DUI Attorney in Athens, GA
Being convicted of drunk driving can have long-reaching, life-altering consequences. For a skilled Athens, GA DUI Lawyer, contact Adam Levin Law, LLC. Call now!
DUI Attorney in Athens, GA
The repercussions of a Georgia DUI conviction on your criminal record are far-reaching. They may include higher insurance premiums, the suspension or revocation of your driver’s license, a permanent record of conviction, loss of employment, fines, jail time, a numerous other collateral consequences.
DUI charges can be misdemeanors or felonies. In either case, it is essential to have legal representation from excellent Athens DUI lawyers in Athens, GA.
How Is DUI Defined in Georgia?
Georgia’s DUI laws are extensive and cover more than just drunk driving. Georgia DUI law is defined in O.C.G.A. 40-6-39(a), which states:
“A person cannot drive or be in physical control of any moving vehicle while:
Under the influence of alcohol;
Under the influence of any drug;
Under the intentional influence of glue, aerosol, or other toxic vapor;
The person’s blood alcohol concentration is 0.08 grams or more at any time within three hours before or after driving or having physical control of a vehicle.”
Georgia’s DUI law is highly nuanced and often updated. However, with an experienced DUI defense lawyer in these practice areas, you can rest assured that you will have the best defense against your DUI charges.
NHTSA-Approved Standardized Field Sobriety Testing
Law enforcement officers conducting DUI investigations in Clarke County use an array of DUI detection tests, known as Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs), certified by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The inability to perform well on an FST is commonly interpreted as evidence of DUI alcohol or drugs. The following three field sobriety tests are used extensively by Clarke County Police in roadside DUI investigations.
Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN)
Officers use the HGN field sobriety test to determine whether a person is legally intoxicated by having him follow a stimulus left and right with his eyes. They are trained to take note of the exact degree to which a pupil experiences “nystagmus” (the involuntary jerking of the eye).
As one looks to the side, an involuntary jerking of the eyes is known as “horizontal gaze nystagmus.” The driver experiencing the nystagmus cannot stop it and has no idea it is happening to them.
One-leg Stand (OLS)
As the second of three DUI field sobriety tests, the one-leg stand (OLS) test is designed to evaluate balance and coordination. For the one-leg stand, the police officer will tell the offender to raise one foot off the ground about six inches, maintain that position, look at the bottom of their foot, and count from 1 to 30.
The police officer will look for four indicators while the motorist performs this task to determine if they are under the influence: swaying, hopping, putting one foot down, or using their hands for balance.
NHTSA reports that if an individual exhibits two or more of these symptoms during the OLS, there is an 83 percent likelihood they have a BAC of .08 percent or more.
Walk and Turn Test (WNT)
Drivers are tested on their ability to follow directions and retain that information while completing the following physical maneuvers during the walk and turn test. They are instructed to take a heel-to-toe nine times down the line (actual or imagined), turn around, and retrace their steps nine times.
The officer will look for the following eight indicators of impairment during the test. These include the following:
Maintaining composure when being directed
Pausing on the way
Failing to put the soles of feet together
Leaving the line
Using arms for support
Irregularly failing to make a turn
Taking the wrong number of steps
Penalties For DUI
The penalties for conviction on a DUI charge can vary depending on the severity of the offense and the results of the breath or blood test. Judges in the Georgia criminal justice system penalize DUI offenders based on the number of prior DUI convictions and numerous other factors.
