Myths About DUI in Georgia

Posted by Richard Lawson | Apr 03, 2018 | 0 Comments

The laws surrounding DUI can be extremely technical and confusing to the average person and even to some attorneys. There are some misconceptions and myths about DUI's in Georgia that I would like to explore today. All of these points emphasize the importance of hiring an experienced Georgia DUI Attorney. 

  1. If you only have two drinks, you will not get a DUI: Many people try to say that if you have two drinks, then you are not under the influence. There are guidelines that dictates whether a person is impaired. There are so many factors that influence a person's tolerance such as age, weight, drinking history, the speed of drinking, and the list goes on. A blanket statement that having two drinks is responsible may be irrational. The standard is whether a person is a less safe driver due to the consumption of alcohol or drugs.

  2. You have to participate in the field sobriety tests: The truth is that you do not have to participate in the field sobriety tests. These tests can lead to false positives and can be unreliable. However, by choosing not to participate, you will be most likely be arrested. That is the Catch-22 (dilemma).

  3. I was not read my Miranda rights, so my case should be dismissed: Miranda rights almost never apply in DUI cases. As a result, failure to recite Miranda will not likely cause your case to be dismissed Miranda applies when a person is in custody and being asked to confess to a crime. DUI is a crime witnessed by the police; as a result, no confession is needed.
  4. The breathalyzer accurately measures blood alcohol content: Breathalyzers do not always accurately calculate BAC. There are other factors that could cause an inaccurate result such as the use of mouthwash, chewing gum, and some medical conditions. Furthermore, Georgia uses the Intoxilyzer 9000 and only calibrates the device every 90 days. Anything can happen in 90 days. Some states calibrate their machines daily or even with every test given.
  5. You cannot be charged with a DUI if your BAC is less than .08: Drivers are under the assumption that if their BAC is less than .08, they cannot be charged with a DUI. However, if you are a less safe driver due to the consumption of alcohol, you can be charged with DUI Less Safe. The consequences for DUI Less Safe in Georgia are the same as if you were “over the legal limit.”

  6. If you have been drinking and then drive very carefully, you will not get caught:  The average number of people arrested annually in the United States for drunk driving is 1,500,000. You may not get caught the first time or second time, but there is always a chance, and the Georgia DUI Consequences are severe if arrested. You could also hurt someone else or yourself. Driving while impaired is not worth the risk.

  7. The officer will let you go if you pass the field sobriety tests: Even if you pass the Walk and Turn test, the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test, and the Walk and Turn test, the officer does not have to let you go. The officer may still be of the opinion that you are under the influence because of your appearance, manner of speech, and the way in which you drove. Furthermore, since the scoring of these tests are unknown to the participant, you may not have done as well on them as you thought. Your Georgia DUI Lawyer can review the video footage from the arrest to see if the officer conducted the tests according to proper procedures.

  8. I did not have any other options other than to drive: Driving services such as Uber and Lyft have grown dramatically over the past couple years. It is very likely you can use a driving service such as Uber and Lyft, and the cost of such services is far less than the cost of a DUI arrest. The excuse that you had no other option than driving is not a defense to a DUI. In fact, saying you had no other choice may result in more punishment, depending on the judge who hears it. 

  9. My DUI conviction comes off my record in 7 years: This is completely false. A DUI conviction stays on your Georgia Criminal history record for life. After seven years, a private person cannot see driving offenses. However, the prosecutor will have access to your entire driver's record (MVR).

  10. If I plead guilty to DUI I can later get it expunged from my record: Nothing is further from the truth. We tell everyone who calls our office that the outcome of your case, once adjudicated, is the outcome forever. If you plead guilty to DUI, the DUI will be on your record for life. The time to fight your case is when the case is pending. 

  11. The Georgia First Offender Act can be used with a DUI Arrest: The Georgia First Offender Act cannot be used in DUI cases because of the politics associated with DUI. It is odd that felons can use the advantages of the first offender act, but misdemeanor DUI offenders cannot. 

