By: Board-Certified Atlanta DUI Lawyer Bubba Head
A search for “Atlanta DUI Lawyers” will produce hundreds of Google listings for defense attorneys. Because over half of all Georgia DUI cases each year are docketed within this 25-mile radius, DUI attorney William C. “Bubba” Head has the main office for his DUI law firm in Atlanta, Georgia. Two other Georgia DUI attorneys, Larry Kohn and Cory Yager, are his law partners and practice in the same criminal defense attorney Atlanta law firm.
Plus, two ex-judges, who have presided over DUI court cases for a combined 50 years and more than 40,000 DUI criminal cases, consult with the firm in an “of counsel” role for our Atlanta DUI law firm.
Metro Atlanta is “ground zero” for Georgia drunk driving arrests. Within a 25-mile radius of downtown Atlanta GA are nearly a dozen of Georgia’s 159 counties, where over 100 different GA DUI court locations process driving under the influence cases. That is why any DUI Atlanta arrest immediately leads to a search for the best of the best Atlanta DUI lawyers, to find a non-DUI disposition for their DUI Georgia charge.
An August 10, 2016 news report (wallet-hub.com) ranked Georgia DUI laws as the second toughest state drunk driving laws in America, only trailing Arizona. A first offense DUI in Georgia can result in a total loss of driving privileges, plus jail time and multiple other DUI penalties like community service hours, DUI classes, mandatory alcohol drug screening (plus counseling, if recommended) and probation.
In addition, DUI laws in Georgia permit the sentencing judge discretion to add on jail time of up to one year to serve, on a 1st offense DUI. Of course, that rarely happens, but such sentencing anomalies have been reported in some counties. Plus, there are some costly and invasive additional penalties for DUI, which appellate courts in GA have upheld.
When a Georgia police officer arrests a motorist for DUI in Georgia, the Georgia driver’s license suspension for refusing to submit to a breath alcohol test after a DUI arrest is a 12-month total loss of driving privileges. This means no work driving permit is available. Since July 1, 2017, however, if you get to a DUI lawyer immediately, you MAY be eligible for a limited permit to drive, with an ignition interlock device (IID) for that full 12 months, due to passage of a new law on Georgia implied consent law.
If the DUI driver holds a Georgia driver’s license and is licensed by the Georgia Department of Driver Services (the GA DMV), the GA DDS will shred the plastic license, if the administrative license suspension (ALS) is upheld against the driver who was arrested for the criminal offense of DUI in Georgia. If this occurs, no work permit GA is available.
New GEORGIA DUI INTERLOCK LAW Effective July 1, 2017
Now our clients have a choice between filing for a hearing with the Office of State Administrative Hearings (OSAH) to prevent a license suspension, or installing an ignition interlock device (IID) on their vehicle for at least 120 days (4 months). THE FILING MUST BE DONE WITHIN 30 DAYS. This allows you to get an IIDLP (ignition interlock device limited permit).
The interlock must remain on your vehicle for 12 months if you refused to take a breath, blood, or urine test after you were arrested for drunk driving.
The Five Steps to Successful IIDLP Installation and Removal
1. To begin the IID process, your DUI Lawyer first needs to confirm with Georgia DDS that you are ELIGIBLE to get the permit.
2. Next, you must have the ignition interlock installed on your vehicle. Once this is resolved, you must act promptly, and STAY ON TASK. You have a deadline of thirty calendar days that cannot be missed, or extended.
3. Once that is done, you must apply for and pay the State fee at your local, full service, Georgia DDS office location within 30 days of your arrest. If the DDS office approves your request, you only have 10 days from the date of approval to go to a state-approved installation center and have the interlock device installed. This alcohol detection device is wired into your vehicle’s ignition system. Before your car will start, you must provide a sample of your breath by blowing into a collection tube that is calibrated to detect and measure any alcohol. This mouthpiece is attached to the wired-in interlock, that is located inside your car.
4. Monthly downloads and inspections of the data card for your interlock device are required, and any tampering or “flags” of alcohol will lead to a DDS Georgia effect to cancel your IIDLP.
5. Once the 12 months are over, documentation is sent from your interlock provider to GA DMV (DDS) that you successfully completed the 12-month term. Then, you can go to DDS in GA, and have your full driving privileges restore, but have to pay a fee to have the reinstatement of your driver license.
If your blood alcohol content (BAC) is anywhere above ZERO, your car will not start. Blowing into a tube can be very embarrassing, especially if you have coworkers riding with you. While that should not be the main reason for not getting an interlock installed, it is a consideration.
If you REFUSED to take a blood, urine, or breath test after the officer requested you to do so, you are required to have the IID on your vehicle for a full year. Even if you eventually win your DUI case, or the charge is reduced, the interlock must remain on your vehicle until a year is up.
