By: Cory Yager, Atlanta DUI Attorney and Ex-Police Officer and Law Enforcement Trainer
Atlanta DUI Lawyer FAQ Page
Atlanta DUI arrests are a very rude awakening for those facing their first DUI in Georgia. The process of being pulled over or unexpectedly being required to drive through one of the many Atlanta DUI checkpoints causes many to start searching for an Atlanta DUI law firm near me. Our firm’s downtown office is at 235 Peachtree Street, Suite, 400, Atlanta GA 30303, which is about 1/2 mile from the Atlanta Pre-Trial Detention Center and the courthouse.
This page is dedicated to answering frequently asked questions (FAQs) about Georgia DUI law under OCGA 40-6-391, the upcoming arraignment, license suspension, the court process, obtaining any video or body camera footage from the arrest scene, and understanding the options for appearing at the Atlanta DUI court. Many out-of-state visitors or business travelers want to know if their appearance is required or whether the judges in Municipal Court of Atlanta Georgia require clients to appear at every court date.
Virtually all internet surfers want to know about what Georgia DUI penalties are required on a DUI plea, or if the case is reduced from DUI to reckless driving or the underlying traffic ticket that led to a police pullover. Others want to know how long a chemical test of their blood will take before being reported by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
The FIFTEEN Most Common DUI FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) for Our Atlanta DUI Lawyers:
- The arresting officer took my driver license and gave me a piece of paper called a DDS 1205 Form. When can I get my driver’s license back? All Atlanta DUI attorneys who know basic DUI law understand that you MUST either file an administrative license suspension appeal or have the GA DDS approved ignition interlock device (IID) before the 30th calendar day after arrest.
- Can I hire a DUI lawyer in Atlanta and not have to be in Court? Yes, for all purposes except if you enter a final plea in the City of Atlanta Municipal Court.
- Is a DUI a felony in Georgia? No, unless special egregious facts make it a DUI felony, like being a 4th offense DUI in 10 years, or committing a serious injury by vehicle due to DUI or DUI-related vehicular homicide GA.
- What are the DUI penalties in Georgia, if I am found guilty or decide to enter a guilty plea? This would normally be a complex and lengthy answer, but this infographic on Georgia DUI penalties is the best summary you can find, and this page on GA DUI penalties will supplement that information.
- My ticket shows DUI Less Safe on it. What does this mean? It means that your ticket is saying that you’ve been accused of being too impaired to drive safely. This can be alleged to being caused by alcohol, drugs, marijuana or noxious vapors (like sniffing glue), or from a combination of two or more of these impairing substances.
- I have had prior DUI convictions. How far back will the Prosecutor be able to look, to treat me as a repeat offender? Good question, but two different answers are needed to cover the potential impact on your current DUI charge. The State of Georgia has mandatory minimum punishment for repeat DUI offenses within a 10-year period. So, IF convicted, you will face the DUI penalties mentioned in Question 4 set forth above. However, the prosecution can ask for (and often GET) a harsher sentence for you with the assigned judge, if your record (even outside of the ten-year look back period) is bad, but only if CONVICTED. This is why you hire the best DUI lawyer in Atlanta.
- How can I be accused of DUI-drugs in GA if I was only taking my prescribed medications? A police officer can arrest you on circumstantial evidence if he or she has a REASONABLE belief that your driving was impaired by ANYTHING. The low amount of “evidence” needed to cuff you is FAR less than what is required to convict you at trial. You positively WANT a blood test, and to ask for your own independent blood test (after taking the State’s implied consent law test) to prove that you only took your therapeutic dose, and nothing more.
- Where are the police allowed to set up Atlanta DUI checkpoint locations? Almost ANYWHERE. Except for interstate highways or on a dead-end street, possibly any place that a supervisory officer operating under a previously published “programmatic plan” at his or her law enforcement department has approved. Many more requirements about a DUI checkpoint must be established, but our Georgia courts will not scrutinize DUI checkpoint arrests based on the width or number of lanes on the street or for its proximity to bars and restaurants since many roadways leading to interstate highways may cut across residential neighborhoods.
