COLUMBUS GA DUI LAWYER - COLUMBUS GA DUI ATTORNEY
If you have been charged with DUI in Columbus GA , you probably feel scared, confused, and a little overwhelmed. These are all normal feelings, especially since Georgia's DUI laws are stringent, and the punishments are severe. We understand that you are likely concerned with whether you will spend time in jail or lose your license. Our Columbus GA DUI Lawyers are dedicated to helping you through this difficult time.
30 Day Warning
You only have 30 days after your DUI arrest to protect your driver's license from being suspended. To prevent the suspension, you must either file a letter requesting an Administrative License Suspension (ALS) hearing or install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. Both of these approaches should be discussed with a Columbus GA DUI Attorney before you make a decision. However, if you have been charged with refusing the blood, breath, or urine test, your license will be suspended for one year. To protect your Georgia' driver's license, call us now.
What Happens After a DUI Arrest in Columbus GA?
While the laws and statutes surrounding DUI are the same throughout Georgia, the court procedures differ by county to county, city to city, and even court. Fulton County handles cases differently than Muscogee County. It is critical that you understand the DUI process in order to be successful and furthermore, hire a DUI attorney that actively practices in that area.
The DUI Arrest
If you were arrested within the city limits of Columbus GA, then your case will proceed to Columbus Recorder's Court. Your case will be scheduled for a hearing immediately after being arrested. If you make bond, your case will get bound over to Muscogee County State Court and you will not have to appear for your hearing in Columbus Recorder's Court. However, if you do not make bond and are still in custody, you will be brought over to Recorder's Court to determine whether your bond should be adjusted. At this point, you can request a committal hearing as well.
After the DUI arrest, you only have 30 days to request an Administrative License Suspension (ALS) hearing. A failure to request this hearing will result in your license being suspended on the 46th day. If you request the hearing, then you will receive notice of a court date. Your DUI lawyer in Columbus GA will handle this hearing for you. You are not required to attend. At this hearing, your attorney will meet with the arresting officer to try and resolve the issue of your license suspension.
The next step in the court process is for your attorney to file motions and have hearings on these motions. This is a very important of your DUI case. After investigating all the evidence in your case, your DUI Lawyer in Columbus GA may find that the evidence in your case was not collected lawfully. Your lawyer can file a motion to suppress the improperly seized evidence. There are multiple motions that your lawyer can file on your behalf. If the judge rules in favor of the motion, then the exclusion of evidence can lead to the State dismissing or reducing your DUI charge.
To resolve your DUI case, there are two basic options. The first one is to work out a plea bargain with the prosecutor. The second option is to contest the charges with a trial. Every DUI case is different, and you must work with your Columbus GA DUI lawyers to determine which option is best for your case. We have decades of experience reaching a plea bargain as well as litigating a case.
We will carefully walk you through your options to make you make an informed decision about your case! Whether to take your case to trial or to enter a plea is the most important decision in your case. Do not take it lightly and discuss your situation with one of the best DUI attorneys in Georgia.
If you have been convicted of a DUI in Georgia, you do have the option to appeal the conviction. However, Georgia law requires that you begin this process within 30 days of your conviction by filing either a motion for new trial or a notice of appeal. There are many ways to challenge your conviction, and our Columbus DUI Attorneys are ready to help you get your conviction reversed. However, it is important to note that if you pled guilty to DUI, your ability to appeal the conviction is limited.
DUI Penalties in Columbus GA
The penalties for even a first DUI conviction can be severe and have life-altering consequences.
