By: William C. Head, Board Certified DUI Attorney in Atlanta, GA
Traffic tickets can be a crime or an infraction in some states, but GA DUI laws make all moving (motor vehicle) violations misdemeanor crimes. A DUI in Georgia starts by the issuance of a traffic citation in 95% or more of cases. In Georgia, the crime of drunk driving or drugged driving is punished as a misdemeanor DUI. Every DUI is a criminal offense according to GA DUI laws. Plus, no statute authorizes diversion, deferral, or expunction of a DUI in GA.
Our Atlanta DUI law firm approaches every pending drunk driving case as an opportunity to achieve a DUI dismissal or a reduction of charges to a non-DUI disposition.
GA DUI laws are written by the Georgia Legislature. The United States is the only nation that does not have a single, unified set of driving under the influence laws. This makes the job of a DUI attorney difficult, especially when trying to advise a driver facing a DUI in Georgia. The two categories of drunk driving from alcohol in Georgia are referred to as DUI per se and DUI less safe.
DUI per se is the standard based on a certain level of alcohol in the blood (or breath) via an approved forensic method of quantitation. This is sometimes called your BAC level. If a prosecutor can demonstrate that the driver had a per se level of alcohol in the driver’s blood from test results obtained from an approved Intoxilyzer 9000 device, with all of its parts attached and in good working order, within 3 hours of driving ending, the prosecutor has presented a prima facie DUI per se case.
The most common type of DUI alcohol charge in Georgia is DUI less safe. This is because it can be accused even when no forensic breath or blood result is available. For a DUI less safe charge to be successful, the government lawyer must show that the accused driver was “less safe to drive” by virtue of whatever alcohol he or she consumed.
If you have been arrested for DUI in Georgia, you are in violation of O.G.C.A. 40-6-391. This Georgia law pertains to driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other intoxicating substances. Under GA DUI laws, any conviction for any type of DUI cannot be expunged, restricted, or processed like other first offender cases. Plus, license suspension is MANDATORY.
DUI conviction penalties include fines, jail, community service, probation, possible ignition interlock installation, DUI school and loss of driving privileges. The loss of driver’s license can be TOTAL, or with restricted privileges (route restricted or work permit).
In Georgia, the crime of drunk driving or drugged driving is punished as a misdemeanor DUI, but a fourth impaired driving conviction within 10 years is a DUI felony in Georgia, with up to 5 years in state prison. The ten years is measured by dates of arrest for drunk driving or drugged driving in any state.
Any DUI first offense, 2nd DUI in GA, or 3rd DUI within a 10-year time frame would be a misdemeanor DUI. (The effective date of the Georgia DUI felony law for drunk driving offenses are those DUI 4th offense crimes committed July 1, 2008 or after).
DUI accident penalties can far exceed the usual drinking and driving penalties, because the DUI penalties for serious injury by vehicle or vehicular homicide are often not misdemeanor drunk driving penalties. When serious injury or a fatality occurs by DWI-DUI, this triggers felony DUI (driving under the influence) penalties. Almost every state has some DUI felony provisions, whether called manslaughter, homicide, or murder.
It is imperative that you hire the best criminal defense lawyers in Atlanta to fight for your case. DUI law firm partner William C. Head has been a Super Lawyer since 2004. Only two DUI attorneys in GA have been named to EVERY list for drunk driving lawyers in Georgia.
Atlanta DUI lawyer Bubba Head, DUI lawyer Atlanta Larry Kohn, and ex-cop and now Atlanta criminal defense lawyer Cory Yager, also possess “Best Lawyer” credentials with Super Lawyers. All three partners are listed in the 2017 lawyer ratings. Our attorneys have collectively helped over 30,000 Georgians in their darkest hour, when charged with drunk driving or other criminal offenses.
In searching for the best lawyers in America, you should never look for a low-cost DUI attorney, because the best attorneys charge more. Our clients are seeking the very best DUI attorney in Atlanta or other cities in Georgia.
You can choose from among a lot of “cheap”, “average” or even “good” Atlanta DUI lawyers, but you will get what you pay for. Now is not the time to skimp on quality. A DUI conviction will handicap you for the rest of your life. Just like when deciding on a qualified surgeon to perform major surgery, you must research all candidates and go with the one with the most experience, and the surgeon who keeps up with the latest surgical techniques.
You should you NOT make the cost of a DUI lawyer the deciding factor. Hire a DUI specialist for your pending Georgia case.