Driving while under the influence, or DUI, is many people’s only exposure to the criminal justice system. Indeed, it is one of the only criminal charges that can result from a simple lack of judgment and does not involve intent to hurt anyone. Still, courts in Chamblee, Georgia take DUI charges very seriously. A conviction will affect not just a person’s criminal record, but can also result in a mandatory loss of license.
If you are facing accusations of DUI, it may be important for you to obtain knowledgeable legal representation to guide you through this complex process. A Chamblee DUI lawyer could help you defend your right to continue driving and work to achieve a positive resolution to your case.
What is a DUI?
According to Georgia Code 40-6-391, a DUI violation is actually listed as a traffic violation. Despite this, the charge will still be handled in a criminal court and carries harsh potential penalties. It is a common misconception that a person needs to have a blood-alcohol level above the legal limit to be charged with DUI. While a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or above will certainly qualify as legal intoxication, the statute as it is currently written provides alternative definitions of DUI that have nothing to do with BAC.
For example, a person may be charged with DUI if their ability to drive is impaired due to alcohol—a far less precise and more subjective way of determining guilt than BAC. In these cases, the arresting officer’s observations will be key in the case.
A person can also be charged with DUI if they are under the effects of any drug. This includes street drugs such as cocaine or marijuana, as well as any prescription medications that negatively affect driving ability. Speak with a Chamblee DUI lawyer to learn more about DUI-related information.
Potential Consequences of DUI
The potential penalties for a DUI conviction depend upon the number of previous convictions on a person’s criminal record. First or second offenses are considered misdemeanors and are treated as such. Third offenses are misdemeanors of a high and aggravated manner. Any subsequent conviction is a felony. A first-offense conviction can result in:
- A minimum fine of $300 but no more than $1,000
- A minimum jail term of 10 days but not more than 12 months
- At least 40 hours of community service
- Mandatory completion of a DUI education program
- A court-ordered evaluation for drug or alcohol dependency
- A term of probation for any portion of a 12-month sentence not spent in jail
It is important to remember that these are the maximum available penalties. In many first-time offender cases, the jail term and fine are suspended for the length of the sentence. This means that if the defendant fulfills all the requirements of the court, the case will be closed.
Driver’s License Implications
The law also requires that a driver convicted of DUI must have their license suspended for 12 months upon a first DUI conviction. However, this term can be shortened to 120 days if they complete an alcohol education course and submit the appropriate reinstatement fee. Consult a Chamblee DUI lawyer to find out more about potential consequences.
A Chamblee DUI Attorney Could Work to Protect You
Being charged with a DUI is often a frightening and intimidating experience. For many people, this will be their first and only interaction with the criminal justice system. Others may be hoping to avoid a second or third conviction.
No matter the circumstances, a Chamblee DUI lawyer could work to help you meet your goals in your pending DUI cases. Call today to schedule a consultation.