Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
CONTACT TED MORGAN LAW at firstname.lastname@example.org BEFORE ITS TOO LATE!
The law office of Ted Morgan Law is committed to one (1) singular goal: TO PREVENT A CONVICTION OF DUI AGAINST YOU. If we can successfully defend your DUI case, then you will not lose your driver’s license but more importantly, you will get a second chance to clean up your act and avoid very costly ramifications of a DUI CONVICTION. In its simplest terms, a DUI conviction in Georgia or Alabama will have an immediate impact on your privilege to drive a motor vehicle but more importantly long-term life-altering effects on your daily life, such as:
- Loss of Driving Privileges in the future
- Higher auto insurance rates
- Higher costs of credit
- Employment issues in a variety of occupations
- Professional licensing issues in a variety of professions
- Labeled as an Habitual Violator under state driving laws
- Disclosure issues when applying for college
- Money, Money, Money… as it continues to costs you.
DUI: A Serious Offense – Arrested for DUI in Georgia?
Warning! Stop & Read!
If you have been arrested for DUI in the State of Georgia, you have thirty (30) days to file written request for a hearing with the Georgia Department of Driver Services or else your driver’s license is automatically suspended for one (1) year. (Effective July 1, 2017 the rule is 30 days; for arrests before July 1, 2017, the rule was 10 business days). However, new laws call for important decisions that must be made before the 30 day deadline! Contact our office right now and let us walk you through a quick determination of whether your license can be saved!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS FOR DUIs
If you have been arrested for DUI in the State of Georgia, you have thirty (30) days to file an appeal with the Georgia Department of Driver Services or else your driver’s license is automatically suspended for one (1) year 45 days after you received the Form 1205. New Law: A change in GA law now requires a filing fee of $150.00 when you file your DDS Notice of Appeal & Request for Hearing. If your arrest date is before July 1, 2017, the rule was 10 business days; that rule had been changed drastically, and one part of the change now provides 30 days to file. But do not be fooled, there are important decisions one must make BEFORE the 30 day deadline.
If you are arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol in the State of Georgia, the 30 days following the date of your arrest is a crucial period of time. If you fail to follow the requisite steps, GA Dept of Driver Services (DDS) WILL AUTOMATICALLY SUSPEND YOUR DRIVER’S LICENSE before you ever appear in Court or have a chance to defend the charges against you. It is a separate, administrative process brought by GA DDS. While you may still have a chance to beat the DUI charge, your license will be administratively suspended for a period of time, possibly one (1) year, depending on the facts & your age with limited ability to shorten the suspension. To avoid suspension of your driver’s license, a letter requesting a hearing must be delivered to the Georgia Department of Driver’s Services (“DDS”) within thirty (30) days of your arrest, and failure to do so causes an immediate suspension 45 days after arrest and which oftentimes is temporarily irreversible. If the arrested driver does not appeal the suspension within thirty (30) days, suspension becomes effective 45 days from the date the DDS Form 1205 is issued to the driver by the arresting officer. The appeal must be accompanied by a $150 filing fee, and DDS has no authority to waive for indigency. The date on which the appeal is postmarked, rather than the date on which it is mailed, is determinative of its timeliness. And, a “family emergency” is not considered a sufficient reason for an untimely filed appeal.
The Administrative Case: Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS)
The Administrative License Suspension (“ALS”) is a separate animal from the criminal charge of DUI and oftentimes operates independently of the criminal process. Georgia DDS can and will suspend your driving privileges before the criminal charge is resolved absent proper and competent legal representation. If arrested for DUI in Georgia, the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS) opens a separate legal case against you if (A) you refused to submit to the official state test of blood, breath, or urine, OR (B) if you submitted to and have a breathalyzer (Intoxilyzer 5000) result of 0.08 or higher (age 21 or more), .04 or higher (if operating a commercial vehicle), or .02 or higher (if under age 21). DDS will attempt to suspend your license for 1 to 5 years. This means you will lose your drivers license PRIOR to any plea agreement, investigation of the charges against you, or other disposition of the charges against you, including any trial (in most cases). The suspension is automatically entered against you unless you file an “appeal” letter within 30 days after the date of arrest. Filing an appeal (a.k.a. Request for Hearing) buys you some time and possibly, with the help of a good DUI Attorney, prevents any suspension from occurring. Yet another reason to call a DUI attorney…to file your appeal letter for you.
