Thousands of queries on Google and other search engine directories indicate questions posed by those arrested. One central theme is to find more information about the necessity (or lack thereof) for retaining a drunk driving defense attorney. If your DUI court is outside a 60-mile radius of metro Atlanta Georgia, our firm’s Atlanta lawyers will assist you in finding a lawyer near me to help you, if you ask.
These five questions about our DUI law in GA, O.C.G.A. 40-6-391, were produced with a quick search:
How to represent yourself in DUI court?
Why hire a DUI lawyer?
How do attorneys typically help with a DUI?
What is the best way to defend against DUI?
How do DUI defense lawyers defend you?
This article will explain why you do not want to squander your ONE chance for success in beating a DUI case. Only by knowing the full impact of a DUI Georgia conviction can you make the right decision for yourself.
Thinking About NOT Hiring a DUI Attorney? Think AGAIN!
If you are facing DUI charges for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and are trying to decide what DUI help you need, the two most unacceptable things you can do after an arrest for a DUI in Georgia are:
1. Plead guilty; OR
2. Try to represent yourself and not hire an experienced DUI attorney. The answer here is “the man who represents himself has a fool for a client.”
Intoxicated driving laws in Georgia are among the most complex of all state criminal statutes. So, it is 100% crazy to think you can defend a DUI in court against a trained prosecutor. If you are indigent, get a public defender. For those who KNOW they need to fight, get a FREE lawyer consultation near me via an office visit, a cell phone video conference, or by way of a phone call. Read more below.
The LIFETIME ERROR of Pleading Guilty to a Georgia DUI
Next, we will look at the first “self-help” option of GIVING UP and allowing the serious misdemeanor to be permanently placed on your criminal record. You don’t THINK you have a chance to win, or in having the DUI reduced to reckless driving. BAD DECISION: This conviction is a LIFETIME error. It will not “age off” or be removed – EVER.
This common “mistake,” in thinking that the DUI will “drop off” is a mere ASSUMPTION. Many people arrested for DUI foolishly decide to enter a guilty plea to drunk driving and live to regret it. This flawed thinking is much like a person hearing they have cancer and giving up without hiring an expert oncologist to offer alternatives to “beat cancer.”
Our office only takes cases where clients are dedicated to fighting “legal” cancer — drunken driving charges. Do not plead guilty and THEN come to us to try and UNDO your error.
Unlike with Georgia DUI laws half a century ago, entering a quick guilty plea when facing a DUI does not provide a single advantage or benefit. Up until 1997, a person could plead nolo contendere on a 1st DUI in GA and retain full driving privileges with his or her Georgia driver’s license.
Every DUI conviction under O.C.G.A. 40-6-391 suspends or revokes your driver’s license (or the ability to drive in Georgia, for out-of-state licensees).
Current impaired driving laws in Georgia call for mandatory, minimum punishments for any DUI conviction. O.C.G.A. 40-6-391 to avoid any of the listed consequences below.
In fact, since July 1, 1997, laws in the Peach State now disallow a nolo plea, except where your DUI defense attorney petitions the court for such a rare “no contest” plea. To even have a prayer of receiving consideration, proof that the case involves a DUI accident may expose the driver to paying out substantial civil damages.
The judges usually say “no” to entering a plea of “no contest” (nolo contendere). Plus, nolo pleas to DUI still “counts” as a conviction, and “show” on your criminal history for life.
Georgia DUI Laws – Penalties and Consequences
Depending on your prior criminal law history, penalties for a drunk driving conviction can be either misdemeanor or felony and carry these “ranges” of punishment for the offender. As can be seen below, O.C.G.A. 40-6-391 drastically bumps up the MANDATORY punishments and driver’s license consequences for repeat DUI offenders.
Georgia DUI Minimum, Mandatory Misdemeanor OR Felony Penalties
FOR ALL OFFENDERS Who Are Convicted of ANY DUI in GA:
Being convicted of a first-time DUI offense (whether DUI less safe or DUI per se) in your LIFETIME creates a criminal conviction that cannot be expunged and will be part of public records until you DIE! GA DUI law prohibits the use of a first offender plea, conditional discharge, record restriction, diversion or any other means of getting a drunk driving conviction off your criminal history. What other states do IS NOT RELEVANT since Georgia does not permit these “slaps on the wrist” or future expungement.
ADDITIONAL COLLATERAL CONSEQUENCES OF A CONVICTION of DUI-OWI-DWI-OUI-OVI
If you plead or are found guilty of a DUI in ANY jurisdiction, and it is reported to DDS Georgia, you can expect the loss of driving privileges to possibly be a greater punishment than the statutory criminal penalties of a judge’s sentencing. A DUI conviction gives you a permanent criminal record, which can have a profound impact on every aspect of your life, including:
- Ineligibility or difficulty obtaining certain professional licenses or certifications, including getting a CDL license for long-haul trucking jobs
- Reduced chance for getting some jobs
- Difficulty being approved for certain types of rental housing
- Immigration issues for H1B visa holders, or those with green cards
- A DUI conviction can create child custody and child transport and visitation issues
- Higher car insurance company premiums and being restricted to lower liability limits
If you are a college student, underage offender, or plan to apply for a professional degree (e.g., nursing, law, medicine) you may have trouble getting into these programs or qualifying for the available financial aid sources, such as grants and scholarships. In Georgia, a DUI-drugs conviction takes away the Hope Scholarship, for example.
