When a person is arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), it is understandable for them to be scared and confused. For many people, this is their first experience with the police in a negative light and their first foray into the criminal justice system.
From simply being arrested, to having their license confiscated, to having to appear in court, the experience can be daunting. Forsyth County DUI lawyers are here to help. Skilled criminal defense lawyers will work with you every step of the way to protect your freedoms.
DUI Laws in Georgia
Georgia Code 40-6-391 defines both DUI and the attached penalties for all DUI offenses. Oddly, the statute’s title, “Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol,” belies the actual definition of DUI in Georgia. A more accurate title might be, “Being in Physical Control of a Vehicle while under the Influence of Alcohol,” as this is the definition presented in section (a)(1). The driving vs. physical control distinction is an important one to make since if a person is passed out behind the wheel, they may fairly say that they are not “driving” the car. The state must prove that the person was impaired when the vehicle was moving.
Another useful aspect of the Georgia DUI law to keep in mind is that it covers not only alcohol but also drugs. This may bring illicit substances such as cocaine and marijuana to mind. However, this can also include prescription drugs that may inhibit a person’s mental and physical abilities. Carrying a valid doctor’s prescription for medication is, therefore, no defense against an officer’s opinion that the ability to drive was impaired.
Finally, there is an implied consent given by all drivers to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test if an officer has reason to believe that they are driving under the influence. However, in order for the officer to demand that the person submits to this test, they must have probable cause to believe that the person is too impaired to safely drive. This decision will be based entirely on the officer’s observations. Therefore, even if a blood test comes back with a positive reading, a DUI lawyer in Forsyth County can argue that the test should never have been administered in the first place.
Possible Consequences of a DUI Conviction
Georgia takes the prospect of DUI extremely seriously and the punishments for a conviction are accordingly harsh. A conviction for even a first time DUI carries multiple penalties. These include:
- A fine of not less than $300 but not more than $1,000
- Imprisonment for not less than 10 days but not more than 12 months
- No less than 40 hours of community service
- Completion of a DUI Alcohol education program within 120 days after conviction
- A clinical alcohol dependency evaluation
- Loss of license for up to one year
In Forsyth County, the minimum penalties are ignored. Forsyth will often apply a sentence to a much higher penalty than the minimum.
Many of these penalties may be suspended or put on probation at the judge’s discretion. It is here that a skilled Forsyth County DUI lawyer can be of great value as a plea deal admitting guilt can often be negotiated between the attorney and the prosecutor. When these agreements are met, they are often followed by the presiding judge.
How Forsyth DUI Attorneys Can Help
If you have been charged with a DUI case, Forsyth County DUI attorneys are available to help. They will be at your side every step of the way from arraignment and bail hearings, through pre-trial motions to a potential trial.
Whether your goal is to seek a fair and equitable plea deal or to fight the charges in a full trial, they will protect your interests with vigor and diligence.
With possible consequences ranging from a lengthy jail sentence and hefty fines, to license suspension and required education programs, the stakes are high. Do not take any unnecessary chances, contact a Forsyth County DUI lawyer today.