  12. The Court cannot use any DUI offense against me if it has been more than ten years: Anything a person has done in the past (whether good or bad) can be used to fashion an appropriate sentence in a criminal case. DUI is no different. The "10-year rule" is often misunderstood. There are certain mandatory Georgia DUI Penalties for more than one DUI in a ten-year period. However, that never has stopped a court from considering a person's entire criminal history in sentencing. 

  13. They cannot convict me if I did not take a test: The state is afforded certain common-sense presumptions if a person refuses testing. One such presumption is that a person chose to refuse because they knew they would not pass the test. Furthermore, a person can be convicted of DUI Less Safe because of the manner of their speech, appearance, ability to perform field sobriety tests and their manner of driving. A breath or blood test is not needed to convict someone of a DUI.

  14. It is my first offense, so it can be dropped: I would be far fairer to give DUI offenders one chance at a clean record. In my personal opinion, if someone has lived a good life, they should be given a second chance. That being said, the Georgia Legislature disagrees. Georgia offers no program to excuse a first DUI in Georgia.

  15. I can wait until my court date to hire an attorney: You only have 30-days to appeal the automatic suspension of your license. If you wait until your court date, you may have already lost your driver's license. Furthermore, it is important to give counsel enough time to properly prepare your defense. We cannot do a good job for you at the last moment.

  16. The officer needs to be at my arraignment: The police officer will not be at your arraignment. He or she is only needed if you decide to take your case to trial. Then, in that situation, they will be subpoenaed.

  17. The officer did not see me drive: People often misunderstand circumstantial evidence and how it applies in their case. The officer does not need to “see” you drive. He needs to prove you were driving. Proof can be shown through natural inference. If you are in a car accident on the side of the road (and no one else is there), the officer can show you were driving by your mere presence at the accident scene. If you are walking away from your car at a grocery store and are found to be impaired, the officer can prove driving by asking you if that is your car, or from where are you coming. The officer can even prove when you were driving by feeling if your car hood is warm. The point is proof of driving can be established in countless ways. 

  18. They do not send people to jail on a first DUI Offense: Technically, any first offense where a person was 0.08 or more on a breath test must serve a mandatory 24 hours in jail. Many courts will waive the 24 hours or find that it has been served at the time of your arrest (before making bond). That being said, if the statute is followed strictly, the judge will require at least 24 hours in jail. If convicted after a trial, most judges will give the accused 6-10 days in jail.
  19. All DUI lawyers are equal: It is always for our clients to determine if we offer superior service and value. That being said, many attorneys do not put in the proper effort to look for all potential defenses to your DUI case. If the attorney seems to provide little hope, before he or she has even looked at your case, we would suggest they are the wrong attorney for the job.  

  20. The biggest misconception is that there is nothing a DUI Attorney can do to help my case if I blew over the limit: Countless people do not even try to fight their case because they believe there is no hope. Our Georgia DUI Lawyers specialize in DUI law and can present numerous arguments on your defense. We will investigate your case to see if the police officer followed all of the correct procedures in your case. If not, then we can negotiate an offer that you would not have been able to obtain on your own. We can also litigate your case and take it to trial. No situation is hopeless. 

All of these myths describe how important it is to hire a Georgia DUI Lawyer from the very beginning. While the internet provides some great resources, none of them take the place of a Top-Rated Georgia DUI Lawyer. Contact our office today and find out how we can help in your case. Remember an arrest is not the same as a conviction!

About the Author

Richard Lawson

Managing Partner at Lawson & Berry:


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Georgia DUI Defense Attorneys

At the Law Office of Richard S. Lawson, we have offices conveniently located throughout metro Atlanta and throughout Georgia. If we do not have a convenient office, we will come to you. We practice throughout Metro Atlanta and North Georgia. If your case is in an area we do not serve, we will find you an attorney in your area free of charge. Our office is part of a State-wide network of Georgia DUI Lawyers. Contact us 24/7 for immediate legal help. Our attorneys are standing by. Your DUI Case will not defend itself. Your Best Georgia DUI Defense Begins Here!