- Will I go to jail for a Georgia DUI? Potentially you could land back in jail if FOUND GUILTY or if you enter a guilty plea or nolo contendere plea to any DUI offense. Realistically, for most first offense DUI charges additional jail time is only statutorily required if you had a post-arrest BAC test for alcohol and the results were 0.08 grams percent or more.
- I blew into the handheld breathalyzer at the roadside, and then was arrested. Why was I asked to give another breath test after I was placed in cuffs? Prior to being cuffed, everything you were SAYING and DOING was optional, voluntary and NOT REQUIRED BY LAW. Yet, you were led to believe that you HAD to do it, by the officer’s careful and measured choice of wording. The portable breath test at the highway was a non-evidential screening test. Every field sobriety test is both non-scientific and usually instructed and graded incorrectly by most officers. The post-arrest implied consent test — if declined — could potentially cause your license to be suspended for 12 months.
- Why was a police officer giving me a DUI eye test? The horizontal gaze nystagmus test (or HGN test) is one of the three standardized field sobriety tests printed in an NHTSA manual beginning in 1984. The acronym N.H.T.S.A. stands for National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a division of the federal D.O.T. Three important facts about this HGN eye test are: (a) It is a medical test that even registered nurses are not trained or permitted to administer; (b) Most officers giving this evaluation in Georgia will have video or body cam footage showing how it was administered – and over 90% of all officers do it incorrectly; (c) Claims about the evaluation being over 90% reliable are false and refuted by the NHTSA “robustness study.” The best Atlanta DUI attorneys know how to defeat this police eye test in court.
- If I was in a DUI accident, is there any reason to pay a DUI lawyer? Thousands of accidents happen in Georgia every day. Must drivers arrested for DUI in Georgia that are in an accident have GOOD reasons to show why he or she could not or should not be asked to attempt field tests. Our Atlanta lawyers have excellent track records for getting a DUI reduction in many accident cases, even when accused of driving under the influence.
- Is community service required as part of every DUI conviction? YES. A 1st DUI offense carries 40 hours at a minimum. A 2nd DUI in GA and a 3rd DUI within 10 years has a minimum of 240 hours, and a fourth in 10 years has 480 hours.
- Should I go ahead and take DUI school now? You CAN, but you do not have to do that. Georgia is a state that permits DUI classes to be taken in advance, whereas other states (e.g., SC) require a court order for you to get credit for such a course.
- Does getting a professional assessment from a certified State of GA alcohol and drug clinical assessment counselor help my case? Possibly so, but if you THINK you may need to be evaluated, our DUI attorneys highly recommend doing that. The last thing you need is a NEW DUI charge and then be fighting on two fronts.
Which DUI Atlanta Lawyer Represents More Clients at Atlanta Municipal Court?
Our law group has three trial lawyers who ALL have handled hundreds of cases for DUI Atlanta GA. The three of us bring over seven and a half decades (75 years) of DUI defense and DUI trial experience to your criminal defense. On AVVO, our combined 5-star client ratings exceed all other law offices in Georgia, for any DUI law group.
None of our Atlanta attorneys handle family law or can draw up a will. However, our Atlanta criminal defense attorneys obtain great results in DUI cases as often as any law office in the Atlanta metro area. PERIOD.
Mr. Head originally wrote his first DUI book in 1991 (101 Ways to Avoid a DRUNK DRIVING Conviction), and the leading treatise on Georgia DUI laws in 1995, The Georgia DUI Trial Practice Manual. What DUI lawyer Atlanta GA other than Bubba Head can say THAT?
He and his two partners have represented over 10,000 clients, and more than two dozen other Georgia attorneys who were previously trained by Bubba Head have handled another 10,000 criminal law cases. Call us now: 404-567-5515. FREE consultation. 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, including holidays.
All our law partners have multiple attorney ratings by Super Lawyers and other legal industry ranking organizations. Both Atlanta DUI defense attorney Bubba Head and Larry Kohn, DUI attorney Atlanta GA, have been recognized by Best Lawyers in America.
Because our phones are answered 24 hours a day, and the partners receive these incoming messages, expect to get responses to your questions about DUI charges. Our DUI lawyers know how to bail people out of jail, whether to install an ignition interlock device after a DUI refusal to be tested post-arrest, and many more inquiries. Ask about our attorneys’ fees and payment plans.