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Atlanta DUI Lawyers

Created by Atlanta DUI lawyers, get all the info you’ll need in one spot. If you or a loved one is facing a DUI, consider a free consultation with an Atlanta DUI lawyer who can help.

Atlanta Municipal Court Amircani Law Author: Maha Amircani, Founder, Amircani Law, LLC

Maha represents clients in state and federal court litigation as well as administrative proceedings. Her practice specializes in the areas of personal injury, criminal defense, and real estate closings. Published on: December 16, 2018. Last updated on: June 10, 2019.

Atlanta DUI Attorneys

Although many people think DUI (driving under the influence) charge only refers to driving after drinking alcohol, Atlanta DUI attorneys know that there is more to the law.

Operating a car while under the influence of alcohol or any drug that makes a driver “less safe” is illegal under the Official Code of Georgia.  More specifically, it is illegal to drive when the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is at or more than 0.08, although drivers can also be arrested for DUI if their BAC is lower but they have broken other traffic laws. Additionally, the presence of any amount of marijuana or other controlled substance in the urine or blood of the driver is illegal, irrespective of if the offender is using the controlled substance lawfully (as one might with a medical marijuana prescription). You can get a DUI while driving any type of vehicle, riding a motorcycle, or even while boating.

The City of Atlanta Jail in downtown Atlanta remains the most-used jail for keeping drivers arrested for DUI in Atlanta. Other nearby county jails are also common destinations for drunk drivers, including Dekalb County Jail for offenders arrested in Dekalb County, and the Gwinnett County Jail for offenders arrested in Gwinnett County and its environs. An offender may be kept in jail for just a few hours, or 24 hours and more depending on the circumstances surrounding the arrest.

If you have been arrested for DUI or DWI, Atlanta DUI attorneys can help. Contact an Atlanta DUI attorney today and begin fighting your case.

A Tough Atlanta DUI Attorneys

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Atlanta DUI Lawyer Explains: What are the penalties for DUI?

According to the DUI laws in Georgia, there are several possible penalties for drivers arrested for DUI.  The law is complex, and there may be changes to the punishment based on factors like the number of previous arrests, convictions, and test refusals over the last five years. An Atlanta DUI lawyer can review the specifics of your situation and explain what penalties might apply to you. Possible penalties are license suspension or revocation, community service, fines, DUI education, and even jail time.

A driver that fails or refuses a chemical test will be placed under drivers license suspension immediately.  From the following day of the incident, a driver whose license has been suspended has ten business days to seek a hearing to challenge the suspension.  Such an appeal costs $150 and must be paid at the time of filing the request. A license may be suspended for between 120 days, and 18 months, however, it is longer for refusal to take the test than failure of the test.  Thus, taking the test and failing is better than refusing. You can know more about this by checking the Department of Driver Services’ license suspension and revocations.

First and second DUI convictions are treated as misdemeanors, and they may garner a fine ranging from $300 to $1000.  If there is a felony conviction (due to third or additional conviction, or special circumstances), $5,000 is the maximum fine amount applicable. Fines are payable in installments if the offender can prove and convince the trial judge that paying all at once is impossible due to economic hardship.  The judge is empowered to suspend half of the fine amount if the offender is willing to take the substance abuse treatment. Your Atlanta DUI lawyer can offer more explanation in these regards.

The usual length of the community service applicable to DUI offenders is at least 40 hours.  It may last up to 30 days for repeat offenders with a misdemeanor conviction, and 60 days in cases of felony.

Jail time is on the table for DUI offenders as well. The jail term for first-time offenders ranges from 10 days to 1 year, with the judge holding the discretion to suspend or stay most or all of the jail term.  In the case of a first time offender with a BAC below 0.08, the judge may stay the entire sentence. However, nothing less than 24 hours behind bars applies to offenders with BAC above 0.08.  Second and subsequent convictions attract lengthier jail terms, as is befitting them.

For more information about the penalties you may be facing, contact an Atlanta DUI lawyer today and get the best possible outcome for your case.

What Defenses Will My DUI Lawyer Atlanta Use?

There are a couple of options available to a motorist looking to defend himself, after being charged with a DUI or DWI (drunk driving).  Your DUI lawyer Atlanta can advise you as to what defenses best fit your individual situation.

Affirmative defenses where the offender argues he or she needed to drive, though intoxicated, are applicable in exceptional situations, even when the evidence does not support the charge.  Another form of defense against a drunk driving charge is to attack the reliability of the evidence, including the accuracy of a breathalyzer test, or the observations of the officer concerning the happenings before the arrest.  Since the peculiarities of each case are usually not the same, it is advisable to work with a DUI lawyer Atlanta.

Affirmative Defenses to DUI Atlanta Charges

  1. Necessity – this means the driving had to occur to avoid a more grievous occurrence.  In this case, the driver must prove that there are no options except driving and that the “more grievous occurrence” stood to cause more severe problems compared to the potential harm arising from a DUI.
  2. Duress – this means the driver drove to avoid any severe injury or death, for instance, forcing an intoxication to drive under force or threat.
  3. Entrapment – a situation where an officer aids a motorist to become drunk or drive when drunk.  In this case, the defendant is expected to prove that the alleged entrapment was the only reason he or she had to drive drunk.
  4. A Mistake of Fact – instances where an offender believed that he or she was not intoxicated.  Such a belief must be an honest one, and the offender must prove that they thought that the impairing effect of their prescription medication has worn off.
  5. Involuntary Intoxication – a situation where the offender ingested alcohol without their knowledge.

