Watkinsville DUI Lawyer - Watkinsville DUI Attorney
If you have been charged with a DUI in Watkinsville or anywhere else in Oconee County, GA, your freedom is at stake. Our Watkinsville DUI Attorneys know how strict Georgia DUI laws are on people and want to help you avoid the serious implications a DUI conviction will have on your life. Do not make the mistake of thinking there are no options for your case, and you should just plead guilty! A DUI conviction can come with thousands of dollars in fines, possible jail time, community service, and a driver's license suspension. Put our experience to work in your Watkinsville DUI case. Call now for a free case evaluation.
If you have been arrested for DUI in Watkinsville, you only have 30 days to keep your license from being suspended. You or your Watkinsville DUI Lawyer must file a 30-day letter or install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle to avoid the suspension. If the 30-day letter is not sent or the device is not installed, then your license will be suspended. However, if you refused the State's chemical test of your blood, urine, or breath, then your license will be suspended for one year. Call our Watkinsville DUI Attorneys now to discuss which option is best for your case.
A DUI Arrest in Watkinsville
A Georgia DUI arrest is a frightening experience. A DUI conviction has the ability to alter your life forever. However, it does not have to! We have focused our entire practice on DUI law, and we are happy to guide you through each step of the process. We want success for your case as much as you do and we will do everything we can to reach the desired outcome for your situation. When facing DUI charges in Watkinsville, it can be helpful to understand the process in a DUI case. We have included some of the standard steps, but please call us for more information.
- Arrest: A DUI arrest is typically made when the alleged crime is committed or shortly after.
- Arraignment. This will be your first court appearance. However, if one of our Watkinsville DUI Attorneys is representing you, they will appear on your behalf. They will enter an initial plea of “not guilty.”
- Discovery. The prosecution and defense exchange information and evidence regarding your case during this step.
- Plea Negotiations. A plea agreement is where you plead guilty in exchange for reduced charges or a possible recommended sentence. One of our Watkinsville DUI Lawyers may negotiate on your behalf if a plea agreement is the best possible outcome for your case.
- Trial. If your case cannot be resolved through negotiations, it will then be bound over to Oconee County Superior Court. You can choose to have a jury trial or bench trial.
What are Field Sobriety Tests?
When pulled over for suspected DUI, many police officers administer field sobriety tests. Three (3) tests that are used to determine if a driver is impaired. The three tests are horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN), the walk-and-turn, and the one-leg stand test. They asses a driver's balance, coordination, and the ability to pay attention to more than one task. The results of these tests are admissible in court as evidence of a person's intoxication.
Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) Test
The HGN test involves an officer asking the driver to follow an object, such as a pen or flashlight, from side to side. The officer is looking for clues such as whether the driver is able to follow the object smoothly, if the eye is jerking, and if the angle of jerking is within 45 degrees.
This test consists of the driver taking nine steps along a straight line and then turning on one foot and walking back to their starting position. The person must walk heel-to-toe. During this test, the officer is looking to see if the driver is able to keep their balance, listen to the instructions, take the correct number of steps, and other clues.
One-Leg Stand Test
In this last step, the officer will ask the driver to stand with one foot off the ground and count. The officer will assess whether the driver has to use their arms to balance, is swaying while balancing, and is putting their foot down.
If a driver fails any of the field sobriety tests, the officer is permitted to ask them to submit to a breath test or a chemical test to confirm their blood-alcohol content (BAC). For Georgia, a person over 21 whose BAC is over .08 will be over the legal limit. If the driver is under 21, the limit is .02, and a CDL driver has a limit of .04.
Defenses to Field Sobriety Testing
There are many reasons why a person who is not intoxicated may fail to perform the tests successfully. Injuries, age, disabilities, medications, or certain medical conditions may prevent a person from being successful on these tests. Most people are nervous when pulled over and that can have an affect on the results as well. Also, walking heel-to-toe is uncomfortable for any person, intoxicated or not. In addition, the HGN test is not appropriate for all people because some people have naturally occurring nystagmus.
Our Watkinsville DUI Lawyers are skilled in dissecting the methods used by officers who conduct field sobriety tests. We will carefully examine the evidence because if the tests were not conducted appropriately, then the results are invalid.
Watkinsville Municipal Court
If you are arrested in the city of Watkinsville, your case will go to Watkinsville Municipal Court. Watkinsville Municipal Court is located at 191 VFW Drive in Watkinsville, Georgia. Court hearings are held on the second Tuesday of each month in front of Judge Todd Townsend. Lee Angel Black is the Municipal Court Clerk, and she can be reached at (706)769-5161.
Here are Lawson and Berry, we understand that you may need a lawyer or an answer to your questions outside of regular business hours. That is why we pride ourselves on being open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We do not think you should have to wait until the next business day or 9:00 a.m. to get an answer when you need one. Call now and speak to one of our DUI lawyers in Watkinsville today and receive a free case evaluation.