By: William C. Head, ABA Board-Certified Atlanta DUI Attorney & Criminal Defense Lawyer
Driving under the influence (DUI), whether by alcohol or drugs, is one of the most litigated crimes in America. This fact is due to the significant impact a LIFETIME conviction for driving under the influence can have in states like Georgia.
Georgia DUI laws are always ranked among America’s toughest states for punishment and loss of license, due to this attitude of intolerance for impaired drivers on our State’s highways. The Georgia Legislature has never had a reputation for being “soft” on drinking and driving offenses, as evidenced by having no youthful offender law, no first offender law, no DUI deferral law, and no expunction law for removing a DUI conviction from your record — EVER.
Our Atlanta law firm is focused 100% on FIGHTING these DUI alcohol cases, to prevent a conviction for DUI in Georgia. Plus, when it comes to DUI-drugs cases, the Legislature in Georgia has added even more punitive loss of driver’s license provisions (as compared to alcohol cases) for drug offenses when behind the wheel, regardless of whether the drug was PCP, or too much of your prescribed Xanax. This type of drug-related DUI in Georgia is very serious business, due to the potential loss of all driving privileges. Such DUI first offense drug convictions mandate a total loss of driving privileges for six (6) months for all drivers.
Because Georgia laws look at license suspension with a 5-year “look back” window, any first offense DUI-alcohol driver with his or her full Georgia driver’s license (not a limited permit) (with no DUI conviction the last five years, based on dates of ARREST) who is age 21 or more, is immediately eligible for a work permit. This is true even the arrested driver has a very high BAC of 0.35 or more.
As opposed to this five-year lookback, for driver’s license purposes, criminal DUI penalties in Georgia have a 10-year lookback period, if convicted of DUI in Georgia. These types of criminal sanctions for a DUI conviction include jail time, driver’s license suspension (for a DUI conviction), community service hours, mandatory probation, fines and surcharges, DUI school, and mandatory alcohol and drug assessment and treatment (where needed). Some courts add a condition for attending a victim impact program operated by MADD or an alternative provider.
So, the cost of a DUI is not merely fines and surcharges, jail time, community service, DUI classes, having your driver’s license suspended at Georgia DDS (our state’s DMV), and mandatory probation. In the long-term perspective, DUI charges significantly impact your criminal record for life, which can taint your future background checks and criminal history for many highly-valuable types of employment. Consequences such as these cause accused citizens (or their concerned family members) to seek the help of the best DUI lawyers near me.
Atlanta is a now a 24-hour city. The traffic jams are legendary, such as Atlanta snowmageddon 2014, but bars and restaurants stay open late to capture late-night business. Starting at around 10 PM, many law enforcement officers on a DUI task force start looking for ANY type of traffic violation or equipment deficiency (e.g., a tail light not working), for a reason to pull a driver over, by use of blue lights. Once any smell of alcohol, marijuana or an admission to using prescription drugs that have a psycho-active effect, that driver is likely going to jail for suspicion of drunk driving or drugged driving.
Perhaps best known for America’s busiest airport, Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Atlanta is the fastest-growing big city in the Deep South. From its founding in 1837 for being a favorable crossroads for railroad, the capital city of Georgia survived being burned to the ground in 1864 during the War Between the States. It has become a national center of financial transactions, international industry, sports, and internet communications.
Presently, Georgia’s capitol city is international headquarters for Coca-Cola, Home Depot, UPS, Chick-fil-A, Waffle House and American headquarters for Porsche and Mercedes-Benz, Atlanta is the unofficial capital of the “New South.” Atlanta has been led by a series of progressive mayors (beginning with Ivan Allen, Sam Massell, Maynard Jackson and Andrew Young, who have helped the City shed its prior history of segregationist leadership.
So, today, the Atlanta History Center and the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic site are visited hundreds of thousands of times annually, along with the tourist attractions like the College Football Hall of Fame, Centennial Olympic Park, (built for after the historic 1996 Olympics Games), and the world-class Georgia Aquarium. The popular attractions in metro Atlanta bring tourists who either drive to Georgia or fly at Atlanta and rent a car.
