A DUI arrest is something no driver wants to face, but it is crucial to remember that a DUI arrest is not a DUI conviction.
Most drivers may not know that...
- Acetone on the breath (which can be the result of diabetes, low-carb diets, and other common conditions) can cause false high breath-alcohol test readings.
- The law requires that every piece of equipment used by law enforcement officials in DUI investigations has regular maintenance and calibration. If this equipment is not properly calibrated or maintained, results derived from the equipment may be subject to legal challenge.
- Law enforcement officers are required to follow a set of procedures during every DUI investigation. Failure to follow these steps may mean that the entire vehicle stop may be subject to challenge.
- You can (had should) refuse to take a field sobriety test when asked by a law enforcement officer during a vehicle stop.
All too often, drivers charged with DUI assume that a breathalyzer test has sealed their legal fate. If you are facing DUI charges, do not fall victim to this line of thinking! There are several avenues to explore when crafting a defense strategy.
Dealing With DUI Charges Does Not Have to Disrupt Your Life
Sometimes the decision to fight DUI charges can seem impractical. The Municipal Court of Atlanta DUI Division Caseflow Management Plan includes five hearings spread out over a 6 month period. Most people have a difficult time scheduling this many court appearances. However, if you've hired an attorney, he or she may be able to handle the majority of these on your behalf. This includes the very first appearance, the initial arraignment, which is often scheduled for 8:00am the morning following an arrest. If you have hired an attorney, you are not required to drop everything and attend this hearing.
Dealing With Both The Criminal Justice and Georgia Department of Driver Services
Drivers who are arrested for DUI in Atlanta (or anywhere in the state of Georgia) must deal with proceedings in two separate systems: the Municipal Court, for all criminal charges and related penalties, and the Georgia Department of Driver Services. When a person is arrested for DUI, their license will be automatically subjected to an administrative suspension, which means that the driver will lose his or her driving privileges for a period of time, unless the driver requests a hearing within 30 days of the date of arrest. The DDS hearing to save your driving privileges is completely separate from any criminal hearings you may be required to attend.
You should request a hearing to save your driver's license. If you do not, the suspension is automatic. For a first offense, the automatic suspension period is one full year. However, if you are able to present mitigating evidence at this hearing, the suspension could be for a shorter period of time. You may also be eligible for a limited driving permit, which will allow you to drive to work, school, and/or medical appointments while your license is suspended.
Developing A DUI Legal Defense Strategy
For more than twenty years, Lawson and Berry has defended hundreds of local drivers charged with driving under the influence. He has completed the same training in DUI investigation techniques from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that Georgia State Patrol officers are required to complete. If you would like a clear understanding of the charges against you, the penalties you may face, and what a possible defense strategy would look like, give us a call today.