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Georgia DUI?

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Can a DUI be dismissed? Yes
Can I keep my license? Yes
Will it be affordable? Yes

Atlanta DUI Lawyer

We are more than expert DUI lawyers. We solve DUI problems.

Getting a DUI in Atlanta can be overwhelming. A DUI can cost a lot of time and money--while seriously damaging your reputation. A good DUI lawyer can help mitigate the damage that a DUI arrest brings to your life. They will advocate on your behalf, potentially reducing your charges, excluding illegal evidence, negotiating less severe penalties, or even enabling you to walk away free. They will also be able to answer questions you may have throughout the process. While Georgia DUI law can be complicated, our attorneys are highly experienced in navigating those complexities, championing the rights of our clients, and fighting for positive results on their behalf.

Are you in need of assistance? Talk to an Atlanta DUI defense lawyer about your case today - free of charge.

DID YOU KNOW?

  1. Your driver's license is set to automatically get suspended
  2. You only have a few short weeks to request a DMV hearing to keep your priveleges.
  3. Depending on the offense you could lose your driver's license for as long as 3 years.
  4. Depending on the conviction, penalties can run as high as $5,000.
  5. You could be looking at jail time with a misdemeanor or felony on your record.

Don't give up your legal rights without speaking to an attorney.

George C. Creal, Jr., P.C., Trial Lawyers are the best DUI lawyers in Metro Atlanta and the State of Georgia. We get results. We are a law firm representing people charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI). Our firm has advised thousands of DUI clients primarily in Metro Atlanta and its surrounding counties. We know the Court system from the inside out. We know the Judges, the Prosecutors, the Police, and they know we fight for every inch of our clients’ rights. We have been in the Courtroom defending DUI charges for a combined total of 47 years. A DUI arrest can be overwhelming, but we handle DUI charges everyday and know what it takes to win.

Think your case is hopeless? Don’t worry, it’s not.

George C. Creal Jr. P.C. has got your back! From falling asleep at the wheel to getting in an accident with a police officer, we’ve seen just about every set of circumstances surrounding a DUI arrest. Our case procedure is simple: we fight tooth and nail for you, your needs, and your rights in order to get the absolute best result for you situation. Sometimes we’ll win over 10 DUI jury trials in a row, and sometimes it’ll take more than a year before we get a guilty verdict in a DUI case. We can’t win them all but we do win a lot of them. Still think your case is hopeless? Remember, with a quality lawyer like George C. Creal Jr., virtually every DUI yields opportunities for a strong, persuasive defense. Check out our Recent Successes page to see for yourself. Check out our Recent Successes page to see for yourself.

We Treat our DUI Clients Like Family: We Give You Our Email, Office, and Cell Phone Numbers So We’re Always Available:

You can call or email us 24/7 with questions and concerns regarding your DUI case. We know you may be anxious, but we’re always willing to take cases to trial and win! Many lawyers are quick to take your money and even quicker to plea you to a DUI. While we cannot win every case, we fight tooth and nail to make sure you get the best result possible under Georgia law. We will go to court again and again to get the result you deserve. We have taken hundreds of cases to trial and have had thousands of cases dismissed or reduced from DUI to reckless driving. If necessary, we provide the resources our clients need to recover from alcohol dependence and minimize jail time if the evidence is overwhelming. Our goal is simply to help our clients, win their trust, and have them feel comfortable referring us to family and friends in need of legal expertise.

Top Ten Things to know about a Georgia DUI Arrest

georgia-suspended-driver-license

What to Expect When Facing a DUI in Atlanta:

In Georgia, most DUIs are misdemeanor offenses. If you have three or more prior DUIs convictions within the past ten years, were charged with fleeing from an officer, or caused death or serious bodily harm to another person or unborn fetus, your DUI could be a felony. When facing a DUI, here’s what you can expect:

  • Your lawyer only has 30 days to request an administrative license suspension hearing or to install an interlock device in your car. If the hearing is not requested, or the device is not installed, your Georgia driver’s license/privilege to drive in Georgia will be suspended.
    — If you are accused of refusing the State’s blood, breath, or urine test, that suspension will be one year long (unless a hearing is requested).
  • You will face a criminal proceeding that begins with an arraignment, where you will enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. Your lawyer may be able to negotiate your case without going to trial usually after arraignment, but if you plead not guilty then your lawyer will receive and review the evidence in your case, file motions to exclude illegal evidence, and negotiate a plea offer with the prosecutor. If you reject, the offer and do not win your motions your case will continue to a trial calendar before a judge or jury. If the case goes to a jury trial, the outcome is decided by the jury and if you are convicted the judge will determine the punishment.
  • Your lawyer will use several strategies pre-trial to negotiate a plea bargain, or during the trial to win your case. This can include proving that your rights were violated during your arrest or highlighting evidentiary and legal weaknesses in your case to the prosecutor.
  • If you are convicted of a DUI, you will face penalties such as jail time, fines, treatment/education programs, suspended license and limited driving privileges, and more. These penalties will vary based on the circumstances of your DUI and the discretion of the judge. Even if you are convicted, a lawyer can help mitigate or reduce the severity of the penalties you will face.

