Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a very serious offense. If you’re facing this charge, your punishment can include up to one year in jail and other implications for both work and life, including an increase in insurance premiums. A DUI conviction results not only an automatic license suspension but also criminal prosecution in the city and/or county where the arrest took place. If you are in Alpharetta and need a lawyer for your DUI case, contact The Freedom Lawyers, DUI lawyers in Alpharetta, Georgia. All of our attorneys are Former DUI Prosecutors. We specialize in defending people charged with DUI-Alcohol, DUI-Drugs, and Boating under the Influence. We’ve handled DUI cases throughout the Atlanta area including Alpharetta and Fulton County.
Whenever you are arrested for DUI in Georgia or Alpharetta, your license is automatically suspended. A suspended license makes it impossible to keep up with life’s responsibilities, but an experienced DUI attorney can help. You have a right to file an appeal of your license suspension within 30 days of your arrest. If you file the appeal, your license is extended until the hearing date.
Prior to the hearing, one of our experienced DUI lawyers will go over your options. One option may be to negotiate with the Officer to lift or dismiss the suspension. If a hearing occurs, we have the chance to cross-examine the arresting officer just like we would at a trial. Our attorneys prepare these cases as if we are going to trial- so we subpoena police reports and video prior to the hearing so we are prepared to cross-examine the officer about any of the State’s weaknesses in your case. In most cases, this examination happens before the police review videotape or evidence. Should the license suspension hearing go well, a lawyer can often win a DUI case going forward.
How DUI Cases and Administrative License Suspensions Differ
The administrative license suspension and the actual criminal case are two separate processes. When you file an appeal of the license suspension, you create a new process with court dates through the Department of Driver Services (DDS). Those usually take place at a local municipal courthouse or the Office of State Administrative hearings in Downtown Atlanta. The criminal court dates will always occur at the local municipality or county court where the arrest occurred. At the License Appeal Hearing, the worst possible outcome is a license suspension. For the criminal case, there is the potential of jail time, probation, and a DUI conviction on your record.
Alpharetta DUI Law
In Alpharetta, Georgia DUI law states that a person shall not drive or being actual physical control of any moving vehicle while under the influence of:
- Alcohol to the extent that it was less safe to drive.
- Any drug to the extent that it’s less safe to drive.
- Glue, aerosol, or other toxic vapor to the extent that is less safe for the person to drive.
- Two or more substances to the extent that it’s less safe for that person to drive.
Additionally, if the police ask for a blood or a breath test and your alcohol concentration is .08 grams or more at any time within three hours of such driving or being an actual visible control from alcohol consumed before the driving began, then it is also a DUI.
In other words, if the police do not have a blood or breath test- they have to prove you were a less safe driver. If they have a blood or breath test, they only have to prove you were over the legal limit.
A DUI also includes if you drive with any marijuana-based substances in your blood or are under the influence of any medication. Even if you have a prescription for a drug, if it causes you to be incapable of driving safely it’s considered a DUI.
Also, every time you get a DUI the punishment gets much worse. The punishment for DUI is written into the law itself.
For a first conviction the person is guilty of a misdemeanor. If it’s the first within 10 years measured from the date of the previous arrest for which convictions were obtained, punishment is:
- No less than $300 or more than $1,000 Fine plus surcharges.
- Imprisonment of not fewer than 10 days or more than 12 months. But a judge suspends or probates all but 24 hours of that term of imprisonment at the judge’s discretion.
- Do no fewer than 40 hours of community service.
- Completed DUI alcohol risk reduction program within 120 days following the conviction.
- Submit to a clinical Alcohol Drug Evaluation and complete any recommended treatment.
For a second conviction within a 10-year period of time for DUI, the punishment is:
- Fines not less than $600, not more than $1000.00 plus court costs and surcharges.
- The person is in prison for not fewer than 90 days, no more than 12 months. But the judge in his discretion can order the offender to serve not fewer than 72 hours of actual incarceration and probate the remainder.
- They complete 30 days of community service or 240 hours.
- The person completes a DUI or alcohol drug risk reduction program within 120 days or 90 days from his or her release from custody.
- Person submits to a clinical Alcohol Drug Evaluation to comply with any recommended treatment.
- Person placed on probation for 12 months minus any days actually incarcerated.
For a third conviction within a 10-year period of time as measured from the date of previous arrests, which convictions were obtained, punishment is:
- A fine not less than $1000.00 and no more than $5,000.00.
- Mandatory period of imprisonment not fewer than 120 days no more than 12 months. The offender serves not fewer than 15 days of actual incarceration at the judge’s discretion.
- Do no fewer than 30 days or 240 hours of community service.
- Completed DUI alcohol risk reduction program within 120 days following the conviction or within 90 days of their release from custody.
- Complete a clinical Alcohol Drug Evaluation and complete any recommended treatment.