Plus, since driving for work is often a good source of income, a conviction for impaired driving blocks many available jobs (e.g., Lyft, Uber, pizza delivery) that might cover higher education costs and your living expenses. After a DUI-DWI, car rental companies will block you from renting vehicles, even after turning age 25. See my legendary LIST of 97 consequences of a DUI conviction, for more details.
In Search of Skilled DUI Lawyers That FIGHT to Beat a DUI
Look at ALL credentials and AWARDS for law firms with DUI lawyers near me that can protect your rights. Within all of Georgia, no other law office with three or more partners has better credentials in the field of DUI defense. PERIOD.
And YES, if you come here, you will be represented by a PARTNER, and not “handed off” to an associate or “contract” lawyer.
Ex-cop Cory Yager, Larry Kohn, or I will represent you. Now that you know the seriousness of a DWI-DUI case, why not meet with our knowledgeable, experienced, and award-winning D.U.I. attorneys for a no-obligation, FREE lawyer consultation? Having a criminal defense attorney by your side FROM THE BEGINNING substantially improves your chances of dismissal, reduction, or acquittal at trial. These outcomes are precisely what occurs in MOST of our DUI cases.
If you’re looking for an Atlanta DUI lawyer near you, call us today at our 24-hour number, 404-567-5515 to get FREE legal advice, in person, via video conference call, or over the telephone. With a FREE consultation on your criminal charge with trial lawyers at a law firm in Atlanta GA whose criminal defense lawyers have THOUSANDS of cases under their belts, including thousands of Atlanta DUI arrests, how can you say NO?
Georgia’s BAC Limits for Permissible Alcohol Levels
Georgia laws on intoxicated driving or drugged driving differ slightly. States like Arizona, Pennsylvania, and many others impose mandatory, drastic punishment enhancements triggered by high BAC content forensic results. These drastic punishments are not “built-in” to Georgia drinking and driving laws. Three separate BAC levels exist with a different legal limit for underage drivers (0.02 grams percent), while CMVs (commercial motor vehicle operators) are held to a 0.04 grams percent limit, and all other adults age 21 and over, are held to the usual 0.08 grams percent BAC concentration.
Post-Arrest Blood Alcohol or Drug Quantity Tests or “Refusal” Under Implied Consent
As a driver within the state of Georgia, you have “impliedly” consented to take one (or more) types of chemical tests once you are arrested for driving impaired. The statute sanctioning this post-arrest testing is called the “Georgia implied consent law.” The Legislature passed this statute authorizing police to determine the alcohol content of your breath or your blood. If something other than alcohol is impairing you, the test type will be a blood test, which will look for ANY impairing substances.
Refusal to submit to such tests puts your ability to drive in Georgia at risk, which is a civil penalty authorized under the Georgia Code. Plus, since 2006, police officers have been allowed to seek a judicial search warrant to extract your blood, while still having the right to move for the 12- month suspension for your refusal to be tested. So far, our state does not criminally punish people for refusing the implied consent law testing, but many other states do.
If you refuse a breath or blood BAC test, your driver’s license will be suspended by the GA DMV (called DDS in Georgia), for 12 months. When you have a second or subsequent refusal, the civil suspension is for three years, with no chance to regain a full license (if suspended) for 18 months.
However, you can appeal a civil driver’s license suspension by requesting a hearing. If you are arrested for a DUI, refuse to take a chemical test, and receive notice of an administrative license suspension, call our DUI attorneys immediately.
WARNING: You ONLY 30 DAYS after the arrest to protect the RIGHT TO DRIVE! Call us NOW!
For FREE LEGAL ADVICE NEAR ME, CALL OUR ATLANTA DUI ATTORNEYS TODAY
When you need a DUI criminal lawyer, look ONLY for the best DUI lawyers in GA. Our law offices have three of those top attorneys in Atlanta. Our law firm is led by Board-Certified DUI attorney Bubba Head, a 43-year veteran of criminal cases, including DUI as well as personal injury. Law partners Cory Yager and Larry Kohn handle every type of criminal case, from traffic ticket defense to murder. Where else will you find THREE published book authors on DUI laws?
With four office locations in Fulton County and Cobb County, our criminal defense attorneys can assist in your defense. If you have been charged with a drunk driving offense, the DUI attorneys at our Atlanta law firm are here to protect your rights, review the evidence of your case, and build you the strongest defense under state and federal constitutional and statutory law. Our criminal lawyers near me want to help you prove your innocence and (by doing so) avoid having you to deal with the consequences of a DUI conviction.