Dealing with a DUI charge can be a frightening and stressful experience, especially if it is your first time interacting with the criminal justice system. This page addresses some of the frequently asked questions that can arise concerning DUI cases.
What Should I Do After My Arrest?
There are several things that you should do after you have been arrested, booked, and released. If you want to keep your driver's license, you must take certain steps or your license will be automatically suspended after 46 days. In order to preserve your right to contest your license suspension, you must request an Administrative License Suspension hearing. In order to do this, you need to submit a letter asking for a hearing within 30 days of your arrest. Requesting a hearing will pause the suspension process until you have a hearing.
Another thing that it is beneficial to do after a DUI arrest is to contact a criminal defense attorney, like Richard Lawson. A skilled Hall County attorney can help build a strong defense in your DUI case as well as represent you at an administrative license hearing.
What If I Don't Request An ALS Hearing Within 30 Days?
If you do not put in this request then your license will be suspended after 46 days. This suspension will remain in effect for at least 30 days. However, you may be able to apply for a limited permit so long as you did not refuse to take a chemical test. In the event of an alleged refusal, your suspension will be 12 months, and there is no limited permit or restricted license.
Do I Need An Attorney?
We receive calls every day from people who have represented themselves. Very often we cannot help someone who has made irreparable mistakes while representing themselves. We always recommend that a person charged with a DUI hire a qualified Hall County DUI Lawyer. There are a number of advantages to having an attorney on your side when facing DUI charges or any criminal charges for that matter. First, a criminal defense attorney will have to know the law and be able to advise you on the best course of action in your case. In addition, each court has its own unique procedural requirements and an attorney will be familiar with these and will know things like when is the proper time to file motions or documents with the court and what the proper format for those documents are. Being represented by an experienced and knowledgeable attorney, like Hall County DUI Attorney Richard Lawson, is an asset to anyone facing DUI charges.
Is It A Good Idea To Accept A Plea Bargain?
The simple answer is it depends on the facts and circumstances of your case. Before accepting a plea agreement it is a good idea to discuss the matter with an attorney. A criminal defense attorney can help you understand the options available to you and the potential consequences of the plea bargain. In the end, the choice is yours, but knowing all the pertinent information can help you make the best decision for you.
What Happens If I Violate Probation?
There are numerous ways that a person can violate the terms of his or her probation including missing appointments with a probation officer, failing to pay probation fees, failing to complete community service hours, or being charged with another offense. If you have violated probation, you can face significant penalties including having a warrant issued for your arrest and serving time in jail.
What Is Implied Consent?
Every state, including Georgia, has an implied consent rule. O.C.G.A. § 40-5-67.1 (2015). This rule states that a person gives his or her implied consent to take a chemical test, if a police officer suspects that the person is driving while under the influence, by driving on the roads and highways of the state. It is important to be aware that you do not have to take a chemical test but there are consequences for refusing. In Georgia, the consequences may include having your license suspended for one year and having the evidence of your refusal used against you in court.
As a note, if you refuse to voluntarily comply with a chemical test, a police officer can obtain a warrant to compel you to submit to a test. Refusing to comply with a warrant has a whole different set of consequences from those that arise from refusing a chemical test.
Can I Refuse To Take A Field Sobriety Test?
Yes, you can refuse to take a field sobriety test. In addition, the roadside breath test is also voluntary and you are not required to take it. It is important to note, however, that the roadside breath test is different than the state-administered breath test. Refusing the latter of these can result in consequences including license suspension and having your refusal used against you as evidence. Also, the police officer can get a warrant to take your blood in the event of a refusal.
How Do I Get My License Back After A DUI Conviction?
The length of a person's license suspension will depend on his or her underlying DUI conviction. During the period of license suspension, it may be possible to get a hardship license so that you can get to and from places like work and school. In addition, you may be able to apply for early reinstatement of your license if you meet certain conditions.
What Is An Ignition Interlock Device?
An ignition interlock is a device that requires a driver to blow into a tube in order to start his or her vehicle. If the device registers a specified level of alcohol on the driver's breath it won't start. In Georgia, a driver is required to install an ignition interlock in his or her car after a second DUI conviction in a 5-year period.
Can I Appeal My Case?
The simple answer is, it depends. It is important to be aware that an appeal is not a second chance to try your case. Rather, the appellate court looks at legal errors that may have occurred during the trial. For example, if you objected to a particular piece of evidence being admitted and the trial judge overruled the objection, you can appeal that decision. The appellate court will then determine whether or not the judge's decision complied with the applicable law. If the court decides it does, it will affirm the ruling of the lower court. If it believes that there was an error made it may reverse the trial court's decision, order a new trial, or remand the case.
Contact The Law Offices of Richard Lawson
If you or a loved one has been charged with a DUI, it is a good idea to have a skilled criminal defense attorney on your side. Richard Lawson has been practicing law in Georgia for over twenty years and he has devoted his career to defending those who have been accused of driving under the influence. Don't face the criminal justice system alone, contact Hall County DUI Attorney Richard Lawson today at (404) 816-4440, or contact him online.
For more frequently asked questions, check out our DUI Q&A.