- Possible jail time up to one year
- Fine of $300 minimum, up to $1,000
- License suspension of up to one year
- 40 hours of community service, minimum mandatory
Second Offense Within Five Years Of First Offense
- Minimum mandatory 48 hours in jail, possible 90 days to one year
- Fine of $600 minimum, up to $1,000
- License suspension of three years
- Minimum 30 days community service
- $210 set license reinstatement fee
- A mandatory clinical evaluation and, if indicated, completion of a substance abuse
- treatment program at the offender's expense
Third Offense Within Five Years Of Second Offense
- Minimum mandatory 15 days jail time
- Fine of $1,000 minimum, up to $5,000
- License revocation for five years
- Minimum mandatory 30 days community service
- Violator's name, photo, and address published in local newspaper at violator's expense
- Declared as habitual violator, the license plate for his/her vehicle will be seized by the sent to the court and forwarded to the Department of Motor Vehicle Safety
- Face a mandatory clinical evaluation and, if indicated, completion of substance abuse treatment program at the offender's expense
The additional consequences of a DUI go far beyond what the State of Georgia can impose. Depending on a person's job, it is possible for their employment to be terminated. Those with Commercial Driver's Licenses (CDL) almost always lose their jobs due to the nature of their profession. People working in professions such as doctors, nurses, airline pilots, or other organizations that value a workforce with high character are also at risk of losing employment. Contact The Law Offices of Richard S. Lawson today to speak with a DUI Lawyer in Columbus GA if you hold a CDL and are in danger of losing your job.
Losing your driving privilege can have a significant impact on your life, making it difficult to meet household obligations. Even when your driver's license is finally reinstated, auto insurance premiums can skyrocket in the aftermath of a DUI conviction.
A DUI conviction stays on your record forever, and unfortunately, it can feel like the personal, financial, and professional consequences of a DUI conviction lasts just as long. Choosing an experienced DUI Lawyer in Columbus GA can help lessen the effects of a DUI conviction, but you won't know until you make that call!
Building Your Columbus GA DUI Defense
Successful DUI defense combines knowledge, experience, negotiation skills, and advocacy from your Columbus GA DUI attorney. While every case is different and results cannot be guaranteed, many of our clients have had their DUI charges dismissed, reduced, had jail time modified to community service, and more.
Our founder, attorney Richard Lawson, formerly served as a prosecutor but has spent more than 25 years defending those charged with DUI. Because of his experience as a prosecutor, he is able to bring an incredible and rare perspective and knowledge to each case.
Our Columbus GA DUI Lawyers will handle your case from start to finish on both the criminal and DDS fronts. It is critical to get an attorney involved immediately in your defense because many opportunities can be waived by failing to meet tight deadlines. Meeting these deadlines can mean the difference between keeping your license or losing it.
Our DUI Attorneys in Columbus GA will consider all avenues when defending your case. We will thoroughly examine all the evidence, interview witnesses, obtain police reports, and more to make sure we get the full picture. Once they understand the circumstances surrounding your arrest, we will begin to build your defense. Some of the issues we will look at include:
- the adequacy of the stop
- whether the procedure for implied consent was followed
- whether a lawful arrest occurred
- if proper procedure for the breath or blood test was conducted
- the chain of command for the testing
- the maintenance log for the breathalyzer test
If there is a defense that applies to your case, we will find it and collect the evidence to support it. We care about your future and will work with you to achieve the goals for your case.
Frequently Asked Questions about DUI in Columbus
Is DUI a misdemeanor or a felony?
Most DUI charges are misdemeanor charges. However, there are some situations where a DUI can be charged as a felony. In either case, a DUI charge can have a significant impact on your future.
Can I refuse the Breathalyzer?
The roadside Alco-Sensor test is voluntary and you should not participate. However, if an officer reads you the implied consent notice and asks you to submit to the State-administered test of your breath, blood, or urine, then you must comply. A refusal will result in a one year license suspension. The best practice is to submit to the State test, and then request for the arresting officer to give you an independent test of your blood. You are required to take the State test first before having the right to your own independent test.
Can I refuse to participate in the field sobriety tests?
Yes. Officers are not required to inform you that the field sobriety tests are voluntary, but you do not have to participate. However, if you refuse the State-administered test of your breath, blood, or urine, then your license can be suspended for a year. The test requested after you are read the implied consent notice is the State-administered, mandatory test.
Are breath tests always accurate?
There are number of reasons why the breath test may provide a false positive reading. The device used in Georgia is called the Intoxilyzer 5000. Items that do not contain alcohol can sometimes cause the machine to report the detection of alcohol such as mints, listening, smokeless tobacco, and lip balm. Furthermore, some medical conditions can cause the device to return a false positive.
In sum, even if the breath test read positive, there are many alternative reasons your DUI Lawyer in Columbus GA can investigate to fight that evidence.
