DUI Defense A Defense You Can Trust

Atlanta DUI Lawyer

Defending Clients Charged With Driving Under The Influence in Georgia

Are you looking for an Atlanta DUI attorney dedicated to you, to your case, and to seek the most favorable possible outcome? Call the Law Office of Matthew T. McNally and let our firm hear your story. Whether law enforcement made a severe mistake or your charges were hastily brought, it is worth your time to determine if your DUI charges can be reduced or dismissed.

DUI Laws in Georgia

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

Factors that 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

Georgia DUI Penalties

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

  • Minimum of one day in jail, possibly ten 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 led 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

Second DUI Conviction within 10 Years

The penalties for a second DUI conviction in Georgia include:

  • 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 a substance abuse treatment program
  • 12 months probation

Third DUI Conviction within 10 Years

The penalties for a third DUI conviction in Georgia include:

  • 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 a substance abuse treatment program
  • 12 months probation

Fourth DUI Conviction

The penalties for a fourth DUI conviction in Georgia include:

  • 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 a substance abuse treatment program
  • 5 years probation

Is a DUI a Felony or a Misdemeanor in Georgia?

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

Have you been charged with a DUI in Georgia? Call the Law Office of Matthew T. McNally today at (678) 918-4421 or contact us online to schedule a meeting with our Atlanta DUI attorney!

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  • Has spent thousands of hours in court advocating for clients.

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License Suspension in Georgia

License suspensions for DUIs are handled by the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS). 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 to complete this aspect of their sentence.

How to Get DUI Charges Dropped

DUI attorneys use a variety of defense tactics 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.

What is Probable Cause for a DUI Stop?

To pull someone over, police must have reasonable suspicion that a crime was committed, or they must be conducting a lawful DUI checkpoint. Reasonable doubt is different than probable cause. The former requires less knowledge than the latter and requires only the officer can believe a crime or traffic violation was occurring. This means you can be pulled over for speeding but ultimately arrested on suspicion of drunk driving.

What Are 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.

Police must abide by certain criteria 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.

Do I Need to Submit to a Chemical Test?

The short answer: Yes. Georgia has an “implied consent” policy that 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 have 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 Atlanta DUI 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 your lawyer.

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 Atlanta DUI 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.

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. This happens because insurance companies see DUI offenders as a higher risk. They are more likely 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 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.

Contact Our DUI Lawyer Today

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 a 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 to secure a favorable outcome.

Matthew McNally is extremely skilled in creating a winning defense and is ready to speak with you and advise you about moving 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. What you do now could make all the difference in the final outcome of your case.

Contact the Law Office of Matthew T. McNally today to schedule a FREE consultation with our DUI lawyer in Atlanta!