Atlanta, GA for help.
Second Offense DUIs and Felony Charges
Although, typically, a second offense DUI is not considered a felony, the charges, and potential consequences may be elevated for the same reasons as a first offense DUI. In addition, individuals may experience a heightened charge if they were allegedly caught transporting a minor while intoxicated for the second time. Do not simply accept the consequences. Instead, fight back with help from a seasoned criminal DUI lawyer.
Third Offense DUIs and Felony Charges
In most cases, third offense DUIs are considered felony charges. However, this may not be the only charge that an individual will face in their DUI criminal case. There may be additional charges, such as those related to auto accidents or the death or injury of a passenger or another road user. If you are facing such charges, you must seek immediate legal assistance with your case.
Georgia DUI Laws
If you are stopped in Atlanta, the officer who pulled you over will ask to administer a blood alcohol test. You have the right to refuse the test, but if you do, your license could be suspended for 12 months. If tested, and your BAC is .08 or higher, or .04 if you have a commercial license, or .02 for those under 21, you will need a DUI lawyer in Atlanta, GA. Your attorney will only have 30 days from the date of arrest to request a hearing. Without the hearing, you have no chance to avoid suspension or other consequences.
Consequences of a DUI
DUI’s maybe one of the more common criminal offenses in the U.S., but that doesn’t mean they aren’t serious. DUI’s are not to be taken lightly. If you were recently arrested for a DUI, you could face some serious consequences, including:
- Trouble Finding Employment: As a DUI lawyer Atlanta, GA residents trust can confirm, people with DUI convictions may have a more difficult time finding a job. Many employers conduct background checks these days and maybe hesitant to hire someone with a DUI on their record. Having a DUI on your record can cause employers to feel reluctant about hiring you, and it may prompt them to think that you are irresponsible. It may be especially difficult to secure jobs that require employees to drive a vehicle, such as sales, truck driving, and catering.
- Difficulty Getting an Apartment: Many landlords and property management companies also conduct background checks on prospective tenants. They want to make sure their tenants are trustworthy and won’t put other people in the building in danger. If you have a DUI on your record, you may have trouble finding an apartment. Landlords may be concerned that you might be a rowdy or risky tenant because of your DUI conviction. You may have to even move in with family members.
- Driver’s License Revocation: If you get convicted of a DUI, you could get your driver’s license suspended for up to two years. This will make your life especially difficult if you don’t live in an area with public transportation. You will have to rely on family and friends for rides to work, the grocery store, and other important places. You may feel like you’re losing your independence.
- Poor Reputation at Work: A DUI lawyer in Atlanta, GA has seen many people with DUI convictions experience issues at their place of employment. Even if you try to keep your DUI charge on the down low, your arrest could still be made public by the media and embarrass you at work. If your co-workers find out that you were arrested for a DUI, they may view you in a negative light and lose respect for you. With a DUI, the strength of your relationships with co-workers and supervisors can be affected. It could also affect your chances of being offered a promotion. With a DUI on your record, your supervisors may think that you are not fit for a higher-level position. In some cases, you can even lose your job.
- Higher Car Insurance Rates: If you get convicted of a DUI, expect your car insurance rates to go up. Insurance companies see people convicted of a DUI as high risk and charge them more money for premiums. In some cases, they might terminate your coverage.
- Ruined Personal Relationships: Getting convicted of a DUI can also negatively affect your relationships with your family and friends. While they may be initially worried about you, they may start to think differently of you as times go on. They may not trust you to take care of certain things or they may think that they need to keep their distance from you. They may wonder how you did such an irresponsible thing and may lose trust in you.
Georgia DUI Penalties
In addition to suspension, penalties for a conviction tend to be harsh. The Lynch Law Group can provide you with a qualified DUI lawyer in Atlanta, GA. For a first time offender, a conviction brings a minimum sentence of 24 hours in jail and a $300 fine. However, even for first offenders, Georgia DUI sentences tend to be more severe. The maximum is one year in jail and a fine of $1000. For a second time often within a 10-year period, the maximum sentences are the same but the minimum is a $600 fine and 72 hours in jail.
Repeat offenders whose second crime occurs within five years of the first have additional consequences. They must pay a $25 fee to have their picture and a notice of their conviction published in their county newspaper. They must also surrender the license plates to any vehicle registered in their name.
Convicted persons may also be sentenced to mandatory DUI classes and community service. Without a DUI lawyer in Atlanta, GA, you could find your life turned upside down.
The Legal Limit Is Too Easy to Reach
Generally speaking, one drink will raise your BAC by .02, meaning four drinks puts you at the limit. A drink is defined as 12 ounces of beer, five ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of liquor. This is a generalization as there are many factors than can affect BAC. Your weight, how much you’ve had to eat, how well you slept and how quickly you consumed the drinks can all make a difference. You could stop after work, have a couple of beers with a co-worker, then get pulled over by Atlanta PD a block away and test at .08. Then you will need a DUI lawyer in Atlanta.
