DUI happens to be the one offense that is commonly committed by average citizens without any prior criminal history. However, many of these men and women are mothers and fathers, and other productive members of society that can't afford a criminal conviction. If you have been arrested for DUI in Georgia, your first step should be to contact a lawyer from the Law Offices of Richard S. Lawson. The firm's founding attorney Richard S. Lawson has over 20 years' experience in the field of DUI law, what's more, he is also a former DUI prosecutor who knows the ins and outs of the Georgia criminal justice system.
The firm's areas of practice are listed below, for more info please contact the firm directly.
The Georgia lawmakers are under a lot of pressure to crack down on drunk drivers. As a result, they come down hard on those who are convicted of DUI. A first time DUI may include the following penalties: up to 12 months in jail, up to $1,000 in fines, up to 1 year driver's license suspension, an a minimum of 40 hours community service.
After your first DUI conviction, each subsequent conviction incurs enhances penalties accordingly. The penalties for a second DUI are up to 1 year in jail, up to $1,000 in fines, a minimum of 30 days community service and the possible requirement of an ignition interlock device once your license is reinstated.
A third DUI is a serious matter that can have a negative impact on your family, your future and your freedom. The penalties for a 3rd DUI offense may include up to a year in jail, a 5 year driver's license suspension, a minimum of 30 days community service and fines up to $5,000.
The DUI process begins with the traffic stop. In order for police to pull you over on suspicion for drunk driving, they must first have "probable cause." For example, they must have observed you weaving in and out of traffic, or breaking a traffic law by doing something such as speeding or running a red light.
Accidents and Serious Injury by Vehicle
Whenever a serious injury occurs in an accident, the people involved will have their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) tested, even if they are unconscious. If a blood or breath test shows a BAC of .08% or higher, they will face DUI charges and also enhanced penalties for injuring another person.
After you are arrested for DUI you have just 10 days from the day of the arrest to request an ALS hearing. This hearing is separate from the criminal hearing and it strictly addresses your driver's license suspension. If you are facing DUI charges, it's critical to hire a Georgia DUI lawyer to represent you at the hearing.
Blood & Breath Tests
Blood and breath tests are chemical tests that are used to measure a person's blood alcohol concentration in the bloodstream. In Georgia, it's against the law to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or greater for adult drivers and that number goes down to .02% for drivers under the age of 21.
In Georgia, if you are arrested for DUI and you are found to have a child inside your vehicle under the age of 14, then you will be charged with child endangerment on top of your DUI charges. Not only does this mean enhanced penalties, but it also means that such charges can result in the loss of custody of your own children.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
Whenever you are facing criminal charges, you do need a lawyer! Without a law degree, or experience in DUI defense, you would have no way of knowing the science behind blood and breath tests, drugs & DUI or any other aspect of a criminal case that could be challenged. Attorney Richard S. Lawson has more than 20 years in the field of DUI law and he is a former DUI prosecutor.
Drugs & DUI
A person can be convicted of DUI for driving on the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Nearly any type of drug, whether it's illegal or lawfully prescribed or purchased from the local pharmacy can lead to a conviction as long as it impairs a driver's ability to operate a motor vehicle. This can even include prescription drugs or over-the-counter cold or allergy medicines.
DUI Under 21
The underage drinking laws in Georgia are extremely strict. When a young driver is caught driving with a blood alcohol concentration above .02% they face multiple penalties including a license suspension. What's more, in an underage DUI case there is no option for a restricted license to get to work or school.
Field Sobriety Tests
Standardized field sobriety tests are conducted by law enforcement roadside as part of the DUI traffic stop. If a person performs poorly on these tests, the police will normally ask the driver to submit to a blood or breath test afterwards. All of the evidence collected in these tests is used to secure a conviction against the driver.
Georgia DUI By Out Of State Driver
Long ago states didn't share information from people's driving records but today things have changed. If you were arrested for DUI in Georgia, don't be fooled into believing your arrest won't follow you home. Since most states share DUI information, you will most likely face the same penalties in your home state.
Minor in Possession of Alcohol
Georgia is known for its tough laws and they extend to minors in possession of alcohol. A minor can get in serious legal trouble if they are found possessing alcohol, or attempting to purchase alcohol, or worse, driving under the influence of alcohol.
Plea Bargain vs. Trial
Sometimes those charged with DUI have to weigh the option of accepting a plea bargain (to a lesser charge) or going to trial. This is one decision that should not be made alone or without the assistance of a Georgia DUI attorney.
Prescription Drugs & DUI
People can get arrested and convicted of DUI for driving under the influence of their legally prescribed medication. As more drivers are on prescription drugs, law enforcement has expanded their assessments to include drivers who are impaired by various prescription medications.
Prior DUI Convictions
Understandably, once you are arrested for DUI, each subsequent DUI offense comes with enhanced penalties. This means a longer license suspension, more community service hours and higher monetary fines.
When you get your Georgia driver's license you are agreeing to submit to a chemical test if you are suspected of DUI. In Georgia, you will be asked to submit to either a blood or breath test when under suspicion for drunk driving. Failure to submit to a chemical test will usually result in an automatic driver's license suspension, even if you weren't intoxicated.
Local law enforcement agencies have a tendency to set up roadside checkpoints all over Georgia's city and rural roadways. If you were arrested for DUI at one of these checkpoints, attorney Richard S. Lawson can check on the legality of the checkpoint.
A suspended license is a huge inconvenience that can affect all aspects of your life. Keep in mind that once you are arrested, you have only 10 days to request an ALS hearing with the DDS. At this hearing the DDS will address your driver's license suspension.
When a driver is responsible for killing another person in a car accident, they can face felonious charges of vehicular homicide. If alcohol was involved in the case, then the driver stands to face a number of life-altering penalties.
Violation of Probation
When a person is granted probation they will have a number of terms and conditions to abide by. Such terms may include: community service, staying away from alcohol, paying fines etc. When the person fails to meet any of their conditions, they are guilty of a probation violation which is not a good thing.
The Georgia DUI Defense You Need
If you are facing DUI charges, hiring a competent and reputable Georgia DUI attorney can make all the difference in the outcome of your case. Attorney Richard S. Lawson has successfully resolved more than 4,900 Georgia DUI cases, a figure that not many attorneys have achieved. When you future and your freedom are on the line, you are going to need an attorney you can trust. Contact the firm today to start taking action towards fighting your DUI charges – call today!