- Period of probation 12 months less any days during which the person was actually incarcerated.
For a fourth or subsequent conviction within a 10-year period of time as measured from the previous dates of arrest for which convictions were obtained, your case is a Felony. Punishment is:
- A fine not less than $1000.00 and no more than $5000.00.
- Imprisonment not less than one year no more than five years, all but 90 days of the imprisonment probated at the judge’s discretion.
- No less than 60 days of community service or 1,440 hours.
- Completion of a DUI risk reduction class within 120 days or 90 days within release.
- Complete Alcohol Drug Evaluation and comply with any recommended treatment.
- A period of probation five years minus any days actually imprisoned.
DUI Per Se – Alcohol
A DUI per se occurs when a person accused of DUI takes a blood or breath or urine test and comes back at a level of 0.08 grams or more. This amount can be enough to be found guilty by a jury. However, there are ways to get a blood test ruled out or win your case. A blood or breath test can’t be used against you if:
- An officer reads the implied consent warning incorrectly
- You are arrested in the wrong order
- The officer delays reading you the implied consent
Blood can’t be used against you if it isn’t preserved pursuant to the proper chain of custody. It can’t be used against you if it isn’t sealed and then tested at the lab. In addition, results can’t be used if the witnesses aren’t available for any aspect of the blood collection.
If you face a DUI charge in Alpharetta, having an experienced attorney can help improve the chances that you win your case. All of our attorneys are former Fulton County Georgia DUI Prosecutors. We understand how the State will attack you to try and convict you of a DUI. Our law firm has represented clients at trials ranging from DUIs to serious felonies such as armed robberies and murders. We are the best choice to handle your DUI case. Call The Freedom Lawyers today.
Alpharetta DUI Refusal
If the state requests that you take a breath, blood, or urine test, it’s advantageous to refuse. TheSupreme Court of Georgia ruled that for breath and urine tests, your refusal can’t be used against you at a trial. This means that refusing a state test reduces the likelihood that there will be enough evidence to prove a DUI case against you.
For blood tests, however, these rules don’t apply. If a blood test shows .08 grams or more of alcohol, you are considered DUI per se. The law in Georgia states that a .08 blood alcohol concentration or more is enough to find you guilty of a DUI. However, you can refuse the test. All the tests the police ask you to complete are voluntary. A DUI attorney that understands the law can help get a blood test ruled out or declared inadmissible- which means the State and the Police can’t use it against you.
You only want an experienced DUI specialist working on your DUI case. Contact The Freedom Lawyers for a free consultation on your Alpharetta DUI case.
DUI Less Safe
A DUI less safe is charged when an officer doesn’t have a blood or breath test in their investigation. To prove this charge, they need to prove you are a less safe driver because you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The Officer’s are trained to follow a three-step process in a DUI investigation. Those steps are:
- Vehicle in motion or some type of traffic offense.
- Personal contact with you – what do they see, smell, and hear when they arrive at the window.
- The field sobriety evaluations.
Phase 1 – Vehicle in Motion
Committing a traffic offense or having some type of equipment/lighting violation is enough for an officer to stop you. Once you’re stopped, an officer can ask for your license and registration to prove you aren’t a danger and don’t have any pending criminal warrants. The best way to prevent this is to avoid being pulled over. This includes ensuring your headlights and taillights are on and working, and that your tag lights work. Reducing the amount of distractions reduces the risk of potential violations. If you don’t have a traffic or equipment violation, you can’t be stopped by police.
If you are pulled over, an officer will ask for your license, insurance, and identification. You can be asked to exit your vehicle should an officer detect the smell of alcohol, or if they believe you have drugs or alcohol in your car. You have the right to refuse to answer any other questions.
You have a right to refuse any test and not answer any questions an officer has. The goal of most of the questions is to get information to use against you in your Alpharetta DUI case. If you decline to answer any questions the Officer and the State are left with minimal evidence. This will help you succeed in your case.
Any test or interaction with the police is recorded on camera. When a test is refused, the only evidence the police will have are the words and answers given to the officer. Our attorneys use their recording footage against them to highlight key issues. In addition, we use the video to show what the Officers are trained to do, and how they failed to follow their training in each and every situation. This helps build trust with a jury while hurting the trust they have for the Officer. The more they ignore what their training requires, the more likely we are to win your case.
Field Sobriety Evaluations
There are three field sobriety evaluations that officers use in testing. Each has multiple specific steps that the officers are trained to complete. Should an officer not comply with these steps, it hurts the credibility of their entire investigation.
The HGN, or Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, is an eye test. The Officer’s ask the participant to focus their eyes on some sort of stimulus- usually a pen light- and ask them to follow it with their eyes and eyes only. Their goal is to put your eyes under stress.