Because of the highly-punitive laws described above, the Peach State has some of America’s most inflexible and punitive DWI-DUI laws. The state of Georgia lacks an expungement law. Plus, Georgia has a statutory prohibition against “special treatment” (for example, granting the Georgia first offender act to a DUI offender).
While sentencing for a sex offense or felony drug possession charge in Georgia can permit a first offender plea, Georgia DUI laws block ANY availability of use of the first offender act, under O.C.G.A. 40-6-391(f). This ultra-punitive law on Georgia DUI is why the Peach State is ranked among the nation’s toughest states for DUI penalties.
The following eight (8) different intoxicated driving situations are statutorily-sanctioned, if a motorist in Georgia is convicted of doing any of these things, in the type of motor vehicle described by the subsection:
Law-abiding citizens at every income level and in every type of employment commit the crime of drunk driving. This includes politicians, priests, judges (including those on the Court of Appeals), actors, entertainers, attorneys, military personnel, news anchors, coaches, police officers, doctors, athletes, and school teachers.
The DUI consequences for some accused citizens (e.g., commercial truck driver with a CDL license) can be life-changing, even for a first offense DUI conviction. Plus, with commercial trucking companies paying excessive costs for liability insurance, most tractor-trailer businesses have no tolerance for re-hiring drivers who have incurred a DUI and therefore lost their CDL license for a full year.
A DUI in Georgia may be the first-time traffic ticket ever received by the accused citizen. The arrested driver may never have had another brush with the law for the remainder of his or her life, but still cannot have that misdemeanor case expunged from the criminal history or have that record restricted. These consequences of a DUI conviction are why thousands of citizens facing a first offense DUI call our Atlanta criminal defense attorney law firm for legal advice each year.
Because virtually no one arrested for DUI in Georgia knows his or her legal rights, your author has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to educate members of the driving public to remain silent, and not self-incriminate when confronted by police. In Georgia, the implied consent law LACKS any notice of Miranda rights.
Selecting the RIGHT criminal defense attorney for a DUI arrest in Georgia is no easy task. Failure to find criminal attorneys with top credentials, and haphazardly searching for ‘DUI lawyers near me’ is foolhardy. Under Georgia DUI laws, removing a drunk driving conviction from your criminal history is impossible. If a DUI conviction occurs, this creates a lifetime criminal history.
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In a nutshell, being accused of drunk driving in Georgia means a DUI arrest almost 100% of the time. Although shocking to many people, an arrest and booking at jail is almost universally utilized for every impaired driving case in Georgia. If the accused drunk driver is injured in a car accident associated with the DUI-DWI arrest, he or she may go to the hospital and stay overnight, and not be arrested, but these cases are possibly 1 in 100.
The jarring experience for many first offense DUI clients causes them to ask our law firm’s criminal lawyers: “Is a DUI a felony in Georgia?” Luckily, except for six types of situations, our DUI defense lawyers tell them “no.”
Most DUI arrests in Georgia start when a law enforcement officer observes a motor vehicle violation. If circumstantial evidence points to reasonable suspicion of a drinking driver, or a person possibly impaired by drugs, that driver is about to be arrested. No amount of begging to be let go will help.
An arrest for a Georgia DUI occurs because drunk driving is categorized by the Georgia legislature as a serious traffic offense, not a simple ticket-and-release citation, like a speeding ticket. For all serious driving crimes (like DUI in GA), the driver is taken into custody until and unless granted a bond.
Then, once bailed out of jail, the accused citizen is freed on bail until the criminal case for DUI comes to court, which involves multiple phases, such as arraignment, pre-trial motions and a possible trial of the DUI charges, regardless of the BAC level.
