By: Bubba Head, DUI Lawyer in Atlanta Georgia and Fulton County and DUI-DWI Book Author
Interestingly, Wikipedia does not have a definition for a DUI lawyer. Instead, the global information site defaults to “criminal defense lawyer,” and says this about a DUI specialist lawyer:
In the United States, criminal defense lawyers deal with the issues surrounding an arrest, a criminal investigation, criminal charges, sentencing, appeals, and post-trial issues. Often an attorney will specialize in a niche within criminal defense, such as drug defense or DUI defense. They could work for the local, state, or federal government or they could work for private law firms. [Hyperlinks and footnotes removed]
Legal directory and national law listing service Justia describes a DUI attorney as follows:
DUI lawyers are criminal defense attorneys focused on representing clients facing DUI/DWI/OWI charges. Each state has different DUI laws. An experienced DUI lawyer will be able to evaluate the case against you and present your options on how to best limit the impact of the charges against you. DUI lawyers also handle related cases such as driver’s license reinstatement and DUI record expungement.
Does Hiring a DUI Defense Lawyer Make a Difference?
Yes, when a knowledgeable and experienced legal advocate can be retained. DUI statistics reveal that Uber, Lyft and other ride-sharing services has reduced criminal defense business for some DUI lawyers by over 75%. So, many former drunk driving defense lawyers have moved to other practice areas to make a living.
This leaves fewer hellbent trial attorneys out there fighting DUI-DWI-OUI-OWI cases. However, many DUI specialist attorney firms still exist in major cities like Atlanta, San Diego, Los Angeles, Manhattan, Phoenix, Houston, Dallas, Chicago, Miami, and Orlando.
What Is a DUI?
Driving under the influence (which is commonly referred to by its acronym “DUI“) means operating or being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while affected by alcohol, drugs, noxious vapors (like fumes from mineral spirits), marijuana or other impairing chemicals. When a person’s mental faculties and motor skills have been diminished, that driver is a greater risk to others.
Because a forensic blood or breath alcohol test is not always available, a person can be convicted if enough evidence of intoxication is observed by witnesses (including law enforcement officers). Plus, for those who submit to implied consent testing after arrest, having a blood alcohol content over the legal limit (for that operator) OR having illegal drugs in their system can be the crime, even with NO signs of outward impairment.
Due to federal law, all states have zero tolerance laws for drivers under 21. The published legal limit might be 0.00, 0.01 or 0.02, due to accommodating the “precision level” of a mechanical breathalyzer, but “zero tolerance” is the law in all states that constitutes an offense. Commercial motor vehicle drivers (CDL), such as semi-truck drivers, bus drivers and passenger van operators are held to a single national standard, with 0.04 grams percent or more being illegal.
Law enforcement officers use a variety of tests, such as field sobriety tests and breathalyzers, to determine whether a driver is impaired by alcohol. A person has the right to refuse most of these tests, but in a few states (i.e., California) a pre-arrest, hand-held alcohol breath device is part of state laws. Physical agility exercises are not scientific, so DECLINE all of these. Contact an experienced DUI lawyer near me if you are facing charges.
The best bet is to decline all roadside evaluations. A recent British study revealed that over HALF of all citizens over age 40 cannot do the walk and turn or one leg stand tests. These bogus evaluations are designed for police to get you to self-incriminate by looking bad on video. Then, he or she can CLAIM that this proves impairment.
19 Frequently Asked Questions About Hiring a DUI Attorney Near Me
- Does being on public versus private property matter when police investigate a DWI charge? Not in most states. A few states still have private property exceptions, but most parking lots and access roads are going to be places where police can pull you over.
- Do I have to be driving to be arrested for drunk driving? Technically, no. However, most states require the officer to arrest a person first, and then give that arrested citizen his or her implied consent rights.
- Why do I have to file an appeal for a DMV hearing? All states utilize statutes called implied consent laws to legally coerce a driver suspected of being too impaired to drive to take a post-arrest forensic test of blood, breath or urine. The “numbers” from these DUI tests can and will be used against you in court. Because many states (e.g., Alabama and Maine: 10 days) have very short time periods in which to file an administrative license suspension appeal, doing this sooner and not later is best. Contact DUI defence lawyers in the state where arrested.