For driver’s 21 years old and over, a driver found with blood-alcohol concentration (“BAC”) of greater than or equal to 0.08g/L is deemed in violation of Georgia DUI laws, aka “per se” DUI.
For drivers under 21 years of age, a per se DUI arises with BAC greater than or equal to .02 g/L.
For Commercial Vehicle licensed Drivers, a per se DUI arises with BAC greater than or equal to 0.04g/L.
Is the driver required to submit to field sobriety tests?
. Unless and until the officer informs you that you are being arrested for DUI, field sobriety evaluations are voluntary. This includes the infamous hand-held alcohol Alco-Sensor, screening test (a/k/a Portable Breath Test) which most officers carry and will ask you, “will you blow into the PBT”. DO NOT CONFUSE THE PBT WITH THE INTOXILYZER 5000 BREATH ALCOHOL TESTING INSTRUMENT WHICH IS NOT PORTABLE AND WHICH TYPICALLY IS NOT ADMINISTERED ROADSIDE.
The police officer pulls up to the parked car and hits the blue lights or otherwise indicates the driver is not free to leave without a reasonable articulable suspicion of a crime.
A driver is pulled over based on an uncorroborated tip.
An investigative detention based upon a hunch or a mere suspicion.
A road block stop that is unreasonable under applicable law.
Is the driver required to stop?
Generally, a person has the right to be left alone unless there is a legitimate public safety or national security reason to disturb him. In addition, there are three (3) levels of police-citizen encounter (1) the friendly or consensual; (2) investigative detention; and, (3) arrest. The Fourth Amendment applies only to the last two (2) of these three (3) police-citizen encounters. It is the police power of the state, to protect its citizens and exercise police power for the protection and betterment of its citizens, which gives an Officer the right to patrol the public streets and stop a private citizen driving a vehicle.
In DUI cases, probable cause means there is some evidence of (a) driving and (b) impairment due to alcohol or drugs. Probable cause is not satisfied by a mere traffic accident plus the odor of alcohol. Neither is probable cause satisfied where there is a mere admission of drinking (there must be some evidence of excessive drinking). And finally, in DUI cases, there must be some evidence of real driving impairment by alcohol or drugs. See, Goode 298 Ga. App. 749 (2010); Burke 298 Ga. App. 621 (2010); Damoto 302 Ga. App. 181 (2010); Encinas 302 Ga. App. 334 (2010).
In DUI cases, any evidence seized during an illegal detention (stop) and/or any statement made by the driver during an illegal detention must be suppressed (excluded) from any hearing or trial of the DUI.
. This is commonly referred to as “Implied Consent” under DUI law. Georgia’s Implied Consent statute requires that a person arrested for DUI must submit to a state-administered chemical test when requested to do so by a law enforcement officer acting within the scope of his lawful duties. However, a DUI-defendant is not required to submit to testing if he or she has not been properly informed of his implied consent rights, and generally, the officer must place the driver under arrest prior to giving the implied consent advisement and/or requesting a test.The key here is (a) a valid arrest, and (b) whether the officer complied with Georgia statutory mandate which requires that at the time that the officer requests that the DUI-defendant take a state-administered test, a specific advisement must be read to the defendant. Georgia law no longer requires that the officer read the “exact language”, but rather the implied consent is subject to the officer reading the proper advisement at the right time, allowing a free choice, and facilitating an independent test if requested by the driver.