Types of DUI Charges:

Even as a misdemeanor, DUI cases carry severe penalties. Georgia treats first time DUIs as less serious than repeat offenses—thus, a first, second, and third+ offense will carry different penalties. These penalties range from 12-month suspension of your driver’s license to permanent revocation, with fines ranging from $300 to $5,000. Each charge, no matter you criminal history, carries a mandatory jail time, as well.

There are two types of alcohol-related DUIs: DUI alcohol Per se, and DUI alcohol Less safe.

DUI Per Se:

This is likely the DUI with which you are familiar. Under the Georgia DUI-Per se statute, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while the driver has a blood or breath-alcohol level of 0.08 grams or more. DUI Per Se does not require evidence of impairment or proof that you are drunk. As long as a state administered chemical test of your blood, breath, or urine reveals a blood alcohol concentration above the legal limit of 0.08 grams or more, you can be convicted of DUI Per Se—even if you were not acting impaired during your arrest and DUI investigation. For drivers under 21, the legal limit is .02 grams which is basically a beer or less. For operators of commercial vehicles, the limit is .04 grams or roughly two beers, wines or shots of liquor.

DUI Less Safe:

Under the Georgia DUI-Less Safe statute, a person can be charged with DUI if the arresting officer believes that the person is a less safe driver as a result of alcohol consumption before or while driving. This is often charged when a person refuses to submit to a blood, breath, or urine test or there is not test. Because a DUI Less Safe is more subjective, these types of cases are typically tried more than DUI Per Se cases. A DUI less safe is by definition a grey area. The prosecution must prove your impairment beyond a reasonable doubt—they will use evidence such as your actual driving, performance of field sobriety evaluations; and behavior, appearance and demeanor during the arrest and investigation as well as other indications of you being under the influence under the totality of the circumstances.

Supreme Court of Georgia Appearances

Attorney George Creal Arguing before the Georgia Supreme Court

Minimum Penalties for Each Level of Misdemeanor DUI Charge in Georgia:

Penalties vary based on your number of previous DUI convictions within the last 10 years, whether you refused BAC testing, and your age, in addition to other complicating factors.

  • $300 fine
  • Minimum 10 days (all but 24 hours can be avoided)
  • 12 month of reporting probation
  • 40 hours community service
  • License suspension of up to one year
  • 20 hour DUI school
  • $210 set license reinstatement fee

These are the minimum penalties. The maximum penalties could increase your total fines to $1,000 and jail time up to 12 months. There are additional fees associated with court costs which can double the actual fine amount.

  • Mandatory minimum of 72 hours jail time
  • $600 fine
  • 12 months of reporting probation
  • 30 days community service
  • 18 months driver’s license suspension
  • Ignition Interlock installation in any car you drive
  • $210 set license reinstatement fee
  • 20 hour DUI school
  • Picture in the newspaper
  • License plate confiscation
  • Mandatory clinical evaluation and, if indicated, completion of a substance abuse treatment program at your expense

These are the minimum penalties. The maximum penalties could increase your total fines to 1,000 and your jail time to 12 months. There are additional fees associated with court costs.

  • Mandatory minimum of 15 days jail time
  • $1,000 fine
  • 30 days community service
  • 12 months of reporting probation
  • Permanent driver’s license revocation for up to 5 years. Early reinstatement after two years with an ignition interlock device on your car
  • $410 set license reinstatement fee
  • Your name, photo, and address published in local newspaper at your expense
  • Declared as habitual violator, your license plate for your vehicle will be seized by the court and forwarded to the Department of Motor Vehicle Safety
  • Mandatory clinical evaluation and, if indicated, completion of a substance abuse treatment program at your expense

These are the minimum penalties. The maximum penalties could increase your total fines to $5,000 and your jail time to 12 months. There are additional fees associated with court costs.