- What does DWI stand for? Two possibilities exist: driving while intoxicated or driving while impaired.
- Are the driving intoxicated criminal defense attorneys who are Board Certified a better choice for my defense? Arguably so. The examination and face-to-face impromptu questioning are so intense that only the experienced and knowledgeable DUI defense attorneys are likely to pass. However, some jurisdictions do not permit impaired driving specialists to claim board certification. Like with doctors, you don’t hire a foot doctor for brain surgery. Likewise, the best sex crimes lawyer won’t be a superstar at defending a DUI.
- Is drunk driving a crime in all states? For all practical purposes, yes, but New Jersey CALLS its offense a CIVIL matter. Plus, in Minnesota, a first DUI offense is considered a civil matter.
- How can I determine the state legal limit for driving under the influence of alcohol? In all but the state of Utah, the adult BAC level is 0.08 grams percent. In January of 2019, Utah dropped its adult (age 21 and over) blood alcohol content to 0.05 grams percent.
- Is drunk driving defense a subset of criminal law? Yes, it is because being able to defend intoxicated or drugged drivers requires specialized knowledge in breathalyzer functionality and calibration errors, as well as identifying crime laboratory mistakes and contamination issues. Plus, since the NHTSA field sobriety tests are used nationwide, the best DUI attorneys will have this advanced training.
- Does my DUI case have to be resolved in a courtroom in front of a jury? Not in most situations, but in some states (e.g., California) the Prosecution can object to a non-jury trial.
- What recent United States Supreme Court cases may affect my chances of winning my impaired driving case? McNeely v. Missouri and Birchfield v. North Dakota.
- Are DUI charges only a criminal defense matter, or are other legal disciplines involved? DUI accident case can involve insurance law, personal injury and wrongful death. Plus, all implied consent issues are administrative law.
- If a person is on probation for another criminal offense, is it illegal to be consuming alcohol while on court supervision? This is controlled by what is written on your sentencing sheet. Usually alcohol is prohibited to be consumed.
- How can I determine law firm cost without going to a lawyer consultation? Not with the best DUI law firms. Think of needing a surgeon and calling his or her office to “ask the price.”
- Does the type of offense matter when defending a driving under the influence of drugs charge? Yes, states like West Virginia and Georgia punish more harshly for DUI drugs.
- Is it necessary to hire a DUI defense lawyer to be able to win my drunk driving case? NO, but if you win against a trained prosecuting attorney, this should make the local news.
- Which DUI attorney do I select at a law office with multiple legal professionals in the same firm? No two lawyer groups are the same. In our legal office, William C. Head has the most experience. But every trial lawyer in the building can fight any DUI case. So, Mr. Head will align your case to the partner with the greatest chance for non-DUI disposition.
- Should I be suspicious about going to a FREE consultation with a DUI attorney in my city? No, but some attorneys can be very pushy, once you are in their law office. Be prepared to leave, if you are not comfortable with your “connection” with that firm. Plus, some high-volume, low fee firms in metro Atlanta will NOT let you come in for a FREE case assessment.
- How can I estimate and calculate my blood alcohol concentration? Yes, by using DUI charts or online calculators. To be certain that the estimates are accurate, verify the online calculator with what you see on the chart.
- How can I identify the best DUI law group in my local court for handling my defense? Start with credentials from four well-known and nationally recognized directories.
Martindale-Hubbell (in business since 1868), Best Lawyers in America, US News & World Report Best Law Firms in America, plus Super Lawyers. Next, look at any legal publications of the DUI lawyers at that firm.
All three of our partners have legal publications in national books. Mr. Head initially published and co-authored his first drunk driving book in 1991.
See the following INFOGRAPHIC to show the stages of a typical DUI-DWI arrest:
Mr. William “Bubba” Head has his law office in Atlanta GA and three other Georgia cities in metropolitan Atlanta. His law partners, Larry Kohn and Cory Yager handled criminal defense and motor vehicle crimes, but a substantial majority of their caseload is defending DUI cases across the State of Georgia.
Our DUI legal team is ALWAYS willing to meet face-to-face. Call our attorneys in Atlanta 24 hours a day, for a FREE consultation with veteran litigator. 404-567-5515.