DUI Crimes in Georgia
Georgia DUI Crimes are prosecuted forcefully and severe consequences are imposed that can have a significant impact on your ability to work, attend school, and especially your finances. The DUI laws in Georgia criminalize driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, whether illegal, prescription, or over-the-counter, and toxic vapors to the extent that it is less safe for the person to do so. Every year the legislature meets and adds additions sanctions and penalties to the DUI Laws in Georgia. The laws surrounding DUI can be difficult to navigate on your own. It is in your best interest to hire a Georgia DUI Lawyer to assist with your case.
O.C.G.A. §40-6-391 reads as follows
A person shall not 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;
- Under the influence of any drug to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive;
- Under the intentional influence of any glue, aerosol, or other toxic vapor to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive;
- Under the combined influence of any two or more of the substances specified in paragraphs (1) through (3) of this subsection to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive;
- 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; or
- Subject to the provisions of subsection (b) of this Code section, there is any amount of marijuana or a controlled substance, as defined in Code Section 16-13-21, present in the person's blood or urine, or both, including the metabolites and derivatives of each or both without regard to whether or not any alcohol is present in the person's breath or blood.
There are numerous facets of a DUI case and it can be difficult to navigate on your own. Our Georgia DUI Attorneys have extensive experience in handling DUI cases and are here to help. Some of the elements that make up a DUI include:
30 Day Letter: The 30 day letter is a request for an administrative license hearing (ALS hearing). This letter is critical to saving your driver's privileges and it must be filed within thirty days of your arrest. If you do not file the letter, your driver's license will suspended.
Alco-Sensors: An alco-sensor test is one of the tests that an officer may ask a person to submit to when pulled over for a suspected DUI. Alco-sensor tests are different from the mandatory state breath test and a person is not required to submit to them.
ALS Hearings: ALS hearings must be requested within 30 days of your arrest in order to save your ability to drive. A failure to request an ALS hearing will request in a suspension of your driving privileges. It is critical that you retain a Georgia DUI Attorney immediately after your arrest to protect your driving privileges.
Blood Testing: There are multiple ways an officer can test a persons BAC when pulled over for a suspected DUI. The officer can choose to utilize breath testing, blood testing, or urine tests. Blood testing is considered to be the most reliable of the three tests but only qualified individuals can administer a blood test.
Breath Testing: Breath testing is another way that officers can test a person blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in Georgia. Breath testing is often the most misunderstood test because people are not sure whether they are required to submit to the testing or not. It is critical to understand your rights so you don't agreed to a voluntary test.
DUI Child Endangerment: Child endangerment and DUI are two separate charges. Therefore a person could be charged with DUI and multiple counts of child endangerment. Child endangerment can manifest in several ways.
DUI Drugs: You can receive a DUI for illegal drugs, over the counter, and prescription drugs. Even if you were taking the drugs according to the dosage given by the doctor, you could still be charged with a DUI. It is crucial to understand what the penalties are and how you can defend against them.
DUI Less Safe: A DUI Less Safe is when a driver is less safe to drive as a result of taking drugs or alcohol. The offender does not have to be over the limit to be guilty of DUI less safe.
DUI Per Se: There are two different types of DUI charges a person can face: DUI less safe and DUI Per Se. Per se means "by or in of itself". Essentially, a DUI per se occurs when a person has a blood alcohol content of .08 or above while driving a vehicle on Georgia roads.
Failed Sobriety Testing: Sobriety tests are often performed roadside and an officer is looking to see if they had probable cause to arrest the driver for DUI. The standard tests include the walk and turn test, one leg stand, and the horizontal nystagmus test. However, many people are familiar with other tests officers may ask such as counting to a certain number of reciting the alphabet forwards and backwards.
Felony DUI: Generally a DUI is charged as a misdemeanor but it certain situations, it will be charged as a felony. Felony DUI charges are not be taken lightly. You need a DUI Attorney in Georgia to assist with your case.
First DUI Penalties: While a first DUI in Georgia is generally charged as a misdemeanor, it still comes with serious consequences. It is important to hire a Georgia DUI Attorney to ensure a conviction does not go on your record and to reduce the punishment.
Georgia DUI Court: DUI court is a treatment program that is offered in many counties throughout Georgia. It is an intensive program that is overseen by the judge by a State or Superior court judge. The program includes monthly fees, weekly treatment, and numerous court appearances before the judge. Because it is a serious commitment, you should not participate unless you have discussed it first with a Georgia DUI Lawyer.
Georgia DUI Consequences: A Georgia DUI conviction comes with severe consequences. Jail time, fines, community service, are treatment programs are just some of the penalties that will accompany your conviction. Because of the severity of the punishments, you need a DUI attorney in Georgia on your side.
Georgia DUI Laws: The laws for a DUI in Georgia are highly complex and can be difficult to navigate. While they may read easily, they are difficult to put into practice. The deadlines are strict and forgetting to file one piece of paper could cost your driver's license.