Common DUI Atlanta Defenses

  1. Improper Stop – a claim that the officer never had the right to stop the traffic initially.
  2. Administration / Accuracy of Field Sobriety Test – ruling an arrest as improper, provided it was based on a wrongly administered field sobriety test or inaccurate results.  The most frequently challenged test here is the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test – used in detecting eye movements often associated with intoxication.
  3. Administration / Accuracy of Portable Breathalyzer Test – when the attorney objects to the administration of the breathalyzer test carried out at the scene, due to the incompetence of the officer in charge, or presence of interfering factors like indigestion or vomiting.  (i.e., was the officer properly trained?) Or whether there were intervening factors such as vomiting or indigestion. Another issue that the defense attorney may raise is if the breath test device used for the test had adequate calibrations and maintenance.
  4. Administration / Accuracy of Standard Breathalyzer Test – almost like the defense described in #3, however, it refers to the more accurate breath test devices used in testing the offender after their arrest at the police station.
  5. Administration / Chain of Custody of Blood Test – objections by the defense regarding the administration of a blood test – if it was tampered or mishandled during the processing or in the chain of custody.
  6. Rising Blood Alcohol Concentration – defense attorney may argue that the BAC adopted was not up to the legal limit during the time the offender was driving.  However, due to the delay experienced during the traffic stop and while conducting the breath test, the limit increased. This may stand in situations where the alcohol consumed is yet to be absorbed entirely into the system until the time of the BAC test.

If you have been arrested for DUI or DWI, Atlanta DUI attorneys can help. Contact an Atlanta DUI attorney today and begin fighting your case.

Atlanta DUI: Understanding the DUI Test

In a typical Atlanta DUI arrest, there are two major necessities: reasonable suspicion and a BAC test.

First, the police officer is expected to confirm a “reasonable suspicion” that the driver has violated a traffic law or committed a crime before stopping their automobile and obtaining the driver’s information.  In cases of suspicion of alcohol, the officer is allowed to ask for chemical analysis of the urine, breath, blood, and other bodily substances. And from that moment onwards, there are two possibilities for an Atlanta DUI stop – the driver accepts to take the test or refuse not to.

A driver that accepts to take the test will have their blood subjected to blood alcohol concentration or BAC.  If the result reveals a BAC equal or less than 0.05, the judge or jury may conclude from this result alone that the driver was not under the influence of alcohol. Such a conclusion signals the end of the criminal case. With a BAC of above 0.05 but not up to 0.08, the judge or jury may not make any determination on whether the Atlanta DUI driver was under the influence.  Instead, the judge or jury is expected to make conclusions regarding whether the driver the guilty or not, based on other bodies of evidence, including dash recordings, police testimony. A BAC of more than 0.08 within three hours of driving is enough to conclude that the driver has violated the DUI statute and thus is guilty of at least a misdemeanor.

A driver that refuses to take the BAC test will be subjected to automatic penalties, and possible conviction of driving under the influence of alcohol.  The refusal of a driver is can be used as potential evidence against him or her in a criminal trial.

DUI Lawyer in Atlanta

If taken into custody for DUI, ask for a DUI lawyer in Atlanta. You are under no obligation to respond to any form of police questioning once you reserve your right to have an attorney present.

You can say something like, “at this time I would like to request a lawyer be present for any further questioning” or “I fully intend to comply and assist in any way I can once my attorney is present”. This is a right granted to everyone arrested by the United States Constitution. Once you say you would like a DUI lawyer in Atlanta, the interrogation has to stop.

DUI School Atlanta

There is often an educational component to a DUI sentence, which is where DUI school Atlanta comes in. The regulation of the DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program (often referred to as RRP) is a responsibility of the Department of Driver Services. Offenders that have been convicted of DUI, possession of illegal drugs, underage possession of alcohol while driving or Boating Under the Influence (BUI) are expected to participate in the intervention program.

If you are a licensed Georgia driver who gets a DUI in another state or are convicted of a DUI in Georgia, you are required to complete a Clinical Evaluation, a Department of Drivers Services approved DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program (DUI School) as well as a Substance Abuse Treatment Program, if recommended.  You can find a list of certified DUI schools Atlanta here.

The Clinical Evaluation component of the process is described as an examination conducted by a professional, usually certified in the field of addiction by the states’ Department of Behavioral Health.  A list of the approved Georgia Clinical Evaluators can be found here.

Depending on their findings, your Clinical Evaluator may recommend a treatment for you, i.e., complete participation and attendance in an approved drug/alcohol recovery program specified by your Evaluator. DUI school Atlanta and recovery programs can be an additional part of your DUI sentence, if convicted.

DUI Lawyer Atlanta GA

No matter your situation, you always have options. However, you won’t know the best route to take until you speak with a DUI lawyer Atlanta GA. Your Atlanta DUI lawyer has expertise in this area of the law, isn’t afraid to fight your case in court, and can advise you at every step of the way.

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