So, in Georgia, this type of serious misdemeanor offense calls for an arrest, and (if convicted) Georgia law requires jail time, in most cases. Having to face serving jail time if convicted of DUI in Georgia is only one of more than 100 reasons to fight a driving under the influence charge. The fear of this possibility is what pushes many citizens to seek legal guidance and representation for a DUI case in Georgia.
Like trying to find a surgeon to remove a cancerous tumor, when facing DUI charges, you search for “DUI defense lawyers.” Instead of typing in a query for ‘DUI attorney near me,’ you look for DUI lawyers with an impeccable reputation for winning, and stellar professional credentials as being a quality criminal defense attorney in Georgia. In the age of the internet, impressive-looking DUI attorney websites do not translate into verifying that the lawyers near me are top DUI-DWI defense attorneys.
By knowing which DUI lawyer credentials are “legit” and by sorting through the various Georgia lawyer ratings’ services and legal awards, you can narrow down the possible candidates to hire. This website helps identify what credentials and competencies for DUI lawyers that you should focus upon, in deciding whom to hire, if you plan to beat a DUI in Georgia. Mr. Head has written about websites posting fake attorney ratings “badges” – you should ignore or avoid giving credence to these meaningless badges as being from peer-reviewed selection processes.
Being arrested for drinking and driving by a police officer is a jarring experience. The low point of many clients’ lives is the degrading and frightening process of being charged with a Georgia DUI, and then being searched, cuffed, fingerprinted. Once at the detention center, the person has a mug shot taken. Then, for the first time in their lives, the citizen must select a bail bonding service to post bond for them, so they can get out of jail.
Accused citizens facing driving while impaired (DWI) charges worry about what is going to happen to their ability to drive. Sleep evades them, and normal functions like eating a meal are of little or no importance.
Often, the overwhelming, uneasy feeling that arrested citizens have, after their jailing and booking experience, tends to DISCOURAGE some of them from fighting. The symptoms of accused citizens is universally characterized by talking about the STRESS, or FEELING GUILTY, or BEING TERRIFIED about what is going to happen in their impaired driving case. Fretting about the dilemma will not help, so here is the method our Atlanta attorneys utilize to shift your burden over to us:
With very few exceptions, each of our DUI lawyers’ clients are concerned with being able to drive after a DUI GA arrest. Most clients have their plastic license taken, and this disruptive procedure creates fear and worry. To not have your primary form of identification is even more problematic for Clients who flew to Hartsfield-Jackson Airport and must secure a rental car or get arrested and have a return airline flight in the next few days.
While winning the DUI case is our assigned TASK, addressing the “driving” issue is the first order of business. Alleviating the stress of a possible loss of all driving privileges is Job Number One at our Atlanta law office. Whether your driver’s license was issued from another state, or is a Georgia driver license, you MUST protect your ability to cover your business and personal matters after an arrest for DUI in Georgia. Our Georgia DUI attorneys review many options and ideas with you, not just the two or three things most lawyers in Georgia cover.
About 90% of the work of a DUI defense lawyer in the typical GA DUI case is done WITHOUT the Client being present. Our DWI-DUI lawyers utilize powers of attorney (that our Clients sign) which allow us to (a) contact and communicate with lawyers at Georgia DDS on all license suspension issues, and assure that all deadlines are met; (b) handle any OSAH administrative law hearing issues (if a DDS GA appeal is the option our DUI lawyers in Georgia advise you to take), without your presence; (c) obtain a waiver of appearance from our Client for all routine court appearances, such as a Municipal Court arraignment, calendar call, case status conferences and similar pre-trial issues; and (d) find a way to keep our client driving, if possible in their case.
Our Atlanta GA attorneys WANT to meet our prospective clients IN PERSON. This helps our defense attorneys fully get to know the person we are about to represent. As opposed to many Atlanta DUI lawyers that quickly ask for your credit card number during the first phone call, our belief is that it is best for you to not panic about the cost of a DUI in Georgia over 10 years or yielding to “pressure tactics” and hiring a DUI attorney over the phone.
