"dui" in a nutshell
According to Georgia Law, A person shall not drive or be in actual physical control of any moving vehicle while:
- Under the influence of alcohol and;
- The person's Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) is 0.08 grams or more within 3 hours before or after driving or having physical control of any moving vehicle.
- Under 21, the legal drinking age, is a game changer. The driver's alcohol concentration ONLY has to be .02 grams or more.
- OR if there is any amount of marijuana or a controlled substance present in the person's blood and/or urine.
If the officer has "reasonable grounds" to believe you're impaired, he/she will likely ask you to take a Field Sobriety Test (FST). To be clear, FSTs don't determine the presence of alcohol, they are designed to determine if the alcohol has impaired you.
Officers don't have to tell you that FSTs are voluntary.
But we will. Field Sobriety Tests are Voluntary. These standardized tests include the "walk and turn", "one leg stand", and the "Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus" (HGN). The procedures in these tests are inconsistent, flawed, and defective. Click here for more information. The procedures in these tests are inconsistent, flawed, and defective.
Yes. The Field Sobriety Test is voluntary. No. The Chemical Test is not.
I refused the chemical test. . . now what
The Chemical Test requires you to submit a sample of your blood, breath, urine, or other bodily substances to determine if you are under the influence.
But, first, let's talk about Georgia's Implied Consent Statute: In general, this statute says that the mere fact that you're driving a vehicle in Georgia shows that you have consented to a chemical test(s). So...
If you REFUSE, the following happens:
- Your GA driver's license or privilege to drive on the highways of GA will be suspended for a minimum of 1 year.
- Pay Attention: If you agree to the testing, and your results show an alcohol concentration of at least .08 grams, your license or privilege may still be suspended for a minimum of 1year.
- The refusal may be used against you at trial. How? Well, if the officer accurately advised you of your rights - the results or refusal shall be admitted into evidence. Emphasis on accurately, because officer's responsibility is to read that little card in his/her pocket in its entirety. (You may not know if it was read in its entirety, but we will.)
warning: The 10 Day rule
The 10 day period after your DUI arrest is very critical. The officer not only arrested you for a DUI, but has very likely initiated an Administrative Legal Suspension action against your driver's license. This is completely separate from your criminal charge. You need to request a hearing within ten business days of your arrest to prevent the Georgia Department of Driver Services from automatically suspending your driver’s license. If you refused chemical testing, you don't have a chance for a hardship exception - such as permission to commute back and forth to work. And if you miss the 10 day deadline, your license will be suspended. There are defenses and strategies that we use for DUI Administrative Hearings that in most cases can help with you criminal DUI charge. But the clock starts ticking the moment they snap on those handcuffs. Contact Us Immediately to speak with an experienced Criminal Defense Attorney.
Building a strong DEFENSE
Our defense is tailored to each fact specific case. The following are just some of the ways we challenge the Prosecution's case:
- We challenge the constitutionality of the initial stop and file the corresponding motion to suppress.
- We challenge the administration of test the officer used to determine impairment.
- If a scientific test was used, for instance the use of the Intoxilyzer 9000 (brethalyzer), we challenge the results - from the machine calibration to human error in determining the detection point of ethanol (alcohol) molecules.
- We challenge the scientific measurement of absorption rates.
- We challenge any erroneous or misleading statements made by the officer, especially as it relates to Field Sobriety Tests and Implied Consent.
- We challenge the arresting officer's incomplete, inaccurate, and/or inconsistent incident report.
What am I Facing?
A DUI conviction has consequences that affect more than just your criminal record. Under Georgia law, the first DUI conviction requires:
- 10 days to 12 months of confinement time with the balance probated, if your BAC was .08 grams or more.
- A 12 month driver's license suspension (with the possibility of reinstatement after 120 days)
- Court ordered DUI program
- Restoration Fee ($300-$1,000 plus legislatively mandated surcharges & probation supervision fees)
- 40 hours of Community Service
- Clinical Evaluation (may be waived)
As if this isn't enough, each subsequent conviction carries greater penalties.