Common DUI Myths
Nearly 400 Georgia residents die each year in alcohol-impaired driving incidents. Georgia has still penalties for these crimes and an arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol can change your life in an instant. With the right criminal defense attorney, however, a DUI charge is something you can fight. There are many myths and misunderstandings surrounding DUI laws in Georgia. Most people settle for what they think they know and accept the myth that a DUI charge is a done deal and not worth fighting for. When facing a DUI charge, it is imperative to know your real rights and understand the real consequences of a conviction.
At Kyle. H. Jarzmik Law, I represent clients who face DUI, drunk driving, or field sobriety-related charges in Atlanta, Georgia. Having worked previously as a prosecutor for federal drug, fraud, and white-color crimes, I understand how prosecutors think and what makes them tick. This gives me insight as a criminal defense lawyer to strategize and prepare your defense.
At my firm, I also serve clients throughout the state of Georgia, including Fulton County, Cobb County, Dekalb County, Gwinnett County, Forsyth County, Douglas County, Coweta County, Carroll County, Lawrenceville, and Cumming.
DUI Charges in Georgia
In Georgia, there are two ways a driver can be in violation of driving under the influence (DUI) laws.
DUI Less Safe — An officer determines you are under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs to the extent you are a less safe driver.
DUI “Per Se” — Your chemical test (blood, or breath) shows a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or greater, or the presence of drugs in your blood.
“Under the Influence”
You can be in violation of DUI laws if you are considered “under the influence.” Here, the District Attorney would need to prove you were driving after having consumed alcohol or drugs — or a combination — and you were not able to drive your vehicle safely. You can also be found guilty of a DUI even if your blood alcohol content is less than 0.08%, as your driving and/or field sobriety tests may show you are mentally or physically impaired.
DUI “Per Se”
The second way a driver can violate the DUI law is if his or her BAC is 0.08% or greater. When that happens, it gives rise to a legal phrase called “rebuttable presumption.” In short, if your BAC is 0.08% or greater, it strengthens the case against you.
Potential DUI Consequences
When you are arrested for DUI in Georgia, you will need to deal with your criminal case and a license suspension. Georgia courts impose criminal penalties including:
Mandatory Community Service
Remember, the greater your BAC, the more severe the penalties the court may impose. Multiple convictions can also result in harsher consequences. Listed below are general sentencing penalties when facing a DUI conviction:
1st Offense: Up to one year in jail, a fine of $300-$1,000, up to one year of license suspension, 40 hours of community service, probation, a DUI Risk Reduction course, a Drug & Alcohol Evaluation, and any recommended treatment.
2nd Offense in 10 years: Up to one year in jail (minimum 3 days), a fine of $600-$1,000, up to three years of license suspension, 240 hours of community service, probation, a mandatory DUI Risk Reduction course, and substance abuse evaluation and treatment, and possibly an ignition interlock device to drive. You will also have to surrender the tag to vehicles owned for a period of time and the conviction will be published in the publication of record for the county in which the case was resolved.
3rd Offense in 10 years: Up to one year in jail (minimum 15 days), a fine of $1,000-$5,000, a possible Habitual Violator 5-year license suspension, 240 hours community service, probation, a mandatory DUI Risk Reduction course and substance abuse treatment, and possible ignition interlock device
4th Offense in 10 years: Felony criminal record, one to five years in state prison, up to a $5,000 fine
Common Myths & Facts About DUI Charges
There are a number of common misconceptions about DUI charges, including:
A DUI Charge Isn’t Worth Fighting
Just because you were charged with driving under the influence does not necessarily mean you will be convicted. With the help of a skilled criminal defense attorney, you still have a chance to avoid a conviction by fighting the charges.
A DUI Charge Is So Common It Isn’t Serious
Actually, it is serious. A DUI conviction could result in the suspension of your driver’s license, not to mention the hefty fees and fines. In some cases, people who get arrested for drunk driving are sentenced to jail. A conviction for a DUI is associated with many life-changing consequences, which is why you should not downplay the seriousness of impaired driving charges.
You Can’t Be Arrested for a DUI If You Aren’t Driving
Yes, you can. A driver can face DUI charges in Georgia for being in actual physical control of a vehicle. This means you could be arrested for drunk driving for merely sitting behind the wheel with the keys in the ignition — even if the vehicle is not moving.
You Must Submit to a Field Sobriety Test
The truth is that you do not have to participate in the field sobriety test. These tests may lead to false positives and can be unreliable. However, by choosing to not participate, you will most likely be arrested.
A DUI Falls Off of Your Record After Seven Years
This is completely false. A DUI conviction stays on your Georgia criminal history file for life. After seven years, a private individual cannot see driving offenses, but it will remain on your criminal record. And a prosecutor will have access to your entire driving record and criminal record.
Contact a Skilled DUI Defense Attorney in Atlanta, Georgia
Being pulled over by the police is always a scary and overwhelming experience, especially if the police suspect you of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Countless people do not even try to fight their case because they believe there is no hope. At Kyle H. Jarzmik Law, I represent individuals in cases involving DUI law. I will do my best to investigate, negotiate, and argue your case. Not every situation is hopeless. Contact my office today to take the first step and discuss your options.
I serve clients in Atlanta and throughout Fulton County, Cobb County, Dekalb County, Gwinnett County, Forsyth County, Douglas County, Coweta County, Carroll County, Lawrenceville, and Cumming, Georgia.