Winning Your Georgia DUI Case
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Author: Philip Kim, Founder, Philip Kim Law, P.C.
Defense lawyer Philip Kim has committed his career to standing up for the accused, and protecting the rights and reputations of his valued clients. If you face criminal charges in Georgia, we can provide you with the skilled, effective defense representation you need.
Published on December 30, 2022.
DUI Case Process in Georgia
Are you wondering if you can beat a DUI case somehow? Here’s what you need to know.
Most DUI cases start similarly. The police officer pulls over the driver because of a traffic violation or at a DUI checkpoint. If the officer believes the driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they will ask the driver to perform field sobriety tests such as the horizontal gaze nystagmus test (HGN), walk and turn, or one-leg stand. The driver may also be asked to take a roadside breathalyzer test on a hand-held portable device.
When an arresting officer concludes they have enough evidence to make a DUI arrest, they will read the Georgia Implied Consent Warning to the driver and ask them to submit to a state-administered chemical test, such as a blood, breath, or urine test.
A positive test and an arrest will result in DUI charges. However, you have several defenses available to you to help you fight the DUI charges.
Georgia DUI Case Law
It is definitely possible to get a DUI dismissed across the State of Georgia. The key to a successful DUI defense, however, is knowing how not to act after an arrest for drunk driving and avoiding self-incrimination.
It is important to remember that DUI arrests do not necessarily equate to DUI convictions. The fact that you are arrested for DUI does not necessarily mean you will be convicted. With the help of a DUI lawyer, you can effectively defend your rights and fight your case.
Your Rights: An Overview
Firstly, it is important to note that field sobriety tests are voluntary. There is no scientific basis for these tests, and they are purely based on the assessment of the arresting officer. An incorrectly administered test could provide a strong DUI defense.
Roadside breathalyzer tests are also optional, and you can refuse to take them without facing any criminal consequences. Even though portable breathalyzer test results can play a significant role in an arrest, they cannot be used by the State as evidence during a trial. But, an arresting officer can testify whether the reading indicated alcohol presence or not.
However, It is mandatory under Georgia DUI laws (O.C.G.A. 40-6-392) that you submit to a breathalyzer test at the police station. The results of these tests will be admissible in court, provided they were administered properly. A refusal to take the post-arrest test typically results in a driver’s license suspension that can occur even before the criminal case starts.
Mitigating a DUI Arrest
Your actions at the time of arrest heavily influence a DUI case. Cooperating with law enforcement could help your case. However, if you are generally troublesome or resist arrest while engaging law enforcement officers, it could work against you.
Furthermore, remaining silent during the DUI arrest procedure or while you are inside the police car or in jail serving your mandatory jail term can be beneficial to your case.
When facing a DUI charge, it can be the best strategy to not provide the police with any evidence of your self-incriminating actions and words. Answering the questions the police officers ask can diminish the driver’s chances of winning a DUI case. You may self-incriminate yourself if you answer questions about your case without your lawyer present. According to the U.S. Supreme Court, the only required information a driver has to give is their name and address.
Penalties Associated With DUI Convictions
Many drivers don’t know that a DUI in Georgia triggers a criminal case as well as administrative penalties imposed by the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS). DUI offenses are generally misdemeanors and can result in up to a year in jail, fines up to $1,000, and other penalties.
Even if you were found not guilty of a criminal DUI charge, you could still face an administrative suspension. You have 30 days after an arrest to appeal your license suspension and request a driver’s license suspension hearing. The Administrative License Suspension hearing takes place before an administrative law judge. The judge will first hear the officer’s testimony, and your DUI attorney can later present the evidence on why you should keep your driver’s license.
How Long Can a DUI Case Stay Open in Georgia?
Since driving under the influence is considered a misdemeanor, the Georgia prosecutor has a time limit of two years from the day of your DUI arrest to file charges against you. Unfortunately, once they do, there is no limit the prosecutor would have to abide by to bring your case to court.
Of course, the statute of limitations will be different if a DUI offense is classified as a felony. In that case, the prosecution will have four years from the date of a DUI arrest to file DUI charges against the defendant.
How Long Do Most DUI Cases Take in Georgia?
It’s hard to determine exactly how long would a DUI case take in Georgia since every case is different.
For example, if a case doesn’t require pre-trial motions to suppress evidence or other complex litigation matters, a DUI case can be resolved anywhere from a couple of months to six months.
Although no two Georgia DUI cases are completely the same, the courts typically follow the same basic steps and procedures. However, the length of the whole process can depend on the court that is handling your DUI case and whether the defendant has requested a jury trial if their case, for instance, began in Recorders Court.
How Can an Experienced Lawyer Help You Get Your DUI Case Dismissed?
Hiring a legal professional can be essential if you plan to win your DUI case. The majority of people are not capable of defending themselves and will need legal assistance. As opposed to experienced attorneys, they are usually not aware that even cases where tests prove the driver’s blood alcohol concentration was over the legal limit can be challenged because of a lack of probable cause for an arrest.
The DUI Process should never be taken lightly since a Georgia DUI conviction will remain on an individual’s criminal record forever. Also, unless your DUI charge is reduced or dismissed, the conviction can affect your driving privileges even for a certain period. The necessity to win is even greater if your job depends on your driver’s license.
The most important aspect of winning a DUI case is finding an experienced attorney who excels in DUI cases. If you would like to learn more about your case’s chances of success, we can discuss it with you. ?contact Philip Kim Law and schedule a free consultation today!