How Does the Georgia DUI Law Apply to Your Case?
Questions about how Georgia DUI Laws apply to your case are the most common questions we receive at our office. In fact, we have an entire Georgia DUI Information Blog devoted to answering those questions. Our office is devoted to the defense of people charged with DUI in Georgia. As a former Georgia Prosecutor, Richard Lawson puts more than 25 years' experience helping people win DUI cases throughout all of Georgia, North Georgia, Atlanta, and Metro Atlanta. We have 8 office locations located throughout Georgia to conveniently serve you. The first and foremost thing to do is to have your Georgia DUI lawyer file your 30 day letter with the Georgia Department of Drivers Services.
30 Day Warning!!!
The most important law that applies to your Georgia DUI case is the need to send a 30 day letter in your case. You only have 30 days from the date of your arrest to have your Georgia DUI Attorney send a request for an ALS Hearing or to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. Otherwise, you can lose your drivers license or privilege to drive in Georgia suspended for up to one year. Many other States will also honor a Georgia Administrative License Suspension. So, time is of the essence.
Overview of Georgia DUI Laws
In Georgia, DUI law is vast and very fact specific. There are some general principles (see the statute below), but much of DUI law is based on the principles established in decisions handed down by the Georgia Court of Appeals, the Supreme court of Georgia and the Supreme court of the United States. Every DUI case is different, for example, one case may involve a roadblock and a blood test and another may involve fleeing from officers and a refusal of a breath test. A skilled DUI lawyer is up to date on all the relevant case law and can review the facts and evidence to distill the key legal issues.
As a basic overview, there has to be reason (an articulable suspicion) for law enforcement officers to initiate a traffic stop to begin with. Once pulled over, an officer usually ask you to take field sobriety tests and observes your behavior. These tests are all voluntary. They need probable cause to arrest you for DUI. The higher courts have routinely held that a mere odor of alcohol is not enough to be probable cause to arrest for DUI. However, an odor of alcohol combined with an admission of drinking and clues exhibited on field sobriety tests would be enough.
After being arrested for DUI, the officer is supposed to immediately read you the Georgia Implied Consent Notice advising you of his request to take a test of your blood, breath or urine, your right to an independent test at your own expense, and the consequences on your license or driving privileges for failure to participate in the tests. If the officer does not properly advise you of this implied consent notice, the results of the blood/breath test could be excluded from the case against you. In a case where you declined to take the chemical test, the fact that you declined the test could also be excluded.
The Actual Georgia DUI Laws and How They Apply to Your DUI in Georgia
O.C.G.A. 40-6-391 is the DUI statute and reads in its pertinent parts as follows:
(a) A person shall not drive or be in actual physical control of any moving vehicle while:
(1) Under the influence of alcohol to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive;
(2) Under the influence of any drug to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive;
(3) Under the intentional influence of any glue, aerosol, or other toxic vapor to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive;
(4) Under the combined influence of any two or more of the substances specified in paragraphs (1) through (3) of this subsection to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive;
(5) The person's alcohol concentration is 0.08 grams or more at any time within three hours after such driving or being in actual physical control from alcohol consumed before such driving or being in actual physical control ended; or
(6) Subject to the provisions of subsection (b) of this Code section, there is any amount of marijuana or a controlled substance, as defined in Code Section 16-13-21, present in the person's blood or urine, or both, including the metabolites and derivatives of each or both without regard to whether or not any alcohol is present in the person's breath or blood.
(b) The fact that any person charged with violating this Code section is or has been legally entitled to use a drug shall not constitute a defense against any charge of violating this Code section; provided, however, that such person shall not be in violation of this Code section unless such person is rendered incapable of driving safely as a result of using a drug other than alcohol which such person is legally entitled to use.
What Can You Do if You are Arrested for DUI In Georgia?
As your can see, each Georgia DUI Case has its own intricacies. You can also see that the law itself is complicated. As a result, calling a Georgia DUI lawyer promptly to discuss the facts of your case is imperative. A DUI is time sensitive as a license suspension goes into effect if it is not appealed within 30 days of your arrest. So if you are facing a DUI charge in the State of Georgia, call our law office now. Every case has hope, but no case will defend itself. We are here 365 days a year, 24 hours day because your problems should not have to wait until Monday. Contact us today or visit (with an appointment) one of our 8 conveniently located office locations throughout Georgia