Customary Probation Conditions:

  • A drug and alcohol evaluation by a licensed counselor or psychologist and any recommended treatment as a condition of probation even on a first DUI conviction
  • A 2 hour $100 victim impact panel where you listen to stories of how lives are negatively impacted by drinking and driving.
  • Random tests of your urine for drugs and alcohol. Some counties require you to check in every day to see if you have been selected for a random urine screen. ETG alcohol testing can detect alcohol consumption up to 80 hours after drinking.

Will I Lose My Driver’s License?

For an Alcohol-related DUI:

For purposes of license suspension, courts look at convictions within the past five years. For your first DUI conviction, the maximum suspension period is 12 months. If you complete DUI school and pay the license reinstatement fee, you will be eligible for early reinstatement after 120 days (if you did not refuse the state administered test of your blood, breath, or urine).
If you are 21 or older, you can apply for a limited use driving permit during the license suspension. This limited use permit will allow you to drive to work, school, substance abuse counseling, DUI school, for medical care/treatment, court appearances, probation appointments, pharmacies to drop off/pick up prescriptions, and community service. You can also drive an unlicensed immediate family member to work, school, medical care, and pharmacies to drop off and pick up prescriptions.

If this is your second DUI within five years, there is a three-year suspension. No limited permit will be available for the first 120 days—after that period, you may be granted a limited permit, but it is conditioned upon the installation of an ignition interlock device for a minimum period of eight months. To receive this interlock device limited permit, you must undergo a clinical evaluation and then enroll in a treatment program. You will have to present a certificate of eligibility from a drug court program or proof of enrollment in a substance abuse treatment.

After the period requiring an interlock device expires, you may apply for a limited permit without the interlock device restriction. After eighteen months, you will be eligible for early reinstatement of full driving privileges if you prove that the interlock device was maintained for an eight-month period or present a court order exempting you from this requirement, provide proof of completion of a substance abuse program (if it was required after your clinical evaluation), and pay a reinstatement fee.

For a third DUI within five years, there is a five-year license revocation. At this point, you will also be declared a habitual violator. After two years, you may apply for a probationary license that may have restrictions on places, routes, and times you can travel for the remaining three years of revocation.

For a drug-related DUI:

No limited license permit is available, regardless of whether the drugs were illegal, over-the-counter, or prescription.

The Administrative License Suspension Hearing

Within 30 days of your DUI arrest, your lawyer must file an appeal of your license suspension. If this is not filed, your license will be suspended. The State of Georgia charges a filing fee of $150 for the appeal.

If you received a DUI in Georgia but live in another state, Georgia cannot suspend your license, but they will suspend your privilege to drive in Georgia. Additionally, the state that you live in could honor Georgia’s suspension. If a hearing request isn’t made, your license will go into suspension on day 46.

Once the 30-day letter is sent on your behalf, your license will not go into suspension until you are afforded the administrative license suspension hearing before the Office of State Administrative Hearings (OSAH).

At this hearing, your attorney could employ several tactics to help you continue driving. This includes asking if your Georgia implied consent warning was read timely and correctly, whether the arresting officers followed appropriate protocols, if you requested an independent test and were not accommodated, and other violations of your rights during the arrest. Your attorney can also negotiate a deal with the arresting officer for a withdrawal of the administrative license suspension unilaterally, for a plea to reckless driving or for a plea to DUI.

You may also install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle within 30 days and apply for an ignition interlock permit through the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS) in lieu of filing an appeal of your administrative license suspension. This device must be on your car for at least 12 months and cannot be removed for any reason, even if you win your case or get your charges reduced.

Getting Your License Reinstated

If you are 21 or older, you can get your license reinstated once it has been suspended for at least 120 days, you present a certificate of completion of a DDS approved DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction program and submit your reinstatement fee.

Will I Go to Jail?

Immediately upon arrest: When you’re arrested for a DUI in Georgia, you will likely be held in county jail overnight. You may be released “on your own recognizance,” meaning you promise in writing to show up to all court appearances; or you may be released on bail, where you pay an amount to be released, in effect promising that you will report to court for the listed proceedings. Your criminal history and the seriousness of the alleged crime will be considered when the court decides whether to release you on your own recognizance. Either way, if you fail to make your court appearance after being released, a warrant is issued for your arrest.

If convicted: All DUI offenses (first, second, third+) carries a mandatory range of jail time. Your DUI lawyer should fight to have your jail time reduced—this could be through negotiating a lighter sentence, or a lesser charge that carries no jail time at all.

Typically, DUI sentences are served in county jail. If a DUI becomes a felony (through severe injury/death, fourth+ DUI, or if you are charged with fleeing an officer), it could carry a sentence of more than a year, which would be carried out in state prison rather than county jail.

