What happens at my DUI arraignment in Georgia?
An arraignment is the first court proceeding in a DUI case. You will hear the charges that are being made against you and will be given an opportunity to plead guilty or not guilty. If you plead not guilty, your attorney will be able to request any evidence that the State has in your case, which he or she can then use to begin building your defense.
How long does a DUI conviction stay on my record in GA?
Unlike some states—and even a few insurance companies—that have so-called look back periods, a DUI conviction in Georgia will stay on your record for the rest of your life. Even if your DUI was charged as a misdemeanor, your conviction will be public record, accessible by potential employers, lenders and educational institutions. A DUI conviction should be avoided at all costs.
What are the penalties for a DUI conviction?
Penalties may depend on the driver's age, previous DUI record, and whether any injuries were caused. For most first-time DUIs in Georgia, penalties could include: (1) a minimum of 24 hours in jail; (2) probation for a year; (3) suspended driver's license for one year; (4) higher automobile insurance premiums; (5) a required substance abuse evaluation and driving school; (6) mandatory 40 hours of approved community service; and (7) fines and fees up to $1,000.
How much time do I have to fight my DUI charges?
One people are shocked to learn that they only have 10 days to request a hearing to fight your driver's license suspension. The Department of Driver Services will automatically suspend your driver's license 30 days after a DUI arrest, even if you are not convicted. This is a separate administrative process that can be handled by your DUI defense lawyer. However, you have to formally request the hearing in writing within 10 business days of your arrest.Your DUI lawyer can also file the 10-day hearing letter, so make sure you don't delay.
What if you are an out-of-state visitor stopped for a DUI?
Many people from out of state, visiting Georgia or just passing through, may get pulled over and arrested for a DUI. Getting a DUI in Georgia can affect your driving privileges in your home state, as well as the cost of your auto insurance. We have handled many out-of-state DUI cases in the past, and will work so that, when possible, you can handle your case by telephone with the court and with your local Department of Motor Vehicles.
Can you refuse to take a breath test?
In Georgia, you have the right to refuse to submit to a portable breathalyzer test before you have been arrested. However, after you have been arrested, if you refuse to submit to any of the chemical tests (breath, blood, or urine), the Department of Driver Services will suspend your driver's license for one year, even if you are later found not guilty.
Can you refuse to take a field sobriety test?
Standardized field sobriety tests, including the eye test, one-leg stand, walk and turn and other tests are voluntary. These tests are not 100% accurate, even when the police give the proper instructions. They can routinely result in a sober person “failing” the tests.
Can the police arrest me for driving under the influence of prescription medication?
A driver can be arrested for a DUI for being under the influence of alcohol, drugs, inhalants, prescription drugs from a doctor, and even over the counter medications. The law states it is a violation to be under the influence of any drug, if it makes it less safe for the driver to operate a vehicle. Drug DUI cases can be complicated, especially when they involve legal prescription drugs or OTC medication, and should be handled by a lawyer who has dedicated their practice to handling DUI and drug defense cases.
What will happen to my car insurance rate after a DUI?
If you are convicted for a DUI in Georgia, your insurance company will likely increase your insurance premiums. They could raise the rate by double, or even more, and in some cases, the insurance company may fail to renew your policy. The increase in insurance costs may add up to thousands of dollars as a result of a DUI, in addition to all the fines, fees and time lost resulting from a DUI conviction.
Who will know about my DUI arrest? Can I keep it a secret?
In Georgia, DUI arrests are public record. If a newspaper or other citizen wants to find out if you were arrested for a DUI, they could. In some cases, newspapers and local news media may publish the arrest records, and anyone reading the newspaper could learn of your DUI. After a second DUI conviction within 5 years, your photo will be published in a local newspaper, at your cost.
Most employers may never need to know about a driver's DUI, unless the law, profession, or employment contract requires such disclosure. For some jobs, such as a pilot or commercial driver, a DUI may impact their ability to work. Other professions, including lawyers, doctors and nurses, may also have mandatory disclosure policies for a DUI.
How should I choose a DUI defense lawyer?
DUI cases are different than other criminal cases, and often require an understanding of chemical testing and results, as well as the specific laws governing how the police have to treat a DUI suspect. DUI lawyers who have dedicated their professional careers to defending people charged with DUIs or other drug and alcohol related charges have the experience and training to not only defend a client in criminal court, but also to fight for your driver's license in the administrative license hearing.
Contact Experienced Georgia DUI Defense Lawyers
At Kuttner & Associates, we are an experienced DUI defense team who exclusively handle DUI and drug-related charges. In addition to our DUI training, we are also former DUI prosecutors who understand what it takes to beat a DUI. Call Kuttner & Associates today, so we can fight for your rights and you can keep your license to drive.