Know the penalties for DUI in Gwinnett County, Forsyth County, Hall County, Barrow County, Jackson County, and Dawson County.
The crime of driving under the influence (“DUI”), commonly referred to as a DUI or DWI (driving while impaired), is a serious offense in Georgia. Prosecutors and lawmakers take a harsh stance against driving under the influence because they view the potential injury that a drunk driver can cause to an innocent party to be a significant societal concern.
There are even different levels of DUIs and the penalties that are enforced take this into consideration as well.
As a result, being convicted of DUI carries harsh penalties that have life-altering consequences. Additionally, there are several ranges of DUI charges that carry different levels of penalties.
Due to the complexity in the specific DUI charge that can be brought for certain circumstances, having an attorney that is knowledgeable and highly experienced in defending DUI charges can be the difference between an acquittal and serving time in prison.
At the Law Office of Banks, Stubbs & McFarland LLP, our DUI lawyers have decades of collective experience in successfully defending those in Northern Atlanta and the surrounding areas from aggressive DUI prosecution. In fact, one of our attorneys has personally prosecuted hundreds if not thousands of DUI cases, so he understands the complexities that go into a successful DUI defense.
We stand behind the principle that you are innocent until proven guilty, and will utilize our exceptional experience in criminal defense to protect you. If you have a DUI arrest, please contact our offices as soon as possible to schedule a free consultation. The sooner we speak with you, the sooner we can work to protect you and possibly avoid a DUI conviction.
Georgia has recently adopted what is known as the 30-Day Rule. The 30-Day Rule states if you have been pulled over for suspected DUI and you refused to take a field sobriety test, the officer must initiate an administrative suspension of your license.
After that, you have 30 days to file an administrative appeal to the Georgia Department of Driver’s Services from being officially charged with DUI. Failure to penalties for the administrative appeal will result in a suspension of your driver’s license for up to one year – even if your criminal DUI charges haven’t been resolved.
There are a few important aspects to consider regarding the 30-Day Rule. First, the thirty days are calendar days which include weekends and holidays. Second, to appeal, a letter including your name, address, driver’s license, and the specifics of the charge must be mailed to the Georgia Department of Driver’s Services accompanied by a check for $150. Third, after receipt of your 30-Day Rule appeal letter, an administrative hearing will be scheduled where evidence will be presented against you to attempt to show that you committed a DUI.
During this hearing, you will have the opportunity to testify, present evidence, and cross-examine the State’s witnesses. Upon completion of the administrative hearing, the administrative judge will determine whether you should be subjected to a license suspension.
Lastly, this hearing and the resulting penalty (if there is one) is administrative rather than criminal, meaning you are not entitled to a jury, and standards of proof differ.
Submitting the 30-Day Rule appeal letter and conducting proceedings in the courtroom is complex with dire consequences, which is why you’re allowed to retain a criminal defense attorney to represent you.
At the Law Office of Banks, Stubbs & McFarland LLP, we utilize our experience to timely draft and send the appeal letter and represent you in the administrative court proceedings to protect your ability to drive. Retaining an attorney can be the difference between retaining your driver’s license and not being able to drive to work.
In addition to potential license suspension under the 30-Day Rule, you will be subjected to criminal penalties if you are convicted of DUI in Georgia. Criminal penalties for DUI depend upon the specific circumstances surrounding the arrest and any prior criminal history that you have:
For a first offense, you will face the following penalties if convicted:
Georgia law deems a fourth DUI offense within five years to be a felony. A felony DUI includes the penalties of a third offense except for a minimum of one year but a maximum of five years imprisonment, and a minimum of five years license suspension.
The specific circumstances of your DUI may be considered aggravating circumstances and cause increased or different penalties, such as being under 21 years of age or having a high blood alcohol content (“BAC”) such as 0.24% (three times the legal limit). The court will consider the circumstances of your DUI when assessing specific penalties, which is why having a criminal defense attorney who is familiar with the judge and highly experienced in court is essential to avoid Georgia’s severe penalties for DUI.
With decades of experience, including time working as a prosecutor, the attorneys at the Law Office of Banks, Stubbs & McFarland LLP have the experience and skillset you need to protect you from both administrative and criminal penalties. If you’ve been arrested for DUI or formally charged, please contact our offices as soon as possible to schedule a free consultation.