In Georgia, a DUI (Driving under the influence) is a violation that can damage your reputation, give you a criminal history and affect future job prospects. If convicted of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it can result in negative consequences such as license suspension, a hefty fine, or prison.
If you are arrested with a DUI in Georgia, it’s important to hire a DUI attorney as soon as possible. Choose Banks, Stubbs & McFarland LLP Attorneys at Law as we specialize in criminal law. Phil Pilgrim is an experienced DUI lawyer that will be there for you with results. In the past, Mr. Pilgrim has worked as a prosecutor for many years and has prosecuted over 2,000 DUI cases. When looking for a DUI attorney, Mr. Pilgrim should be your #1 choice.
We are located in Suwanee, but we represent clients in Gwinnett County, Dawson County, Jackson County, Barrow County, and Hall County. We have a credible reputation with a high success rate in defending even the most difficult cases. Our DUI attorneys have the expertise, experience, and knowledge needed to defend your case. Call for a free consultation today!
Two ways to judge whether you have violated DUI laws in Georgia:
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) stipulates three standards for field sobriety tests. All police officers are trained to administer all three of these tests.
One Leg Stand
This is when the police officer will order you to stand on one foot with the other foot held off the ground for 30 seconds. Also, the officer may ask you to count by thousandths until you are told to put your foot down. If there’s any loss of balance or hopping, you can be charged with a DUI.
Walk and Turn Evaluation
The police officer will order you to take nine heel-to-toe steps forward, then turn around, and take nine steps back along a straight line. The officer will watch to see if there are any effects of suspected alcohol or drug influence such as prematurely starting, losing balance, taking fewer or more steps than instructed, stepping off the line, making an improper turn, or stopping while walking. If any of these are seen, you can be charged with a DUI.
Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN)
Another standard field sobriety test used is the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus. The officer will ask you to follow a stimulus with your eyes while he/she looks for an involuntary jerk movement of the eyeballs. This test is partially reliable as some people can have natural nystagmus if they have a concussion or other head or eye conditions. It also can be less reliable if the officer administers the test incorrectly. Our DUI lawyers can help defend your case and use any issues on how these tests are conducted.
In the state of Georgia, you can be charged with a DUI if you are driving while impaired by substances other than alcohol, like illegal drugs, prescription drugs, or even over-the-counter medications like pain relievers, cough syrups, inhalants, or sleep or cold medication. Marijuana or any other controlled substance in your blood or urine can lead to legal prosecution even if the medication is legally prescribed.
You cannot refuse to perform a field sobriety test if you’ve already given consent by handing the police officer your driver’s license. If you refuse to take the test, your license can be suspended for an entire year.
The law has recently changed from DUI’s being considered a misdemeanor in Georgia. If you are charged with four instances in 10 years, it is considered a felony. Additionally, if a DUI results in an accident that causes serious injury or death to another driver/pedestrian, it is considered a felony as well.
DUI offenses are always against the law, however, in Georgia, as in other states, there are a lot of different charges that may be relevant in your case. They are as follows:
“Less Safe” DUI
Unlike other states, Georgia law allows law enforcement to charge you with a DUI offense even when your blood alcohol content (BAC) is below the 0.08 percent legal limit. If the arresting officer can prove the fact that they witnessed you driving unsteadily after consumption of alcohol and/or drugs and revealing impairment during field sobriety testing, they have satisfactory evidence to show that you were unfit to drive your vehicle safely and may charge you with a “Less Safe” DUI.
“Per Se” DUI
If you are pulled over by a police officer and fail the chemical test of your breath, blood or urine having a BAC over the legal limit, you most assuredly will be arrested with a DUI.
Such an arrest carries with it two separate penalties in Georgia: suspension of license and criminal prosecution. Criminal prosecution will be managed by the Georgia criminal court system and the license suspension will be enforced by the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS).
Legal restriction of License suspension happens under the law of “implied consent,” which means anyone who drives has wholly consented to be tested for alcohol and or drug impairment. The outcomes arrived at by the DDS and Georgia’s criminal courts are separate and not being influenced by one or the other.
