By: William C. Head, ABA Board-Certified Atlanta DUI Attorney & Criminal Defense Lawyer
Be Aware of the DUI Penalties and Dire Consequences, if Convicted
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. The Georgia Legislature has no tolerance for “soft” drinking and driving offenses, and 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.
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.
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 window, any first offense DUI-alcohol driver (within the last five years) who is age 21 or more, is immediately eligible for a work permit (even with a very high BAC of 0.35 or more), unless otherwise already suspended for a DUI refusal, administrative license suspension for a prior DUI conviction in the past 5 years.
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.
Because of this lack of tolerance, 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 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).
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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:
1.Driving under the influence, less safe, by consuming too much alcohol, under OCGA 40-6-391 (a)(1);
2. Driving under the influence, less safe, by ingesting marijuana, under OCGA 40-6-391 (a)(2);
3. Driving under the influence, less safe, due to toxic vapors such as glue, aerosol, paint thinner, gasoline or other chemical or substance fumes, under O.C.G.A. 40-6-391 (a)(3);
4. Driving under the influence of any two or more of the first three substances set forth above, which is sometimes called DUI-combination of multiple impairing substances, under O.C.G.A. 40-6-391 (a)(4)
5. Driving or being in actual physical control of any moving vehicle WHILE the driver’s alcohol concentration is 0.08 grams percent or more, as proscribed by under O.C.G.A. 40-6-391 (a)(5). Only when a forensic test result is in evidence should the State be able to go forward on this type of drunk driving charge. Ironically, “drunken driving” or DUI is not required to proven for the (a)(5) “count,” since Georgia’s DUI alcohol per se law has no requirement for the State to prove “less safe” driving capability or “impairment.”
The forensic alcohol or drug test results from a post-arrest, forensic DUI case must have been collected by law enforcement within 3 hours of the driving ending. Otherwise, a forensic toxicologist or doctor would be needed to extrapolate back to the DUI alcohol per se number, within that 3-hour window, to be able to support a DUI conviction under this subsection.
6. Driving or being in actual physical control of any moving vehicle WHILE the driver has any measurable level of psychoactive marijuana or its metabolites and derivatives, or other controlled substance as defined under O.C.G.A. 16-13-21 (e.g., crystal meth, cocaine, crack, PCP), as proscribed by under O.C.G.A. 40-6-391 (a)(6). Somewhat like the DUI-alcohol “per se” law, the prosecutor is not required to prove that you were “high” or totally wasted on the illegal drugs in your body.
7. For any DUI driver under age 21 years at the time of the arrest, driving or being in actual physical control of any moving vehicle WHILE the driver’s alcohol concentration is 0.02 grams percent or more, as proscribed by under O.C.G.A. 40-6-391 (k), for driving under the influence of alcohol, or DUI-alcohol per se.
8. For any CDL operator of a CMV (commercial motor vehicle), as defined under OCGA 40-5-142), driving or being in actual physical control of any moving vehicle WHILE the driver’s alcohol concentration is 0.04 grams percent or more, as proscribed by under O.C.G.A. 40-6-391 (i).
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 if a first offense DUI. Plus, with commercial trucking companies paying excessive costs for liability insurance, most tractor-trailer businesses have no tolerance for re-hiring drivers who had 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 the general 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.
(404) 567-5515 Day or Night
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 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 “DUI defense lawyers.” Instead of putting 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 Atlanta. In the age of the Internet, impressive-looking DUI attorney websites do not translate into verifying that the Atlanta lawyer is a top DUI-DWI defense attorney.
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 attorneys you should focus upon, in deciding whom to hire, if you plan to beat a DUI in Georgia. Mr. Head has written about fake attorney ratings “badges” – you should ignore or avoid these meaningless badges.
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 DUI in Georgia, being searched, cuffed, fingerprinted, and then having a mug shot taken. Then, for the first time in their lives, they have to select a bail bonding service to post bond for them, to get out of jail.
Accused citizens facing driving while impaired (DWI) 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 DUI attorneys utilize to shift your burden over to us:
Addressing the “driving” issue and taking away the stress of a possible loss of all driving privileges is Job Number One at our DUI lawyer 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 Atlanta advise you to take), without your presence; (c) obtain a waiver of appearance from our Client for all routine court appearances, such as an Atlanta 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 the case.
Our law office encourages interacting with the potential lawyer, and 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 Atlanta 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 to your criminal defense lawyers to set up a 3-way call).
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.
The malaise and sick feeling that most Clients suffer (following arrest) is why the best attorneys in Georgia 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 a DUI lawyer with the requisite courtroom and trial experience to take command of defending the DUI in Georgia, to avoid punishment and a permanent criminal record of a GA DUI conviction.
Why Should I Hire a DUI Lawyer From Your Criminal Defense Law Firm?
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 Atlanta attorney or business person that our law office is the best place to go for aggressive DUI defense.
Plus, about 150,000 visitors a year find our website or YouTube videos and obtain valuable information about Georgia DUI laws, felony or misdemeanor. Then, accused Georgians call our DUI law office for more information. In the image above, you 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 books published in 2016 by a national publishing company. Try to find ANY OTHER DUI lawyers with that credential!
As you can see on the map below, 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 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 DUI 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 DUI 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 attorneys in Atlanta 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 attorneys offer you top attorney ratings, and will ask to see all paperwork from your arrest and the jail and booking process. 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. A new ignition interlock option that took effect July 1, 2017 may offer you a better solution to possibly being suspended for a full year, but each case must be reviewed before taking the right option at the GA DMV (the Georgia Department of Driver Services in Georgia).
Reviewing your paperwork from the 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) or a blood test.
Call our Atlanta DUI lawyers for FREE legal advice, 24-7. 404-567-5515. Worried about DUI lawyer cost? If you are working and have regular income each month that will accommodate monthly payments, ask about our law office attorneys’ fee payment plans.
“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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NCDD Founding Member William C. Head, PC
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Georgia's Best Lawyers 2012 Edition
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