In Georgia, although a misdemeanor, the penalties for a first offense of DUI include the following:
Fines from $300 to $1,000
One to ten days in jail, twelve months of probation
forty hours of community service (20 hours if the BAC is less than .08)
Suspension of driving privileges
Clinical evaluation for substance abuse and Counseling for Substance Abuse
DUI Risk Reduction Class
In most cases, a second offense for driving under the influence in Georgia is still considered a misdemeanor. However, the law in Georgia imposes the following possible consequences for a second DUI offense
Fines between $600 and $1,000
Jail terms of three months to a year with a mandatory minimum of 72 hours
A probation period of 12 Months
30 days’ worth of community work, or 240 hours
Suspension of driving privileges for a minimum of one year
DUI risk reduction class
A red stripe placed on your license
Seizure of your license plates
An ignition interlock device placed on the vehicle (for a second conviction within 5 years)
Mandatory substance abuse rehabilitation program completion
Picture published in the community paper
Third and Subsequent Offenses
A third DUI conviction on drunk driving charges in Georgia may still be considered a high and aggravated misdemeanor. However, a felony charge will be filed for a fourth DUI conviction.
The consequences for a third or fourth DUI offense in Georgia might include the following:
- Fines from $1,000 to $5,000
- Jail terms between 120 days and 12 months, with a mandatory minimum of 15 days in jail.
- A probationary period of between 12 and 36 months
- 30 days’ worth of community work, or 240 hours
- A license suspension of 5 years duration – can obtain an ignition interlock device after 2 years
- Mandatory completion of a substance abuse rehabilitation program
- Declared a habitual violator, which could subject you to increased punishments for future driving offenses.
- Surrender your license plate
Why You Should Hire a DUI Attorney?
Facing a DUI charge can be overwhelming. It’s not only the legal implications that can be complex but the effect it leave on your personal and professional life. This makes it essential for you to hire a DUI attorney if you find yourself in such a situation. An attorney plays an essential role in defending your rights and helping you navigate the intricate legal system.
Your DUI Attorney works as your advocate, ensuring that your rights are upheld during the legal process. DUI charges often involve complex laws and evidence, like breathalyzer results, police reports, and field sobriety tests.
An experienced DUI attorney will review all of this information, question its validity, and work to ensure that your rights are violated. Their expertise can be invaluable, as they can spot any procedural errors, biased reporting, or violation of your rights that could impact your case.
The Role of a DUI Attorney in Athens, GA
The DUI legal system is quite daunting for individuals who are not familiar with the processes. Working with an attorney can help you as your attorney can guide you through the system, ensuring you are prepared for what to expect at each stage of your case.
Your attorney can help and assist you in plea bargaining, which can be a strategic move to reduce your charges or the severity of the sentence. Your lawyer will represent you in court, assist you in license reinstatement procedures following a DUI charge, and help you restore your lost driving privileges that can affect your ability to work, attend school, or fulfill other personal obligations. Your attorney will guide you through the process, advise you on the best approach, help you with the necessary documentation, and anticipate timelines.
How to Choose Your DUI Defense Attorney?
Criminal defense lawyers who focus on DUI cases are considered authorities in DUI practice. Unlike peers in general practice law offices, a DUI lawyer, Athens, GA, in Athens have access to resources and knowledge in DUI criminal defense law that their colleagues may not. A DUI lawyer in Athens has experience with the legal system and can increase your chances of having your DUI charges and other alcohol-related criminal charges dropped.
Picking the right DUI attorney Athens, GA is crucial since a conviction in a DUI criminal case can lead to driving restrictions, the possibility of mandatory minimum jail time if convicted of a second or subsequent DUI crime, and the jeopardy of future security-related employment chances. Most attorneys are associated with the DUI Defense Lawyers Association and can help you out with Administrative License Suspension.
If you are in legal trouble for DUI, you can use the following inquiries to 3make sure the DUI attorneys you employ can properly help with a DUI arrest, arraignment, and defense at trial.
Has the attorney successfully defended DUI defendants?
What is his relationship with his clients?
Does he have integrity?
Does he obtain significant settlements?
How many cases has he taken to trial?
It is crucial, however, to look at a law firm’s track record of handling DUI cases before hiring it. If you’re looking for a skilled personal injury attorney to deal with your DUI charges, look no further than Adam Levin Law, LLC.
Contact us for a free consultation with a Georgia DUI attorney on your DUI case.