Atlanta DUI Attorney

Representation from a Former Assistant District Attorney

Are you looking for a DUI lawyer who will be dedicated to you, to your case and to seeking the best possible outcome? If so, call the Law Office of Matthew T. McNally and let our firm hear your side of the story. Whether law enforcement made a serious mistake or your charges were hastily brought, it is worth your time to find out if your DUI charges can be reduced or dismissed.

Speak with a skilled Atlanta DUI lawyer from the Law Office of Matthew T. McNally for more information about your legal options. Special financing and payment plans are available. Contact us today!

Georgia DUI Laws & Penalties

Georgia’s laws against drunk driving can be found in § 40-6-391 of the Georgia Code[1]. The statute outlaws driving or being in actual physical control of a moving vehicle while certain factors are present.

The following factors outlaw driving or being in control of a moving vehicle:

  • If a person is under the influence of alcohol, drugs, toxic substances, or any combination thereof to the point that it is unsafe for that person to drive
  • If a person is under the influence of alcohol at or above 0.08% blood alcohol concentration (BAC)
  • If any amount of marijuana or controlled substance is present in a blood or urine test
  • If a person is impaired by the use of even legally-used drugs, such as prescription drugs

The code states that the first and second violations are typically misdemeanors, while a third offense is an aggravated misdemeanor, and a fourth or subsequent offense is a felony.

Penalties that a first-time DUI defendant can face include:

  • Minimum of one day in jail, possibly 10 days in jail to 1 year
  • $300-$1,000 in fines, plus surcharges
  • 40 hours of community service
  • One-year driver's license suspension
  • Mandatory driver's risk reduction course

The judge assigned to your case can elect to add penalties to enhance your sentence if:

  • You committed a second, third, or fourth DUI offense
  • You caused an accident that lead to serious injury, property damage, or death
  • A minor was in the vehicle when you were arrested
  • You were driving without a license or on a suspended license
  • Your BAC level was .15% or higher

Penalties for a Second Conviction within 10 Years:

  • Minimum of 90 days to 12 months’ imprisonment
  • $600-$1,000 fine
  • Minimum 30 days of community service
  • Completion of a Drug or Alcohol Use Risk Reduction Program
  • Clinical evaluation upon completion of substance abuse treatment program
  • 12 months’ probation

Penalties for a Third Conviction within 10 Years:

  • 120 days to 12 months’ imprisonment
  • $1,000 to $5,000 in fines
  • Minimum 30 days of community service
  • Completion of a Drug or Alcohol Use Risk Reduction Program
  • Clinical evaluation upon completion of substance abuse treatment program
  • 12 months’ probation

Penalties for a Fourth or Subsequent Conviction:

  • One to five years’ imprisonment
  • $1,000 to $5,000 fine
  • Minimum 60 days of community service
  • Completion of a Drug or Alcohol Use Risk Reduction Program
  • Clinical evaluation upon completion of substance abuse treatment program
  • 5 years’ probation

License Suspension in Georgia

License suspensions for DUIs are handled by the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS)[2]. You might have your license suspended if you refuse to take a chemical test in conjunction with a DUI arrest.

For driving under the influence, DDS can suspend a driver’s license for the following periods:

  • 12 months – first offense (apply for reinstatement after 120 days)
  • 18 months – second offense
  • 5 years – third offense

A license can be permanently revoked if the driver is declared a habitual violator (three or more offenses within five years). Some drivers may qualify for a Limited Driving Permit if their regular driving privileges have been suspended

Atlanta DUI School

Some drivers convicted of DUI will be required to regularly attend and complete a Drug or Alcohol Use Risk Reduction Program. The DDS has a list of certified DUI schools these individuals can choose from in order to complete this aspect of their sentence[3].

How do DUI Charges Get Dropped?

DUI attorneys use a variety of defense tactics in order to get DUI charges dropped or reduced.

Typically, those tactics center on:

  • Proving that police made a mistake (lacked probable cause, unlawfully detained, failure to read rights, lack of jurisdiction, etc.)
  • Proving that the BAC testing was inaccurate (calling into question the blood, breath, or urine testing methods)

If evidence was obtained unlawfully or if the evidence itself is inaccurate, it cannot be used as evidence to support a conviction.

Probable Cause for DUI Stops

In order to pull someone over, police must have reasonable suspicion that a crime was committed or they must be conducting a lawful DUI checkpoint. Reasonable suspicion is different than probable cause. The former requires less knowledge than the latter, and requires only that the officer have sufficient knowledge to believe a crime or traffic violation was taking place[4]. This means that a driver can be pulled over for speeding but ultimately arrested on suspicion of drunk driving.

Your Rights at a DUI Checkpoint

A driver’s constitutional rights still apply at DUI sobriety checkpoints, meaning that drivers still have the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures[5].

Police must abide by certain criteria in order for DUI checkpoints to be lawful:

  • Having predetermined search criteria
  • Announcing the checkpoint ahead of time

You do not have to consent to a search at a DUI checkpoint, and you do not have to participate in the standardized field sobriety tests (SFSTs). You are only legally bound to submit to breath and blood tests after a lawful arrest.

How DUI Affects Car Insurance

Having a DUI on your record can certainly affect your car insurance premiums. Simply put, they’ll go up after a conviction[6]. This happens because insurance companies see DUI offenders as a higher risk. They are likelier to get into an accident than a non-DUI offender, and so their cost of insurance will be higher. If a driver hopes to regain their driving privileges after DUI suspension, they will have to provide a proof of insurance form (SR-22).

DDS Hearings for Drunk Driving

Drunk driving cases in Georgia have two components: administrative and criminal. The criminal aspect is handled in a regular court and concerns a driver’s guilt or innocence. DDS hearings are specifically concerned with an individual’s driving privileges. Any driver who has their license suspended or revoked has the right to appeal the decision with the DDS[7].

Let an Experienced Atlanta DUI Lawyer Fight for You!

As a former Assistant District Attorney, Mr. McNally has the knowledge and insight into the justice system that has proven to be of great benefit to those facing charges for misdemeanor or felony DUI. What are your chances of beating a DUI charge in Atlanta? The answer lies in the quality and experience of your defense attorney. Having served on the "other side" for many years, Mr. McNally understands the strategies that are effective at trial. As a highly skilled trial lawyer, he carefully plans every detail of the case for the defense, with the objective of getting a favorable outcome.

Matthew McNally is extremely skilled in creating a winning defense, and is ready to speak with you and advise you about how to move forward. If your future freedom and the ability to continue to drive legally are of concern to you, it is time to get in touch with a legal professional who knows how to fight and win.

Call us today for more information about defending against any level of DUI offense. What you do now could make all the difference in the final outcome of your case.

Resources


[1] http://law.justia.com/codes/georgia/2010/title-40/chapter-6/article-15/40-6-391

[2] http://www.dds.ga.gov/drivers/dldata.aspx?con=1744060376&ty=dl

[3] http://www.dds.ga.gov/dui/schoolmatrix.aspx

[4] http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Probable+Cause+and+Reasonable+Suspicion

[5] https://www.flexyourrights.org/faqs/my-rights-at-checkpoints/

[6] https://www.esurance.com/info/car/how-a-dui-affects-car-insurance-premiums

[7] http://www.dds.ga.gov/rules/rules.aspx?chap=375-3-3&rule=375-3-3-.04&head=375-3

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