In Atlanta, DUI Consequences Can Be Serious!

10.2015 Web Images Updates.002If this is the first time you've been arrested for a DUI in Atlanta, you are facing a range of consequences. Jail time can range anywhere between 24 hours and 1 year. In most jurisdictions, however, many first offenses are resolved with limited to no additional jail time. The fine may range from $300.00 to $1000.00.

In Atlanta, conviction statutes require a minimum of: 12 months of probation; completion of DUI School; 40 hours of community service at a non-profit organization; and 120-day license suspension. It is common for many courts to also require a drug and alcohol evaluation and completion of 1 Victim Impact Panel run by MADD.

Why Did the Officer Write More Than One Ticket for DUI?

Often, in Georgia, when you are arrested for DUI, you will receive a DUI "less safe" ticket along with a DUI "per se" ticket. Sometimes it will simply state 40-6-391(a)(1-5). This can be quite confusing and unsettling because upon initial inspection it would appear as if you now are charged with more than one crime. It is highly unlikely you have been charged with more than one DUI; rather, the multiple tickets merely refer to the multiple ways the prosecutor may attempt to prove the single act of drunk driving.

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LESS SAFE DUI

10.2015 Web Images Updates.003For instance, the Atlanta prosecutor can go forward with a charge even without a breath, blood or urine test. In the absence of a chemical test, the prosecutor would likely pursue a "less safe" DUI.

In Georgia, you may be convicted of DUI if the prosecutor can prove that, as a result of alcohol consumption, you were rendered a "less safe" driver. A person is DUI "less safe" when he or she is under the influence of alcohol to a degree which renders them incapable of driving safely.

In a typical "less safe" case, prosecutors will attempt to prove their cases by pointing to the initial driving (weaving, speeding, failure to maintain lane); manner of speech (slurring, mumbled); odor of alcohol; balance issues; and field sobriety tests.

PER SE DUI

10.2015 Web Images Updates.004If you elected to take a breathalyzer test or blood test, then the prosecutor will often attempt to prove the DUI in two separate ways. First, the DUI "less safe" way (described above). Second, the prosecutor will offer into evidence the test result.

In Georgia, you may be convicted of a "per se" DUI if the prosecutor successfully proves you were over the limit within three hours after driving stopped (from alcohol consumed previously). If you’re in Atlanta, you should have received a copy of your breath test result from your arresting officer.

DUI DRUGS

10.2015 Web Images Updates.005Often people get very nervous when they see that they are charged with a drug-related DUI. Just because the officer wrote you a ticket for DUI drugs, or the prosecutor added a drug charge to your accusation, does not mean there is any evidence of drugs.

Rather, this is a manner of charging every possible type of DUI so that their case isn't later dismissed on a technicality because they forgot to charge you in a manner appropriate to the facts of your case.

As a matter of general practice, some prosecutors and officers charge every person arrested for DUI in Atlanta with every type of related offense to avoid such a mistake.

While it may protect the prosecutor or police officer, it can often be very awkward to explain to an employer why your background check has revealed a pending DUI drug charge.

Talk to Attorney Gerstenzang to see if she can provide your employer with the materials necessary to explain why this has happened in your case.

What Will Happen to My License After Being Arrested for DUI and What is a 30-day Letter?

10.2015 Web Images Updates.001For most individuals subjected to a first DUI arrest, the length of a potential suspension will depend on whether you refused to take the officer’s test. In all likelihood, the officer issued you a 1205 form, which may serve as your license for the next 30 days.

When you are arrested in Atlanta, two simultaneous legal actions are initiated against you. The first is that you are formally charged with a crime. The DUI ticket(s) will be filed in the criminal court and you will be ordered to appear on a specified date for your arraignment.

The second legal consequence occurs when the officer issues you a 1205 form initiating a license suspension action against you. If we do not take any steps to oppose the suspension, your driver’s license will be automatically suspended after those initial 30 days.

That notice also includes fine print putting you on notice that you have 30 days to appeal the suspension. It is normally imperative that we act quickly to send in this letter with the required $150.00 fine. Otherwise, your license may be suspended after the 30 days.

If you refused the officer’s test at the time of arrest, then you face a much more serious suspension than had you submitted. If this is your first time being arrested, you could be subjected to a 1-year “hard” suspension. There is no work permit available for this type of suspension.

Atlanta Lawyer Erin Gerstenzang

Some drivers who are facing a lengthy suspension may elect to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle and avoid the suspension altogether. The 30-day time limit applies as well

If you took the officer’s test, then you may only be facing a 30-day suspension, with eligibility for a work permit.