It’s expected, like other crimes, a DUI is considered more critical when the offense is committed repeatedly. Consequently, the penalties become more severe with longer prison sentences and progressively higher fines for 2nd, 3rd, 4th or more offenses. The following are the penalties for DUI offenses:
When convicted of a DUI, it carries the likelihood of serious penalties that may change your way of life for many months or possible years including employment, education, military service, and numerous background checks. That is why it is extremely important to hire an experienced DUI defense attorney. The team at Banks, Stubbs & McFarland LLP has the expertise, knowledge, and support you need to give you the best legal advice for your case.
Besides the exception to the BAC limit of 0.08% in the cases of the “Less Safe” DUI, there is an additional variation in the BAC limit regarding new drivers. In an effort to protect young drivers from their inclination and shield them from a potentially deadly habit of alcohol abuse while driving at an early age, the “zero” tolerance policy in Georgia set the BAC limit for drivers under 21 to 0.02%.
Also, commercial drivers are required to adhere to a different standard than regular drivers of vehicles. Since commercial drivers are on the road a lot of the time, and they drive heavier, larger vehicles than the average driver, the standard is much stricter. Statistics indicate that truck accidents are increasingly more likely to result in life-altering injuries and death, especially to the passengers and drivers of vehicles involved in these types of accidents. For commercial drivers, the BAC limit in Georgia is 0.04%, which is half of the normal legal limit.
Driving is a privilege that may be restricted or withheld from you, not only as a result of a DUI conviction, but because of a conviction for possessing, distributing, or using marijuana or any other illegal or controlled substance. A significant fact that you should be aware of is that you can be charged with DUI even if you are not driving at the time of arrest. This can happen if you are intoxicated or high and simply sitting behind the wheel of the car; you needn’t be actually driving to be found to be in control of the car. As long as the keys are in your possession, law enforcement may assume that you were driving while impaired, or that you are about to engage in this illegal activity.
Usually, a DUI is considered a misdemeanor, but there are certain situations that can turn your DUI into a felony offense. If you find yourself in this position, you are in a significant amount of trouble and the help of an experienced DUI attorney is extremely important. DUI offenses become felonies when:
Since 2008, “Vehicular homicide” or “serious injury by vehicle” in the 1st degree have been considered felonies in the state of Georgia. Injuries labeled as “serious” are those that determine the victim’s body useless, such as brain damage, serious disfigurement, blindness, paralysis, etc. Other charges that are considered felony charges for DUI offenses are as follows:
Being in an accident with a school bus
Buford is a lively city in the state of Georgia and was founded in 1872. Several of our defendants live in Buford, GA, which is close to Atlanta’s metro area, and they trust using our legal services. The population of Buford has 12,225 residents and an estimated 4,000 households. The city was an original part of the Cherokee territory and settlers began to colonize during the 1860’s. Located north of Gwinnett County and is considered a suburb of North Atlanta. Buford’s climate is subtropical and most often has long, hot summers with high humidity, and the winters are mild and cool. We love what Buford, GA has to offer and enjoy serving our clients in the area such as Downtown Historic, The Mall of Georgia and Lake Lanier.
Being arrested for DUI can be frightening and confusing. Without a skilled legal professional at your side, the experience can be totally overwhelming. If you are arrested for DUI in Buford or the surrounding area, whether for a first offense or for a more complicated legal problem, you will find our services invaluable. Bear in mind that the consequences of your arrest may alter the course of your life.
At Banks, Stubbs & McFarland LLP, we are ready to help to extricate you from difficulties you face. Remember — the longer you wait to consult with us, the longer you remain in legal jeopardy. We are fully prepared to conduct in-depth investigations, confer with experts in related fields who may be helpful to your case, gather all pertinent evidence, interview any and all available witnesses, and construct a workable defense strategy. All you have to do is contact us by phone or by filling out a contact form on our website.
If you or your loved one are facing DUI charges in Gwinnett County, Banks, Stubbs & McFarland LLP can help. We have successfully defended DUI cases throughout Gwinnett County, Forsyth County, Hall County, Barrow County, Jackson County, and Dawson County. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation and learn how we can fight for your rights.
We are located in Suwanee Georgia, but we defend clients throughout Gwinnett County, Forsyth County, Hall County, Barrow County, Jackson County, and Dawson County. Contact our Atlanta law firm as soon as possible to learn how we advocate for your best interests.