The State of Georgia takes driving under the influence seriously. Even if you’ve just had a couple, you may be at risk for loss of your license, a chunk of cash and maybe your freedom for a time. If you are stopped and test over .08, don’t take a chance. The Lynch Law Group can get you a DUI lawyer in Atlanta
Why is a DUI Lawyer Necessary?
You might be wondering to yourself if you must seek help from a DUI lawyer in Atlanta, GA. A DUI is a serious offense and as mentioned above, it can have some life-impacting consequences. A DUI can come along with severe penalties that you might not recover from. That’s why you must hire a lawyer so that you can be represented fairly and have your case heard.
Here are some reasons as to why you should hire a DUI lawyer:
- They will be able to determine if you should take a plea bargain or not.
Depending on your case, you might be in the instance where a plea bargain could be made available for you. A plea bargain means you will be willing to accept a guilty verdict in exchange for a reduced charge and/or penalty. Sometimes this can be the best option for a person to take, especially if you know that you are guilty of the crime. Plea-bargaining isn’t something that you can do on your own, however, a DUI lawyer in Atlanta, GA from The Lunch Law Group could help you through this process if it is available to you.
- A DUI Lawyer Helps You Understand The Complexities of DUI Law
Being charged with a DUI crime can be confusing on its own, that’s why hiring a DUI lawyer who understands the complexities of DUI law could help you and your case. A lawyer knows how to navigate the legal proceedings of a DUI case. A DUI lawyer has the experience and skills that they have learned throughout years of study in law school and working at a law group. A lawyer will provide you with the clarity you might need to understand your case and possibly the ambiguities that surround it.
- They Have The Experience Needed in The Courtroom
If you have been injured by the other party because of their reckless act then you can almost guarantee that your case will end up in court. The victim will seek out compensation for the damages that are due to them, and a DUI lawyer can help you out in the courtroom to ensure that you get what you’re owed.
And if you are the at-fault party you’re still entitled to have fair representation in court. You could be facing severe punishments like possible imprisonment, so you should take the situation seriously and hire a DUI lawyer who will be able to advocate for your rights and ensure that they are reasonably considered.
- They Can Work On A Reduced Sentence
If you have been given a guilty verdict and depending on the severity of your case and circumstances with your arrest, your sentence could be a long one. Your DUI lawyer in Atlanta, GA won’t be able to overturn the judgment that was given by the judge but they can attempt to get the sentence reduced. Sometimes judges will consider granting these please for reduced sentences if the other party is willing to reconsider.
Why is a DUI Lawyer Necessary Infographic
Contact an Atlanta, GA DUI Lawyer to Discuss Your Case
Were you arrested for driving under the influence in the Atlanta area? Contact an experienced DUI lawyer Atlanta, GA clients recommend at The Lynch Law Group without delay. The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can get to work putting together your defense strategy. Do not assume that a DUI charge will be easy to fight on your own. Too many people make the mistake of attempting to fight a DUI charge without first consulting with an experienced lawyer. It is a charge that should be taken seriously. Seeking help from an attorney is advised because they can give you advice about immediate steps you should take. Look for an attorney who provides legal services if you are facing DUI charges. We offer a free no-obligation initial consultation, during which one of our attorneys will review the facts of your DUI case and explain your legal options. Protect your rights. Contact us today.
You Need a Strong Defense For a DUI Case in Atlanta
Driving while under the influence of alcohol is dangerous and can lead to injury or death for the driver or others on the road. For this reason, DUI laws in most states are strict. That includes Georgia. It is best not to drink anything before getting behind the wheel. You can feel fine to drive yet still have a blood alcohol content (BAC) over the legal limit. DUI punishments can be severe. Should you be stopped and arrested, you need a good DUI lawyer in Atlanta, GA, such as The Lynch Law Group.
Contact Our Law Firm Today
If you or someone you love is facing a felony DUI charge, contact The Lynch Law Group for assistance. Committed to your best interest, each Atlanta, GA DUI lawyer fights aggressively to protect our client’s rights, every step of the way. It does not matter if it’s your first offense or have had previous charges in the past, we understand how to approach your case so that you have the best quality legal representation. In every situation, we pursue the most favorable outcome possible. To ensure that your rights are protected to the fullest extent, hire a criminal defense lawyer who has had previous experience successfully fighting for the rights of individuals who have been charged with DUI. Schedule your personalized consultation to learn more about how we can assist you. Call our office today.
To learn more, please call The Lynch Law Group today.