What is the penalty if DUI is your first encounter with the law?
We often hear from clients that their DUI arrest was their first encounter with the law. Some people have never even had a speeding ticket before. They wonder if the judge will have mercy on them and drop the case since this is their first interaction. Unfortunately, that does not happen. Georgia law enforcement officers and court officials take DUI charges seriously and enforce the statutory penalties, even for a first arrest.
The maximum penalties for a first DUI in Columbus GA are a jail time up to 12 months and a fine up to $1,000. However, additional penalties include 40 hours of community service, completion of an Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction course, and 12 moths of probation.
Should I just plead guilty to a DUI charge in Columbus GA?
No! There are a plethora of defenses our lawyers can use to defend your case. With the life-altering consequences you are facing if convicted of DUI, it is in your best interest to hire a Columbus GA DUI Lawyer. Do not think that pleading guilty is the easy way out because pleading guilty can often lead to years of repercussions. Call now for a free case evaluation and just hear how we can assist with our DUI charge in Columbus.
Can I beat a Columbus GA DUI charge?
Yes! While getting DUI charges dismissed is very difficult, there are a number of avenues your Columbus GA DUI Attorney can use to reduce or mitigate the charges and/or the penalties you face. The best chance you have for beating a DUI charge is by calling our lawyers today.
Do I need to hire a DUI Lawyer in Columbus GA?
Many people make the mistake of thinking that DUI charges are no big deal since they are usually misdemeanors. Furthermore, they believe that lawyers are not needed to help them. This could not be further from the truth. Georgia DUI laws are highly technical and complex. There are numerous DUI defenses that our DUI Lawyer in Columbus GA can use to defend your case that you may not be aware of because you do not practice DUI law everyday. With over 25 years of experience, we have been able to achieve excellent results for our clients. Furthermore, hiring a DUI Lawyer in Columbus helps take some of the stress off you. Then you can leave your case to us while you carry on with everyday life.
Am I going to lose my license?
After a DUI arrest, you only have 30 days to appeal the automatic suspension of your driver's license! Within the first 30 days, you must request an Administrative License Suspension (ALS) hearing to stay the suspension of your license. Our Columbus GA DUI Lawyer are skilled in negotiating the removal of the license suspension and helping you keep driving. However, if convicted of a second or third DUI, it is standard for the accused to lose their license.
What is the legal limit in Georgia?
In Georgia, the DUI per se limit is .08%. There is a presumption of impairment when a person tests .08 or more. However, it is possible for a person to still be charged with DUI even if they blew less than .08%. This is called DUI less safe and officers charge drivers with it when they believe a person is under the influence of alcohol to the extent it is less safe for them to charge.
No Matter Where You Are in the DUI Court Process, We Can Help
Whether you were arrested yesterday or your court date is coming up, we are prepared to assist with your case. We have over 50 combined years of experience, and any of our Columbus GA DUI Lawyers are experienced in Georgia DUI law. Call now and receive the help you need.
Columbus Recorder's Court
Columbus Recorder's Court is located at 702 10th Street, Columbus, GA 31901. The Court phone number is (706) 653-4256. The Honorable Judge Mary A. Buckner, Judge Michael Joyner, Judge Julius Hunter, and Jude Michael Cielinski all preside over Columbus Recorder's Court.
Map to Columbus Recorder's Court
Muscogee County State Court
In most cases, your Columbus DUI case will be resolved in Muscogee County State Court. Muscogee County State Court has original jurisdiction over all misdemeanor DUI offenses within the county. The two judges in Muscogee County State Court are Judge Ben Richardson and Judge Andy Prather. All filings in State Court are handled by the office of the Clerk of the State Court. The Clerk of Court is Danielle Forte. The Court and Clerk of Court is located at 100 10th Street, Columbus Georgia 31901. The Clerk of Court telephone number is 706-653-4370.
Map to Muscogee County State Court
Our Columbus GA DUI Lawyers are skilled in resolving the underlying traffic offense in order to remove the probable cause for the DUI stop. We are here to help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We believe that you should not have to wait until business hours to get an answer to your question. Call now for immediate help.