Our law office encourages interacting with the potential lawyer, because we know that vulnerable, frightened clients often succumb to high-pressure tactics. Would you let a surgeon operate on you or a loved one with no prior meeting? If not, read further about the benefits of a direct meeting. A face-to-face meeting allows you to assess us (and members of our staff) and let us evaluate you, as a possible witness in the case. If you “relate” well to what advice our law firm’s DUI attorneys give you, such a direct meeting will make you confident that you have the best candidate as your criminal attorney.
Looking a person directly in the eye, getting all questions and concerns answered for the Client, and being debriefed about key evidence from the arrest and booking (while your memory is fresh), are the hallmarks of a top-rated law firm. If a Client’s schedule or distance from our office prevents a personal meeting, our DUI specialists can set up a virtual meeting via a smart phone app or video conferencing. Your lawyer for DWI-DUI should explain his or her plans for attacking the driving under the influence (DUI) case.
Plus, once retained, he or she most likely will give you certain tasks to complete, to help in your own defense (e.g., clean up all unfavorable social media pages, arrange for witnesses to call your DUI defense attorney, obtain a claim number from your insurance carrier and give it to your criminal defense lawyers to set up a 3-way call).
In car accident cases, but also for all DUI arrests, looking for helpful evidence immediately can be of paramount importance. Our attorneys in Atlanta utilize an investigator and other methods of gathering key evidence for your criminal defense.
For example, finding a business premises camera, or protecting a crash scene with debris from the vehicles, photographing skid mark evidence, and capturing accident scene photos are as vital to your representation as connecting with a valuable witness. If some things are not done immediately, this potential key to winning your DUI case may be lost.
Until a criminal defense lawyer with a specific “game plan” for winning is hired, these dysfunctional days will continue. To back up their game plan, the driving under the influence lawyer that your hire must have a track record of success. Your legal team needs to uncover DUI solutions and find a way to avoid a DUI conviction. While you must hope for a great outcome, you need to “arm yourself” with the best DUI attorney near me, and enter the legal battle with an experienced, skilled, and highly-rated criminal law litigator with impeccable lawyer ratings in the DUI defense field.
The malaise and sick feeling that most Clients suffer (following arrest) is why our criminal defense attorneys provide a FREE DUI lawyer consultation at our law office. By allowing our Georgia lawyers to get the FULL picture of your arrest, and post-arrest testing and booking, our criminal attorneys can tell you how and why your stress must be transferred to the shoulders of your DUI defense lawyer, so that you can get your life back. You must resume your life and empower an Atlanta DUI attorney with the requisite courtroom and trial experience to take command of defending the DUI in Georgia. Our Georgia attorneys’ GOAL is to avoid punishment and a permanent criminal record of a DUI conviction in Georgia.
Judging from our photographs, it is clear that no one hires our DUI attorneys based on our LOOKS! In our business of defending a misdemeanor or felony DUI in Georgia, one of our criminal defense lawyers is usually hired based upon a prior client referral, or from being told by an attorney in Georgia or a business person that your trust that our law office is the best place to go for aggressive DUI defense.
Plus, about 150,000 visitors a year find an Atlanta DUI lawyer on our website or watch our YouTube videos and obtain valuable information about DUI laws in Georgia – felony or misdemeanor. Then, accused Georgians call our DUI law office for more information. In the image below, you will see the front cover of Bubba Head’s first drunk driving book, 101 Ways to Avoid a Drunk Driving Conviction. This DUI book was published in 1991.
Now, both Cory Yager and Larry Kohn have joined the rare atmosphere of DUI attorneys who have had DUI law books or parts of legal books published. In 2016, each of our Georgia lawyers was asked by a national legal book publishing company to write chapters about DUI trial practice. Try to find ANY OTHER DUI lawyers with that credential! No other law firm has three Georgia DUI lawyers as book authors.