. Georgia’s Implied Consent law requires the officer to inform the driver that after first submitting to the required state test, the driver is entitled to additional chemical tests of blood, breath, urine or other bodily substances at the driver’s own expense and from qualified personnel of the driver’s own choosing. Just as the State of Georgia has a legal right receive the sample of the driver’s blood, breath or urine, the Georgia driver has a right to an independent test of his blood, breath or urine if so requested. Any failure to reasonably accommodate the driver’s request (or any interference by an officer) in obtaining an independent test will result in suppression (exclusion) of the State’s test results. For example, where the defendant driver was a few dollar’s short of the amount required by the hospital to perform a test, and the officer refused to allow the driver to negotiate another form of payment or telephone relatives to obtain assistance in paying for the test, the Georgia Court of Appeals held that the driver’s right to an independent test had been violated and the State’s test results were suppressed. Similarly, where the officer, 30 minutes after taking the State’s breath test, refused when the defendant requested an independent test, the Court held that the police had violated the defendant’s right to an independent test and the State’s breath test was suppressed.
. A DUI defendant does not have the right to refuse a police-administered test and then afterwards demand a right to an independent test of his or her own choosing. See, Lufburrow v. State, 206 Ga. App. 250 (1992). Subsequent Georgia cases extend this rule to the DUI driver who submits to two (2) breath test attempts, but offers a blood test, after the breath Intoxilyzer 5000 fails to report a proper result. It is important to understand the distinction here. The officer’s unjustified failure or refusal to allow a DUI defendant to exercise his right to an independent test will render the State-administered test inadmissible at the trial. This includes the officer’s refusal to transport the defendant to a hospital of his own choosing for a blood test even where the State did not take blood, and even when a blood test is obtained at another hospital. See, Joel v. State, 245 Ga. App. 750 (2000). Factual disputes over whether the driver actually requested an independent test are common and oftentimes resolved by reviewing the video of the “stop and arrest” (most if not all DUI traffic stops in the State of Georgia are videotaped).
. Generally speaking, the Miranda Warning is not required when an officer conducts preliminary questioning or field sobriety evaluations. McDevitt v. State, 286 Ga. App. 120 (2007). Miranda is invoked when a person is under arrest. As discussed above, whether the driver is under “arrest” is fact-sensitive. The legal question is whether a reasonable person would have believed that he or she was not free to leave. It is an objective test, asking whether the reasonable belief of an ordinary person under such circumstances, and not the subjective belief or intent of the officer, would have believed he or she was permanently in custody. [Georgia courts have held that Miranda Warnings are not required before the officer makes a request that the driver submit to an Alco-Sensor “screening test” since the defendant was not yet in custody.] [Generally speaking, a motorist stopped for a traffic violation is not “in custody” and is therefore not entitled to Miranda Warnings prior to formal arrest.] Again, the test for determining whether the driver is “in custody” after a traffic stop is an objective test to be determined from the position of the driver. Even where the officer believed but did not communicate to the suspect that minor traffic violations could result in an arrest, the officer’s belief was not the test and had no bearing upon whether or not the suspect was in custody. The test is whether a reasonable person in the defendant’s position would have thought that the officer’s detention was permanent and not temporary. For example, a motorist stopped by an off-duty officer, for DUI, and not allowed to leave the scene pending arrival of an on-duty officer was determined to have been under arrest at the scene of the initial stop, and the failure of the officer to provide Miranda Warnings may result in suppression of admissions and conversations between the driver and the off-duty officer. Whether a driver is in “custody” following a traffic stop raises complicated statutory and constitutional questions beyond the scope of this article.
Did you know drivers under age 21 cannot enter a plea of “nolo” to evade the DUI charge?
Did you know drivers under age 21 w/ BAC equal to or greater than 0.02g/L face minimum & mandatory 6-month suspension of driver’s license without a right to a limited permit (a.k.a. “no early reinstatement”)?
Did you know drivers under age 21 w/ BAC equal to or greater than 0.08g/L face minimum & mandatory 12-month suspension of driver’s license without a right to a limited permit?
Did you know drivers under age 21 w/ BAC equal to or greater than 0.02g/L face minimum & mandatory 6-month suspension of driver’s license without a right to a limited permit even if the charges are reduced to “reckless driving”, or if found guilty of underage purchase of alcohol?
If convicted of DUI in the State of Georgia….
If this is your first offense within a ten year period, the following applies:
$300.00 -$1000.00 plus any statutory surcharges.