The Evidence Against You:

Evidence Compiled During Arrest Process:
Before an officer can arrest you, the officer must gather reasonable suspicion that you are intoxicated. They will consider the entire situation, starting with your driving patterns prior to pulling you over. They will look to see whether you are maintaining your lane, driving unsafely, acknowledging their signals, and how comfortable you are pulling over, amongst other indications of intoxicated driving.

While initially talking to you, they will look at whether your eyes are watery/bloodshot, what kind of attitude you have, whether your speech is slurred or slowed, your coordination, whether you smell of alcohol or another substance, and other notes about the initial interaction they have with you.

If they believe you are under the influence, they will typically ask you questions like where you’re going, where you’ve been, and if you’ve been drinking. They can ask these questions from the moment they approach you all the way till after you arrive for booking. It’s a good idea to remain silent rather than answer these incriminating questions—your responses are being recorded to build a case against you.

Breathalyzer:
The arresting officer may ask you to blow into a portable breathalyzer machine that records your blood alcohol content (BAC). This is just one clue that an officer uses to determine whether you are under the influence. If the BAC level is over the Georgia legal limit of 0.08% or sometimes even above 0.05 grams, the officer will continue their investigation and arrest you.

Even if you are under .08%, the officer can continue their investigation or arrest you at their discretion. If you are under 21, the legal BAC drops to 0.02%. If you have a commercial license, the limit drops to 0.04%. Georgia’s DUI-Less Safe allows officers to arrest you even if your BAC is within legal limits, if they believe that you are less safe to drive.

Field Sobriety Testing:
The arresting officer will typically ask you to perform roadside agility tests. There are three Georgia field sobriety tests that are employed by officers:

  1. Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test:
    — An officer will ask you to follow a pen or another stimulus with your eyes to see if your eyes jerk a certain number of times across a series of horizontal passes in front of your eyes.
  2. One leg stand:
    — The officer will ask you to stand on your leg with your knee straight and your toe pointed horizontally to the ground about six inches high for thirty seconds, counting out loud.
  3. Walk and turn:
    — The officer will ask you to walk nine steps, take a turn, and walk back on a line real or imaginary.

You are not legally required to comply with these tests. Your attorney will review the video recorded by the police’s body camera and car camera to evaluate your performance on each test, and whether the officer correctly administered the tests.

State Administered Breath/Blood/Urine Testing:
After arresting you for DUI, the officer must read the Georgia Implied Consent notice to you in a timely manner from a green tri-fold card. At the end of the card, they will ask you if you will comply with a state administered test of your blood, breath, or urine which they choose.

After your arrest, if you agree to the state administered test, the officer will transport you to a police station, jail or medical facility to undergo a test. Your initial portable breathalyzer result cannot be used as evidence in court except for positive or negative for the presence of alcohol, but the state administered blood/breath/urine test can serve as an official BAC level in court.

You may refuse the test, but when you were issued a driver’s license, you gave “implied consent” that you agreed to be tested for DUI investigations. Thus, if you refuse, you face an automatic hard suspension of your driver’s license.

Refusing a Breath/Blood/Urine Test:

Always refusing the state administered chemical test of your blood, breath, or urine to deprive the prosecution/arresting officer of evidence to use against you is not a good strategy for a few reasons. The decision to submit to a test depends on the circumstance of the arrest and the county where the DUI occurred. It also depends on the arresting agency or police department involved. There is no easy answer to this question.

Georgia’s Dui-Less safe statute allows you to be arrested and convicted of DUI without official evidence that your BAC was above the legal limit. The prosecution will also focus on your refusal to take a blood or urine test, saying that its proof you knew you were too intoxicated to drive. However, they can not use a refusal to take a breath test or field sobriety evaluations against you as they are compelled acts protected by the Georgia Constitution.

Refusing to answer the question or remaining silent will be deemed as a refusal. However, if you were in an accident and rendered unconscious, or don’t speak or understand English, you are deemed to have not withdrawn your actual consent which is Constitutionally required in addition to Implied Consent.

If you refuse the test, there are still legal options. If the police read you the Georgia implied consent card incorrectly, misled you, failed to designate a test, or in some other way deprived you of your ability to make an informed decision of whether to submit to chemical testing, your attorney can argue against the refusal charge.

George-JusticeScale

Important Georgia DUI Information

10 Must-Know DUI Facts

Because there are many opportunities for a strong defense in cases with State-administered results, we regularly beat DUI cases with blood and/or breath tests as evidence.