Our main law office location is strategically positioned to be able to reach all DUI courts in the four metro counties (Cobb County, Fulton County, Gwinnett County and DeKalb County). Our DUI law firm has satellite offices in Alpharetta, Marietta, and Athens, but these locations have no full-time staff. From this prime location on the Fulton County-DeKalb County line, within a few hundred yards of I-285 and Georgia 400, or criminal attorneys can be on the road to court in minutes. Our DUI attorneys in Atlanta predictably drive to court, park and walk into the courtroom in about 30 minutes or less on most days, unless some glitch in traffic delays our Atlanta criminal defense lawyer. Georgia traffic around metro Atlanta increases month after month, but our criminal defense lawyers are seasoned veterans at getting to court on time.
OUR 24-HOUR NUMBER – (404) 567-5515
Our DUI law firm approaches fighting all DWI-DUI cases referred to our Atlanta lawyers with the same mindset. Larry Kohn, Cory Yager, and firm founder William C. Head all approach impaired driving in Georgia the same way — seeking to win the case. Being willing to fight all the way to trial is a hallmark of the best DUI lawyers.
In analyzing a DUI arrest, our DUI attorneys Atlanta will first determine if our client was lawfully arrested. Did the police officer see our client drive? Did our client remain silent and refuse all roadside field sobriety tests? Can the DUI breathalyzer test be excluded on implied consent issues, the new Olevik case regarding the State Constitutional right to NOT take a breath alcohol test after being arrested, or lack of actual consent? Did our Client ask for an attorney when confronted with the implied consent options?
Next, our DUI lawyers in Atlanta offer you proof of our top attorney ratings. Then, we will ask to see all paperwork from your arrest and the jail and booking process. The all-important arrest video is typically only available later, once our lawyers for DUI make a written demand for “discovery” of the prosecutor’s evidence in their file.
The partners at our law office focus on the GA DDS 1205 form (after the Client’s driver’s license was taken) which starts a Georgia DDS administrative DUI suspension. Be aware that a new ignition interlock device option that was enacted and took effect July 1, 2017 may offer you a better solution to possibly being suspended for a full year. It is critical to know that each case must be reviewed very carefully before selecting the right option at the GA DMV (the Georgia Department of Driver Services in Georgia). Plus, the interlock option is NOT available for certain types of drivers.
Reviewing your paperwork from the DUI arrest and booking tells us a great deal about what the officer is claiming you did at the roadside. Plus, our Atlanta lawyers can usually tell what our Client did in response to being asked to do (by the officer, under Georgia implied consent law). Compliance with implied consent law in Georgia involves the arrested driver being asked, after the DUI arrest, to take a breathalyzer (Intoxilyzer 9000) test or a blood test.
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“I am sure your other clients tell you this all the time… but I’ll repeat it. You are AWESOME! Your great communication gives me a lot of confidence….and I need that right now. I really think you believe in me and that makes a world of difference in my outlook. Thanks again, Bubba. Thank you very, very much!”
– Recent Client Review
“Mr. Head was a tremendous help in our child’s DUI litigation. He was referred indirectly to me by another lawyer. I needed a lawyer but had no clue on who I should use. I began going through the phone book seeking the right attorney. As I interviewed each one on the phone, my frustration mounted. They all seemed the same.
My frustration must have shown through because one lawyer said, “Who do you want, Bubba Head?” I asked him who was Bubba Head and he said supposedly the best DUI lawyer in the state. I hung up and called Mr. Head. I could not have made a better choice!
The journey through the court system is convoluted and perilous. Mr. Head and his team were invaluable in navigating the system. They were supportive and informative as they presented the possible courses of action. It was a long process but they never waivered in their support. Mr. Head was truly a gift from God. I firmly believe the verdict in my child’s favor was an answered prayer from God and that Mr. Head was the messenger.”
– Recent Client Review
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The DUI Book: The Citizen's Guide to a DUI Charge
Co-author of 101 Ways to Avoid a Drunk Driving Conviction
William C. Head Wrote the DUI Book and Co-Authored Other State Versions
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