People get arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in Georgia every day. State laws show little mercy for those who get behind the wheel of the car with a blood alcohol content (BAC) over the legal limit or while under the influence of substances that impair their ability to operate a vehicle safely. In fact, you don’t even need to be actually driving to be arrested for DUI in Georgia—merely in control of a vehicle.
Just because DUI arrests are common does not mean they should be taken lightly. A conviction gives you a criminal record that will affect your employment, professional licensure, loan opportunities, and other aspects of your life for years to come. When your entire future is on the line, it is a wise decision to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Before there was the Law Office of Jay G. Wall, Attorney Jay Wall was a prosecuting attorney. In that role, he worked diligently to convict those arrested for DUI. Now, he uses that insider knowledge to defend his clients. Here are his answers to some frequently asked questions about DUIs in Woodstock, Canton, Marietta, Cartersville, and the rest of Georgia.
Can I refuse the breath or blood test if requested by law enforcement?
Georgia has an implied consent law, which means if you operate a motor vehicle in the state, you agree to submit to a chemical test upon request of law enforcement. A refusal results in the suspension of your driver’s license for at least one year. Furthermore, if you are convicted of DUI after refusing to submit to a chemical test, you lose eligibility to petition for limited driving privileges.
You can refuse a request to undergo field sobriety tests without penalty. In fact, due to their unscientific nature, you should politely refuse; however, you face two charges when you refuse a test of your breath or blood. You should know that you can be convicted of driving while impaired even without BAC results.
If I’ve been arrested, will I go to jail?
If you are arrested for DUI, either for impairment or for having drugs or alcohol in your system, you won’t be allowed to drive home. If you don’t have someone who can pick you up, you may be detained long enough to be deemed safe to drive yourself home.
If you are convicted of DUI, even a first DUI, you may face a jail sentence of 10 days to 12 months. For subsequent misdemeanor convictions, the jail sentence is longer, up to one year for a third misdemeanor conviction and one year or more in prison if the DUI rises to the level of a felony.
Will I lose my license? Then how will I get to work or school?
In some cases, you may be eligible to apply for a limited driving permit. The permit may allow you to drive to and from work or school, pick up prescriptions, attend court dates, participate in drug and alcohol programs, and transport unlicensed drivers in your home to and from school, work, and medical appointments. There can also be limits on the routes you must take and the time of day you are allowed to drive. This permit is not available for driving commercial motor vehicles.
What should I expect to happen during the hearing?
There are two proceedings with a DUI. One is the criminal proceeding during which you are arraigned, enter a plea, the prosecution presents evidence, and your attorney mounts a defense.
The other is the administrative proceeding during which your DUI lawyer will challenge the arrest. For example, your attorney may challenge the constitutionality of the stop, present evidence of any violations of your rights, including the officer’s failure to warn or the officer’s administration of a test you did not consent to such as a field sobriety test.
How your attorney challenges such issues can make the difference between losing your license or continuing to operate a motor vehicle.
Are there ways to reduce my sentence if convicted?
The penalties for misdemeanor DUI convictions include ranges of jail time, fines, and community service. Your attorney will argue for the minimums. A first DUI conviction, for example, is punishable by 10 days to 12 months in jail. Although you may have to spend 24 hours in jail, the judge may order no further jail time and place you on probation instead. Fines for a first conviction range from $300 to $1,000 and community service from 20 to 40 hours. Again, your attorney will argue for the minimums to seek to help you avoid the maximum penalties.
Is fighting a DUI worth it?
Fighting a DUI, as with any criminal charge, is always worth the investment of time, effort, and money. A conviction will follow you for years, so you should strive for the best outcome possible.
Do I need to hire an attorney?
You absolutely should hire not just any attorney, but a DUI lawyer with a successful record of defending clients charged with DUI offenses. Your lawyer will know what questions to ask, respond to deadlines throughout the criminal and administrative process in a timely manner, challenge issues, and argue for the best outcome possible.
The Law Office of Jay G. Wall is Here to Help
As a former prosecuting attorney, Jay G. Wall is in a unique position as a criminal defense attorney. When you know exactly how a charge will be prosecuted, you know how to defend against it. If you have been arrested for DUI in Georgia, there is no reason to represent yourself. Trust the Law Office of Jay G. Wall to provide exceptional, personal, and informed defense. Contact the office to schedule a one-on-one appointment.