DUI Defense: Areas of Practice
A DUI offense in the state of Georgia can incur harsh penalties for the accused. On a first time DUI offense you risk losing your driver's license for 1 year and on a second offense you face a 3 year license suspension. While it's against the law to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08%, you can actually be convicted of DUI if you were caught driving under the influence of drugs. This goes beyond illegal drugs such as marijuana or LSD, but it also includes lawfully prescribed prescription medications and over-the-counter cold and allergy medications. The consequences of a Georgia DUI are far-reaching, especially considering the fact that a conviction incurs a permanent criminal record. To learn more about DUI, visit the firm's DUI FAQ page or click on the links below to learn more about DUI offenses.
Challenging BAC Test Results
The state of Georgia currently uses the Intoxilyzer 5000 breath testing device; however, the state plans to slowly phase this device out by the end of calendar year 2015 because of its outdated parts and ability to withstand the current demands for digital information. While breath testing devices can be helpful in the field, they are by no means infallible and many such devices have been questioned for their unreliability in courts nationwide.
Commercial Driver DUI
In Georgia and across the United States it is illegal for a commercial driver to operate a commercial vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .04% or more. A commercial driver can lose their CDL for 12 months if they are caught driving their truck with a BAC of .04% or their personal vehicle with a BAC of .08%.
DUI & Drugs
Under Georgia law, a person can be convicted of DUI if they are caught driving the influence of any drug which impairs their ability to drive, these include illegal drugs, prescription medications and over-the-counter cold and allergy medicines.
Are you wondering what you should do if you are pulled over by the police on suspicion of DUI? Or, are you wondering how an attorney can help, or what penalties you potentially face? The firm has created a DUI FAQs page for those seeking answers to common questions about DUIs in Georgia. The attorneys at the firm can provide you with additional information as well.
Automatic License Suspension
If you refused a chemical test in the form of a blood, breath or urine test, then you will face an automatic license suspension (ALS). You can also have an automatic license suspension if you are arrested for an alcohol or a drug-related DUI. In order to fight an ALS, an attorney from the firm can represent you at the DMV hearing.
Field Sobriety Tests
When a driver is suspected of driving under the influence, the law enforcement officer at the scene will ask them to perform a series of what are called field sobriety tests. These are roadside tests that are designed to determine a driver's level of intoxication. The attorneys at the firm know how to challenge the admissibility of such tests and challenge them in court.
Breath & Blood Tests
Once someone is suspected of DUI, law enforcement will ask them to submit to a chemical test. The most common chemical tests used by the police are breath and blood tests. These tests are designed to register and calculate a driver's blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Attorney Cris Schneider knows exactly how to challenge the accuracy of these tests as well as the accuracy of testing procedures.
With DUI penalties, the more DUI convictions one accumulates, the greater the license suspension, the greater the fines and other penalties. A first time DUI will incur around $300 to $1000 in fines, a 1 year license suspension and up to 12 months in jail, whereas a 2nd DUI offense within 5 years incurs a 3 years driver's license suspension and more.
The DUI process begins with being pulled over on suspicion of DUI, taking field sobriety tests and submitting to a blood or breath test. After the arrest you will be taken down to the station and booked for DUI. This is the critical point where you should contact the firm so an attorney can defend you against DUI charges and fight your license suspension.
The DMV hearing, otherwise known as the Administrative License Suspension (ALS) hearing, is the administrative proceeding that strictly addresses your driving privileges and is entirely separate from the criminal hearing. An attorney from the firm can represent you at your DMV/ALS hearing and fight your license suspension.
In the state of Georgia, the majority of DUI offenses are classified as misdemeanor offenses; however, under aggravating circumstances a DUI can be prosecuted as a felony offense. These include having a particularly high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) well above .08%, causing serious bodily injury or death in an accident or having a 4th DUI conviction within 10 years.
The DUI penalties increase with each subsequent DUI offense. For a first DUI conviction one can expect up to $1000 in fines, up to 12 months in jail, 40 hours of community service, the completion of a Risk Reduction Program, up to 12 months probation and a 1 year driver's license suspension. Hiring an attorney to dispute your charges can have a significant impact on the penalties that you ultimately face.
Out of State DUI
The state of Georgia is a member state of the Non-Resident Violators Compact, which shares information on moving violations with most states (44 states are members). If you are arrested and convicted for DUI while visiting or travelling through Georgia, the Georgia DDS will send that information to your home state, which means you could face consequences in your home state as well.
Under Georgia's zero tolerance law, it's illegal for people under the age of 21 to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .02% or greater. This means that someone under the age of 21 can be convicted of DUI after having just one drink.
If you are facing charges for an alcohol-related or a drug-related DUI offense, then your first step should be to contact a Savannah DUI attorney at The Schneider Law Firm to schedule a confidential consultation. The firm has extensive experience with DUI cases, so much that the firm's lead attorney is known locally as Savannah's "DUI Daddy."