An ignition interlock, sometimes referred to as “blow and go,” is not available to drivers under 21 years of age, commercial driver’s license CDL holders, people with another DUI conviction in the past 5 years in ANY state, and any non-Georgia licensed drivers.
You MUST file a DDS appeal or install an interlock within 30 calendar days of your DUI arrest or (starting the 46th day after arrest) your license will be automatically suspended for either 120 days (if you took the GA implied consent law test) or 12 months (for DUI refusal), and you cannot legally drive during that time. If you get caught driving on a suspended license, and your DUI case is still winding its way through the courts, you face big trouble. Don’t do it!
No State has a higher number of DIFFERENT courts processing DUI cases than Georgia. Topping 1,000 different courts of varying types, Georgia spreads its drunk driving cases around to many different courts.
The various DUI GA courts are:
Due to massive Atlanta traffic, sports, year-round events, food venues, and an active late-night presence, the Municipal Court of Atlanta is the State’s busiest traffic court. DUI is among the most serious misdemeanor offenses processed, among traffic court arrests, made within the city of Atlanta.
Because the City of Atlanta is situated primarily in Fulton County, Georgia, but also spills over into western DeKalb County, Georgia, the accused citizen has the ability to transfer their case from Atlanta Traffic Court to either State Court of Fulton County or State Court of DeKalb County.
Municipal Court, Recorder’s Court, and Probate Court are “inferior” courts, and are not “courts of record” under Georgia law. So, for a jury trial, any DUI case that begins in the City of Atlanta Municipal Court would go to either Fulton County State Court or DeKalb County State Court for trial by jury.
Because State Troopers can arrest anywhere in the State of Georgia, an Atlanta DUI may have venue in either DeKalb County or Fulton County. Look on your traffic ticket to see the name of the county where you were arrested.
DUI lawyers, however, should not “bind over” your Atlanta traffic court case, until after exploring whether the Atlanta Municipal Court prosecutor may reduce the DUI case. The worst that can happen is that your criminal defense attorney will have to make several trips to Atlanta Municipal Court.
The number one topic of discussion when a person facing drunk driving charges calls our office is how to get beat a DUI. Beating a DUI in Atlanta in most situations is no easy task. Being able to claim a winning, lifetime record of getting DUIs reduced to reckless driving, or getting a Atlanta DUI dismissed in Georgia, is very rare for criminal defense attorneys dealing with Georgia DUI law.
DUI and reckless driving in GA have completely different elements. This means that driving under the influence (of alcohol or drugs) does not share the “elements” of reckless driving in GA, which generally means driving in reckless disregard for the safety of persons or property. When prospective clients come to our law office, we spend a great deal of time explaining how to beat a DUI charge.
But trying to negotiate a DUI to reckless driving is just ONE way we beat a DUI charge. In fact, Mr. Head has written a checklist of the 11 Most Common Ways to Beat a DUI that he and his partners have been able to eliminate drunk driving charges for clients arrested for DUI Atlanta.
Every DUI case is different and every DUI client is special. When a prospective DUI client comes to our law office, the case evaluation that our partners provide is unique to that specific client. A person arrested for a first DUI offense (misdemeanor) under Georgia’s DUI checkpoint laws will have far different legal challenges than a person on a third DUI who was involved in a DUI accident that involves a felony DUI with serious bodily injury or a homicide by vehicle. These two scenarios are given just to show the extremes in the types of DUI arrests.
While the client may have the objective of seeing the criminal case reduced to reckless driving, our DUI lawyers are poring over the driving while intoxicated case to determine how much self-incrimination occurred when the police asked the detained driver questions, and then offered the DUI driver the optional, voluntary standardized field sobriety tests.
What Improves My Chances of Getting a DUI in GA Dismissed?
For most of the cases that proved to be impossible to settle by reducing the DUI to reckless driving, the number one culprit is the words that come out of our clients’ mouths, and their desperate attempt to avoid being arrested for DUI by trying to perform roadside agility exercises that are neither scientific nor reliable.
If pulled over by police, the starting point to beating a DUI is to SHUT UP. Only your full name and address are mandatory, so talking further virtually NEVER helps us win the person’s case. Silence is GOLDEN, and provides the key to beating a DUI.
Don’t hesitate to call us NOW. The initial lawyer consultation is FREE. We will speak to you on Saturday, Sunday, and holidays, about how to beat a DWI
Your case is VERY important, and we can often make the first appearance for you without the need for you to appear – once we are hired. Call our Atlanta DUI lawyers at (404) 567-5515 1-888–DUI-HEAD [1-888-384-4323]. Let Larry Kohn. Cory Yager or Bubba Head review how to beat DUI charges in your case, and explain the new ignition interlock option in full.