Marijuana and Georgia DUI

Marijuana has a very specific definition under Georgia law: Georgia governor Brian Kemp signed into law on May 10, 2019 the Georgia Hemp Farming Act. The Georgia Hemp Farming Act or HB 213 changed the definition of Marijuana and THC, the psycho-active ingredient of Marijuana, to exclude Hemp.

Child Endangerment DUI

A Child Endangerment DUI is basically an additional DUI charge added to any person who is DUI while transporting minors under the age of 14. It will generally result in additional jail time and each child represents a separate DUI for purposes of license suspension.

Blood-Alcohol Levels

Georgia DUI Law provides for legal inferences for blood alcohol under 0.08 grams. From 0.05 to just under 0.08 grams, there is no presumption of either impairment or sobriety. Under 0.05 grams, there is a presumption of sobriety.

What is an EtG test?

EtG stands for ethyl glucuronide. It is a alcohol biomarker meaning. It is used to detect alcohol consumption. EtG is present in all body fluids and tissues but EtG is usually measured in urine.

Georgia BUI Lawyers

Have a few beers on a boat is a summertime tradtion. Whether you are going out for a cocktail cruise during a full moon party at Sunset Cove at Lake Lanier in Gainesville, headed to the LaPrade’s Marina on Lake Burton for a steak dinner at the Chophouse or for another case of beer, or headed to Reynolds Plantation on Lake Oconee ...

Reducing DUI to Reckless Driving

Many clients ask if they should try to get their DUI charges reduced to reckless driving? Here are some pros and cons to getting a DUI charge reduced to reckless driving:

Do I Have a Case?

Every Georgia DUI case has potential, but in order to build a successful defense the facts of the case need to be thoroughly investigated and every opportunity must be sought and exploited. This means, at the very least, pursuing a motion hearing for the suppression of illegally obtained evidence.

City / County Pages

  • ALPHARETTA
  • ATLANTA
  • BROOKHAVEN
  • CARTERSVILLE

Think your case is hopeless? Don’t worry, it’s not.

George C. Creal Jr. P.C. has got your back! From falling asleep at the wheel to getting in an accident with a police officer, we’ve seen just about every set of circumstances surrounding a DUI arrest. Our case procedure is simple: we fight tooth and nail for you, your needs, and your rights in order to get the absolute best result for you situation. Sometimes we’ll win over 10 DUI jury trials in a row, and sometimes it’ll take more than a year before we get a guilty verdict in a DUI case. We can’t win them all but we do win a lot of them. Still think your case is hopeless? Remember, with a quality lawyer like George C. Creal Jr., virtually every DUI yields opportunities for a strong, persuasive defense. Check out our Recent Successes page to see for yourself. Check out our Recent Successes page to see for yourself.

We Treat our DUI Clients Like Family: We Give You Our Email, Office, and Cell Phone Numbers So We’re Always Available:

You can call or email us 24/7 with questions and concerns regarding your DUI case. We know you may be anxious, but we’re always willing to take cases to trial and win! Many lawyers are quick to take your money and even quicker to plea you to a DUI. While we cannot win every case, we fight tooth and nail to make sure you get the best result possible under Georgia law. We will go to court again and again to get the result you deserve. We have taken hundreds of cases to trial and have had thousands of cases dismissed or reduced from DUI to reckless driving. If necessary, we provide the resources our clients need to recover from alcohol dependence and minimize jail time if the evidence is overwhelming. Our goal is simply to help our clients, win their trust, and have them feel comfortable referring us to family and friends in need of legal expertise.

Georgia DUI FAQ’s

Good DUI lawyers are not cheap and cheap lawyers will cost you more than you realize! A good DUI defense takes time. Ask any lawyer you interview what’s the average amount of time they spend on a DUI case. Divide that number by their fee and see what they charge an hour. Court appointed attorneys can earn between $85 and $125 per hour in State and Federal cases. So why would a private attorney charge less than that? Answer: they won’t.
Beware of unethical DUI lawyers that guarantee results with unreasonably low fees. They will take your money then tell you your case is hopeless at your first court appearance. These unethical lawyers will often try to convince you to plead guilty before they have even seen the police report and video. They will tell you that if you fight your DUI, you will go to jail for long periods of time, and, after scaring you into submission, will plead you guilty at the first opportunity.

Call, visit or email: George C. Creal, Jr., P.C., Trial Lawyers, 480 John Wesley Dobbs Ave NE, Unit 190 Atlanta, Georgia 30312, Phone: (404) 333-0706, Map of our Downtown Office or email firm@georgialawyer.com for a free consultation! Our offices are conveniently located across the Metro Area or we can meet at a location near your home, chat online, on the phone, or via email – whatever works best for you. We are flexible and would love to help with your DUI case.