While the legal toll of a DUI charge is considerable, the emotional toll can be just as devastating. When you’re arrested for DUI, you have to process the confusion and shock of the initial arrest, the fear of what it might do to your future and the shame of being thrown into a jail cell.
After the arrest, you have two options. You can either succumb to the hopelessness of putting yourself at the prosecutor’s mercy, hoping that they will be lenient. Or you can take charge of your own future and find the will to fight back.
The first step in taking charge is finding the right attorney to defend you, one that knows how to beat the prosecution on their home turf and understands the wealth of options and rights you have. If this is your first DUI, you doubtlessly have a lot of questions. Below are a few that we at Busbee Law Group have fielded from our clients as we’ve helped them take back control of their lives and rights.
What Is the Legal Limit for DUI In Georgia?
The legal limit is a measure of your blood alcohol content (BAC) which will be taken at the time of your arrest either through breath, blood or urine. If your BAC is found at or above these levels, you can be charged with DUI per se.
- For all drivers over the age of 21, the current BAC limit is .08%.
- For those who hold a commercial driver’s license (CDL), this limit drops to .04%.
- Drivers who are under the legal drinking age of 21 years are held to a maximum of .02% under the state’s zero-tolerance law.
What Happens Above or Below Those Limits?
As stated, the limit varies depending on your age and license. Regardless, if you are tested and found to have a BAC of .15% or higher, you can expect greater penalties. Even if your BAC is below the maximum for your age or license status, you can still be charged with “DUI Less Safe,” meaning the officer still felt you were too impaired to drive.
Can I Refuse Any of The Tests?
You have a legal right to refuse tests of your breath, blood or urine, but understand that there may be consequences later. The first is that, under state laws regarding “implied consent”, refusing the test results in a suspension of your Georgia driver’s license for a minimum period of one year. See the breakout below for more information on implied consent. In addition, your refusal to be tested can be used as evidence against you in a trial.
Another common tool used by law enforcement at the time of the initial stop is a field sobriety test. Agreeing to this test does not help your case, and there are no repercussions for refusing the test. If you pass the test, they can still charge you. If you fail the test, that can be used against you. So it’s advantageous to decline this test.
Implied Consent Explained
Under Georgia law, any person who operates a motor vehicle implicitly agrees to be tested for drugs or alcohol if police feel there is enough signs of intoxication. These tests can be administered during the traffic stop or soon after, and may involve chemical testing of blood, breath or urine. This statute goes into effect as soon as you apply for a Georgia driver’s license.
Fighting the DUI Charges Against You
You are not helpless in the fight against the charges against you. At The Busbee Law Group, we’ve handled numerous DUI cases just like yours and we have helped clients win time and time again. There are several steps we can take and strategies we can use to get your charges potentially dismissed or reduced to regain your freedom.
Step one: Appealing Your Driver’s License Suspension
As mentioned earlier, regardless of the criminal case against you, a charge of DUI does carry with it a one-year or longer suspension of your driver’s license. The first step is to appeal this suspension, which must take place within 30 days of the arrest. Our attorneys will need to quickly file paperwork on your behalf in order to attend this hearing and try and prevent your license from being suspended.
Besides restoring your ability to drive and provide for yourself and your family, this hearing allows your attorney the chance to put the arresting officer on the witness stand where they must testify under oath. It also allows us a preview of the evidence against you, which will help immensely during the criminal trial.
Ways To Contest Your DUI Charges in Georgia
As soon as you retain our services, our attorneys begin digging into your case, the evidence against you, and the particulars of the prosecution’s case. Armed with this knowledge, pulled from police reports, bodycam footage and witness testimony, we can begin fighting your charges using a variety of methods.
- Challenging the initial stop: This is where we can cast doubts about the results of any field sobriety tests, breath test results or blood or urine test results. We can also raise any errors that may have been made in terms of following proper procedures and protocols.
- Challenging the BAC results: Most people take for granted the fact that law enforcement officers are not scientists. Even if they were trained to use the equipment used to test your sobriety (which is not always the case), they were not trained to properly interpret its results. This junk science allows them to skew results to fit their needs. Challenging this means questioning whether the machine was properly calibrated, whether data was handled properly, or if there were other causes or conditions that would skew the results like acid reflux or other health problems.
- Challenging field sobriety test results: The standard field sobriety test undertaken by Georgia law enforcement are its own kind of junk science, basically designed for failure. There are no standardized results or average scores that indicate whether you are “sober,” so there is a tremendous amount of interpretation at play. In addition, several mitigating factors can affect the results – the slope of the roadside, the lighting conditions, weight, medical conditions, and physical fitness – making these tests entirely subjective and unscientific.
- Challenging the arresting officer’s judgment: The officer’s own biases can affect the tests above, but they play a huge role in the impairment observations they make at the time of the arrest. A police officer might notice your bloodshot eyes, not knowing you’d just left a long shift at work or had allergies. They might note your slurred speech, but if they’ve never heard your normal tone they can’t really make an educated judgment. They might say you were off balance, not knowing your overall fitness level. One popular observation, a red or “flushed” face can be entirely the result of your natural complexion. All of these observations can be challenged.
We Can Help You
At The Busbee Law Group, we keep our caseloads low so that every client gets the full advantage of our thorough approach. We want you to succeed, so we will be better prepared than the opposing side and tell a more convincing story to a judge or jury to achieve your freedom. We will devote all of our resources to seeing that your charges are potentially reduced or dismissed.
Schedule a free, confidential consultation online to take back control of your power and possibilities.