If you should ever be arrested for
driving under the influence (DUI), it is likely that a thousand different questions and fears will run through
your mind. Being arrested for any crime can be a terrifying experience,
especially if you have never had a run-in with the law before. To help
you stay in control of your circumstances and provide you with an idea
of what to expect, our firm has put together a short list of DUI basics
that can keep you informed of your situation.
What is a DUI?
According to state law, anyone operating a motor vehicle under the influence
of any substance to the extent that it is “less safe” for
a person to drive can be arrested for DUI. While many people assume that
they can only be arrested for DUI after drinking alcohol, a DUI arrest
can also result from driving under the influence of several prescription
and recreational drugs. This includes substances such as marijuana, cocaine,
oxycodone, Vicodin, ecstasy, and methamphetamine.
What Penalties do I Face?
DUI charges can expose a person to a wide variety of different penalties,
ranging in severity depending on the unique circumstances surrounding
a person’s arrest. In most cases, however, a DUI conviction can
bring the following consequences:
License suspension or revocation
- Jail time
- Community service
- Mandatory alcohol treatment
- Ignition interlock device use
In addition to the legal consequences, a DUI conviction can have a great
impact on a person’s reputation and ability to find work.
Do I Need to Submit to a Chemical Test?
The short answer: Yes. Georgia has an “implied consent” policy
that basically states that upon being issued a driver’s license,
you have already consented to any breath, blood, or urine test that a
police officer may request in the event of a lawful DUI arrest. While
you can refuse to take this test, it can come with serious consequences.
Refusal will automatically result in a one-year driver’s license
refusal, and the prosecution will likely use your refusal as evidence
against you at trial. In most cases, it is best to submit to a chemical
test and contact an attorney as soon as possible.
What Should I Say?
Nothing! If the police attempt to question you after a DUI arrest, it is
best to exercise your Fifth Amendment rights and stay silent. The police
know the law well, and they will likely try to steer the conversation
in a way that will get you to say something incriminatory. Do not give
them the chance! The only person you should discuss your case with is
Do I Need to Hire an Attorney?
Yes. Since a DUI can carry such serious consequences, retaining the services
of an experienced legal team is crucial to reduce your chances of conviction.
Your lawyer can defend your freedom and seek a reduction or dismissal
of your charges by challenging the circumstances of your arrest, such
as questioning whether or not the arresting officer had probable cause
or whether or not you were informed of your rights.