By: William C. Head, DUI Lawyer Atlanta
DUI laws in Georgia are known to be among the toughest in America. This is due to the lack of any type of favorable “first time” Georgia DUI first offense alternatives. GA DUI laws have no youthful offender alternative, no expungement, no deferral, and nolo contendere Georgia is virtually not used any longer.
At one time a nolo Georgia plea allowed a driver to avoid a Georgia license suspension, but since 1997, that favorable disposition has been abandoned by the Georgia legislature.
This page will outline highlights of Georgia DUI laws, so that you can avoid pitfalls and traps for the unwary person facing DUI in Georgia. Use the embedded hyperlinks on this page to get more detailed information from other pages within this Web site. This page alerts both adult drivers and DUI under 21 Georgia arrestees of vagaries of GA DUI law.
Most citizens with DUI arrests in Georgia focus of saving their Georgia driver’s license, first and foremost. All new DUI clients seem to want a Georgia limited driving permit, as a minimum. The rules for a Georgia DUI first offense offer your greatest chance to both obtain a restricted driver’s license and to seek to obtain a DUI reduced to reckless driving.
URGENT INFORMATION: In 90% or more of DUI Georgia arrests, the driver’s LICENSE is confiscated by the officer. He or she issues a paper temporary driving permit, known as a DDS Form 1205. Whether you TOOK the breath alcohol test following your GA DUI arrest, or if you have been written up as a REFUSAL to submit to the implied consent test, you MUST appeal that interim suspension to facilitate fighting the criminal case in GA.
These are filed with the Department of Driver Services Conyers GA. This is true for both Georgia driver’s license holders, and those with out-of-state licenses. The day of the arrest starts a CLOCK ticking. Beginning the next weekday (that is not a state holiday) you have just 10 business days to file an appeal of your RIGHT TO DRIVE. Don’t get confused by language on the Form 1205 that was issued to you, as a replacement of your driver’s license, which mentions 30 days.
The appeal period is 10 days, to avoid a ONE YEAR license suspension. You can call our DUI law firm today and speak to an Atlanta DUI lawyer, or merely let us assist you in filing this critical DDS GA appeal: 404-567-5515.
Your highest risk of losing the right to seek a restricted license under the Georgia implied consent law, for both a first time DUI offense, second time DUI offense or any other repeat offender is when you have refused to a breath alcohol test under implied consent law Georgia.
The author advises anyone with a DUI charge in GA (not involving serious injury or deaths a result of an accident) to TAKE the State alcohol breath test on the Intoxilyzer 9000, but to always follow-up and get an independent blood test and possibly an independent breath alcohol test, to help preserve your legal rights in fighting implied consent Georgia total loss of all driving privileges.
Georgia license reinstatement after DUI charges in GA is available to first DUI offense drivers, unless the person loses the administrative license hearing for “refusal” to blow into the breathalyzer AFTER your DUI arrest in GA.
Additionally, a 1st DUI in Georgia offers the quickest path (after 30 days on a limited driving permit Georgia) to obtain a full Georgia license reinstatement, under implied consent Georgia laws. DUI Georgia first offense options, insofar as avoiding jail time and being able to obtain a work permit are far superior to options for drivers facing a second offense DUI in the last 10 years.
A person with the misfortune of incurring a 2nd DUI in GA or 3rd DUI in GA, especially if within the last five years, have fewer and much tougher license reinstatement GA options. Plus, drivers with a DUI second offense are far less likely of getting a DUI reduced to reckless driving Georgia. Repeat offenders have the greatest need for hiring the best DUI lawyer in Atlanta, but often don’t have the funds or family support to do that.
Until July 1, 2008, all lookback periods were calculated for five (5) years, for both (a) mandatory minimum punishments and DUI penalties being imposed, and (b) for being considered a GA DUI first offense. Today, GA DUI law now utilizes a 10-year lookback for increasing mandatory minimum DUI penalties in Georgia, and repeat offenders a looking at steep jail time and hundreds of hours of community service, if convicted.
Yet, the DUI first offense lookback period remains at 5 years. This complication confuses many people facing DUI arrests in Georgia.
The longer time window created by the 10 year lookback for DUI consequences and DUI penalties in GA means that more citizens arrested for their 2nd DUI in GA are hiring the best Georgia DUI lawyers to fight their cases. While a GA DUI first offense carries fairly reasonable DUI penalties in Georgia, the lack of a first offender program in Georgia for getting a record restriction or expunction means that even a 1st DUI in GA stays on your criminal record for LIFE.
License suspension GA is the biggest fear of people facing a DUI charge in Georgia, since they have to get to and from work, and have responsibilities to transport their children and perform other routine duties like buying groceries, getting to the doctor, etc.
If you face a REFUSAL suspension, for not agreeing to take the requested breath alcohol test, Georgia offers NO hardship license at all, for any purpose, if you lose this important DDS appeal to the Georgia Department of Driver Services Conyers office.
All states in the USA have implied consent laws. These traffic safety statutes are only relevant to people arrested for drunk driving or drugged driving. Because police needed legal authorization to request a breath alcohol test, or a blood test for drugs, state legislatures across America enacted these laws to give police officers the ability (after you are arrested for suspected DUI) to notify you of the consequences of refusal of implied consent testing for impairing substances.
Your driver license is at stake, if you refuse an implied consent requested, of the type test the law enforcement officer is seeking.
A recent United States Supreme Court cases, Birchfield v. North Dakota, has ruled that blood test can only be requested from a driver suspected to be above the legal alcohol limit in GA. Unless drugs are ALSO part of the reasonable suspicion (often obtained by police in Georgia DUI arrests, when he or she ASKS the detained driver if they have taken any type of drugs), then a breathalyzer test is all that the officer may request.
Regardless of the type of implied consent test requested by police, SUBMIT, and then DEMAND your independent tests. Let your DUI attorney handle legal challenges, if the police officer obtained the wrong type of test, in contravention of the Birchfield case. Protect our right to a restricted license by taking the implied consent Georgia test.
Georgia implied consent law is very protective of the right of a person arrested for DUI in Georgia to ask for and obtain help in getting an independent test OR tests, by a provider (e.g, hospital, doctor, med clinic, registered nurse) of their own choosing, and at the driver’s own expense. This right to additional testing is only available for those drivers who first submit to the GA implied consent law testing demanded by the police officer.
Then, if you tell him or her you want to get your independent test that is allowed by Georgia implied consent, you must be reasonably accommodated by the law enforcement officer. This has been held to mean allowing you to be taken to an ATM for cash, or calling a friend or relative to bring cash for your independent tests.
Call 41-year veteran Atlanta DUI attorney Bubba Head today and get honest answers to all your questions. Tell us everything that happened and everything you remember about your DUI arrest. The sooner you call us, the better chance we have to win your DUI case and get your charges reduced or dismissed.
Remember, you only have 30 DAYS to file a license suspension appeal or apply for an ignition interlock device, or your driver’s license will be suspended for up to one year! Talk to Bubba Head, Larry Kohn, or Cory Yager now. We are available 24 hours a day, weekends, and all major holidays. (404) 567-5515