24 hours minimum; 10 days to 12 months maximum.
The law requires a minimum of 40 hours of community service unless you are under 21 years of age in which case you must do at least 20 hours. The actual time is set by the Court.
For a first offense within a five year period you will lose your license as follows:
If you are 21 or over, your license will be suspended for one year. You will be able to get your license back at the end of 120* days if you have completed an alcohol/drug risk reduction course (DUI school) and paid the appropriate reinstatement fee. During those 120 days, you will be able to get a limited driving permit.
If you are under 21, your license will be revoked for either 6 months (under 0.08 blood alcohol level) or 12 months (0.08 or higher) and no limited permit is allowed.
Different rules if DUI supported by drugs in your system.
You must complete DUI School to have your driver’s license or privilege to drive in Georgia reinstated. Go to the website at
to determine which out of State program will be accepted by Georgia.
If this is your second offense within a ten year period, the following applies:
$600-$1000 plus any statutory surcharges.
90 days to 12 months, all except three (3) days of which may be suspended, stayed, or probated. As with a first DUI within a five year period you must do twelve months probation less any jail time.
The minimum community service is thirty days (240 hours).
If this is your second offense within a five (5) year period you will lose your license as follows: A “second-in-five” DUI ( 2nd DUI in 5 years) means your GA driver’s license will be suspended for three years. The first twelve (12) months is often referred to as “hard” because no limited permit or hardship license will be granted. Ignition interlock limited permit is required for 6 months. Under the current law, for a second or subsequent conviction within a five year period, an ignition interlock device must be installed on all vehicles registered to the offender with limited exception.
Under 21 Years of Age
The “under 21” driver convicted of a “second-in-five” DUI may have their driver’s license reinstated after just one year. However, OCGA Sec. 40-5-63 (See revised Code Section 40-5-57.1 of House Bill 385) may say otherwise. Section 40-5-63 requires an 18 month suspension for second in five DUI convictions.
The license plates of all vehicles registered to the offender will be confiscated. No new plates will be issued to the offender until such time as he/she obtains a limited permit or full reinstatement of driving privileges.
Publication of Your Photo
You have made the paper! Your photograph, name and address, date, time, & place of arrest will be published in your local newspaper. You will be charged $25.00 for this notice.
You must complete DUI School to have your driver’s license or privilege to drive in Georgia reinstated. Go to the website at
to determine which out of State program will be accepted by Georgia.
ALABAMA PENALTIES FOR DUI.
If convicted of DUI in the State of Alabama….
Imprisonment – Up to 1 year in municipal or county jail (no minimum mandatory sentence)
Fine – $500 – $2,000, plus an additional $100 fine assessed for Impaired Drivers Trust Fund (§32-5A-191.1)
Mandatory – 90-day license suspension, DUI school attendance
Imprisonment – 48 consecutive hours, up to 1 year, or not less than 20 days community service
Fine – $1,000 – $5,000, plus an additional $100 fine assessed for Impaired Drivers Trust Fund (§32-5A-191.1)
Mandatory – Not less than 48 hours consecutive imprisonment, or community service of not less than 20 days
DL Revocation – 1 year
THE BOTTOM LINE
- Many drivers arrested for DUI do not seek experienced legal counsel and instead shop for a low-priced fee to take a guilty plea and “move on with lif”, not realizing the life-altering decision they just made. Just because you are arrested for DUI does not mean you are guilty nor does it mean the State of Georgia will not accept a plea to a lesser-invasive offense.
- It is important to recognize some attorneys will represent the accused on nothing more than how to “enter a plea” and minimize the fines, and do so for a low-ball attorney fee. Don’t make this mistake. We think beyond the DUI criminal charges, beyond the fines, and analyze your case to counsel you through the legal maze of DUI.
- More importantly, we combat the charges and hold the arresting officer responsible for making a lawful “stop”, making a lawful “arrest”, proper administration of “road-side tests” and a hosts of other legal challenges to the charge of DUI.
- Driving under the Influence of alcohol or drugs is a crime with serious consequences, and presenting you with understandable options, including dismissal of the charges against you, is our goal!