When a person is under the influence of alcohol, their muscles relax. The first muscles to relax are small muscles like those that control your eyes. How the HGN test works is that when a person has a certain amount of alcohol in their system and their eyes are put under stress, the eyes will jerk or vibrate involuntarily. The more alcohol in someone’s system, the more their eyes will vibrate.
This test is considered scientific and must be done exactly right. There are numerous steps in this test, so the Officers often make mistakes. If mistakes are made, the results of the test can’t be used and it impacts their ability to convict you in a trial. That is why it is so important to have a DUI attorney who understands the HGN test, the requirements of the test, and what the State has to show to be able to use the results of the test against you. An experienced DUI attorney can mean the difference between allowing the HGN test into evidence and stopping the State from even mentioning the test during your case. That can often mean the difference between a DUI conviction and a not guilty verdict.
Walk and Turn and One Leg Stand
The other tests are the Walk and Turn or Walk the Line test, and the One Leg Stand. These are considered divided attention and dexterity tests. They aren’t as scientific as an HGN test, primarily because they depend on balance. The Police are also trying to determine if a person can follow complex directions. During these tests an officer may not give correct or complete directions. By not doing so, it undercuts the investigation and has a negative impact on their credibility.
Our attorneys understand each of these tests and can use it against officers and the State as needed. We fight and win cases where mistakes are made during these tests all the time. Make the right choice. Hire The Freedom Lawyers as your Alpharetta DUI Attorney.
Alpharetta DUI Over 21
You have certain rights when you are charged with a DUI. You have a right to:
- Refuse any testing.
- Decline a breath test.
- Turn down a blood test.
- Refuse a urine test.
- Fair Treatment.
- Have officers comply with their training.
- Receive implied consent correctly.
- Medical treatment and evaluation after a crash.
- Not answer any questions not related to your license, insurance, and identity.
- Not take any Field Sobriety Evaluations
- Due process in the DUI arrest
- If they take a test, an independent test from a physician of their choosing (from a neighboring county).
You do not have a right to refuse an Officer’s request to see your license. You also must get out of the car if they ask. However, each time you exert and communicate your rights above, an officer has the opportunity to make a mistake. These errors can mean the difference between winning a DUI case or a not guilty verdict. The Freedom Lawyers specialized in fighting these cases, and help you understand the rights you have. We fight and we fight to win for you.
Alpharetta DUI with a CDL License
DUI charges are different for drivers of commercial vehicles. For them, their blood alcohol concentration cannot be more than 0.04 grams to be charged with DUI. That means the legal limit for a CDL driver is half of what a normal person over the age of 21 is allowed to have. Drivers convicted face punishments similar to someone convicted of DUI Less Safe or DUI Per Se. In addition, a DUI offense may mean permanent loss of their CDL License. For these drivers, the potential consequences are great, so it helps to have a qualified DUI attorney for your case. The Freedom Lawyers will work with you to win your case and obtain a not guilty verdict at trial.
DUI under 21
If you are under the age of 21 in Alpharetta and have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.02 grams or more, you face a DUI charge. People under 21 and arrested for DUI are ineligible for a limited driver’s permit and face a full suspension of their license. These restrictions stay in place until they expire, or you turn 21 years of age. There are cases where the resolution can be delayed to a point where the conviction will not suspend your license. An attorney experienced in fighting DUI cases for people under 21 can make all the difference.
People charged with DUI under 21 have the same rights as those over 21 – they aren’t lost due to age. Officers can’t treat you differently because you are under 21. Having an experienced DUI lawyer can help you fight and win your case. Contact The Freedom Lawyers for a free consultation with an Under 21 Alpharetta DUI Lawyer.
Child Endangerment by DUI
If a person charged with a DUI has a child in the vehicle, it results in the separate offense of child endangerment. This charge also comes with a completely separate punishment; it cannot be merged or combined with another charge. A person receiving a conviction of DUI with child endangerment faces punishment of:
- A fine not more than $1,000.
- Prison time of no more than 12 months or both.
Alpharetta DUI Lawyer Specialist
A DUI conviction can have serious consequences. It’s important to have a lawyer on your side that is experienced in these cases as well as investigative techniques. It is also important to have an Alpharetta DUI Attorney that is familiar with both Alpharetta and Fulton County. At The Freedom Lawyers, our attorneys are former Fulton DUI prosecutors, and we go to annual training to get updates on procedures the officers are trained to follow.
Whether you are in Alpharetta, another Georgia city, or anywhere in the country, DUI testing is standardized. The officers are trained in the exact same way to perform the test and have to pass special training to be qualified to administer the test. Any deviation or mistake has an impact on the accuracy of a DUI test. We use the manual from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to highlight these errors. Our knowledge helps us win your case. Contact The Freedom Lawyers for a free evaluation of your need for an Alpharetta DUI Attorney.