Georgia DUI Penalties: The penalties for a DUI range greatly depending on if this was a first offense, second, third etc. It is important to understand what the potential punishments will be. Because the penalties will have an effect of you, your family, your job, and your life, it is crucial to retain the very best representation.
Habitual Violator: In Georgia, habitual violator is not a crime, but is instead a status you receive after you have committed a certain amount and type of offenses. For example, if you have been convicted of three DUI offenses in a 5 year period, a fourth charge will result in you being a habitual violator if convicted.
Hardship License Plate in Georgia: License surrender is a consequence of certain DUI convictions. However, there are limited circumstances where you can apply for a hardship license plate. The application will need to be submitted to the Department of Driver Services.
Ignition Interlock Devices: Ignition interlock devices are breathalyzers that go in vehicles. They require that the driver give a breath sample before the car is started as well as during the drive. Georgia drivers that have been arrested for a second DUI in five years are required to have these devices installed on their vehicle.
No Proof of Insurance: All drivers in Georgia are required to have insurance on their vehicles and to be able to provide proof of that insurance to law enforcement officers. A failure to comply with either one of these rules can result in being charged with no proof of insurance. While not being able to proof of insurance is a minimal fine, driving a vehicle that does not have appropriate insurance has severe consequences.
Open Container: Georgia's open container laws prohibit vehicles to have open bottles containing alcoholic beverages. It is important to understand that even if the passenger was the one who had the bottle, the driver will likely be charged with open container. A conviction will result in two points being added to their license.
Prescription Drug DUI: This occurs when a person is arrested for a DUI while taking prescription drugs. Even if you are taking your prescription according to the directions, you could still be charged with a DUI. These cases are very complicated and require an experienced DUI Lawyer in Georgia.
Red Stripe: One of the lesser known consequences of a second DUI is that the accused's license will have a red stripe along the top. This stripe stays on the license for seven years as long as there have been no more DUI convictions.
Refusals in Georgia DUI Cases: A refusal to take the state administered chemical test will result in a one year suspension of your Georgia driver's license. This is not to be confused with the alco-sensor test administered on the side of the road. Our Georgia DUI Attorneys can help avoid the one year license suspension even if you refused testing.
Second DUI Penalties: The penalties for a second DUI in Georgia are intense and life-altering. Extended jail terms, 240 hours of community service, and an 18 month license suspension are common punishments for a second DUI.
Serious Injury by Vehicle: Individuals who drive under the influence and cause a serious injury to another person can be charged under O.C.G.A. § 40-6-394. The consequences are severe and require the assistance of a Georgia DUI Attorney.
Third DUI Penalties: A third DUI comes with serious consequences. It is critical that you hire a lawyer to help assist with your case. Large fines, extended jail sentences, and a license suspension are all punishments that accompany a third DUI in Georgia.
Vehicular Homicide: In Georgia, vehicular homicide can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. If the underlying violation was a simple traffic offense, then it is usually charged as a misdemeanor. However, if the homicide resulted from DUI, reckless driving, fleeing the police, hit and run, or unlawfully passing a school bus, it will be charged as felony vehicular homicide.
Penalty for DUI Crimes in Georgia
Georgia DUI penalties can be very harsh. Some of the consequences could include you losing your license for a long period of time, paying significant fines, or spending prolonged time in jail. The DUI laws are complicated but our Georgia DUI Lawyers are up to date are all the laws and know how to properly defend your case. You do have options to avoid these heavy penalties.
There are tons of defenses available to you for your Georgia DUI case. A couple of them are:
- Challenging the Traffic Stop
- Lack of Probable Cause
- Challenging the Field Sobriety Tests
- Illegal Pat Down
- Challenging the Blood Test
These are just a few of the defenses your Georgia DUI Attorney will explore to see what works best for your case.
How Can a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer Help
A DUI charge in Georgia is serious, however there are many defenses that can be explored with the help of a top DUI lawyer. As soon as possible in the wake of a DUI arrest, you need to contact a DUI Attorney in Georgia to begin gathering evidence and keeping your driver's license from suspension or your privileges to drive in Georgia if you are an out-of-state driver with a DUI in Georgia.
If you do not seek help from a Georgia DUI attorney, you could find yourself facing suspension of your driver's license simply by virtue of failing to meet the statute of limitations for appeal. Georgia DUI law enforcement officers must have a reason to pull you over. If you were stopped without the officer having observed a traffic violation, or you were stopped at roadblock considered unlawful in Georgia, you may have solid ground for your case to be won.
After practicing for 20 plus years throughout Georgia, the Office of Lawson and Berry know how to get you the best outcome possible. Don't try to handle it on your own. Your Georgia DUI Attorney will investigate all the details surrounding your case and evaluate your options. They will be available all the time to you – even nights and weekends – because your case is important. Lawson and Berry and their team of DUI Attorneys in Georgia will work with you to fight your charge and avoid a conviction. Call today to schedule a free case evaluation.