If you are charged with DUI in Georgia, the most important thing to do is to select an attorney who regularly practices DUI law in the county in which you have been arrested. A DUI is a serious charge and as such there are a number of different things an individual should even before they step foot in court. For more specific information on your DUI case in Atlanta, call and schedule a consultation today.
In Georgia, there is a 10-day limit on seeking to file an application to protect your driver’s license in most DUI cases. If a person is arrested for DUI and they blew a breath test result higher than the legal limit for their category, which is 0.02 for an under-21 driver, 0.04 for anyone driving a commercial vehicle, and 0.08 for all other drivers, then your license will be suspended after 30 days, unless you file a demand for a hearing within 10 business days.
Many people are caught by surprise and find out their license is suspended before they even go to court. Even in cases when a person refuses to take a breath test, blood test, or urine test, their driver’s license will be suspended after 30 days if they do not demand a hearing within 10 days.
Additionally, if it turns out that a person’s BAC is only a 0.04 to 0.05, maybe 0.06, which is still commonly considered the legal limit, Georgia is still able to prosecute at those levels if the prosecution can prove that they were under the influence, despite having such a low level of alcohol in their system.
In Georgia, there are two common types of alcohol education courses. The first is a state curriculum, called the Alcohol and Drug Risk Reduction Program. It is a 20-hour course which is conducted by state-approved counselors. The common name for that course is “DUI School.” However, it is not just for DUI cases; it also can be required in drug cases, even if someone was not driving.
The other type of alcohol education courses are alcohol awareness and education courses put on by private counselors. If a person is convicted of DUI in Georgia, they are required to take both of these types of classes. They are also required to go to a private, licensed counselor of their choice for a drug and alcohol dependency evaluation, and then they must take whatever courses the counselor prescribes for them.
The first benefit to taking alcohol education classes is represented by the paper or the certificate that the person receives for taking the classes. When you go to court, it is very important to have that paperwork to show the judge the proof of completion of the alcohol and drug risk program and proof of the alcohol and drug dependence evaluation program. The judge will acknowledge the education has been completed and check the box for two of the requirements of a DUI arrest in Georgia.
The other benefit, which makes the paperwork irrelevant, and that is that the counseling can actually help a person understand how to make better choices and whether or not they may have a problem, in which case they can evaluate their own choices and whether or not they need further help. Having that counseling done prior to court will also help show the judge you are taking this seriously, will get some of the requirements out of the way, and maybe even get you a little bit better sentence from the judge.
Typically, unless there has been an accident, an individual’s rates are not affected by a DUI. The reason for this is that insurance companies just cannot afford to check everyone’s driving record every year or so.
A major insurance company may have 10 to 20 million customers in the state, and it costs them $30.00 of their time to check a person’s driving record. These costs add up, so they do not do it every year. Therefore, if there was no accident, then people should stay with their same policy, make their payments on time, and not rock that boat. Hopefully, if and when the insurance company ever finds out they had a DUI, many years of good driving have gone by.
If an individual has been involved in an accident where someone is hurt or there is property damage, then they should speak with their insurance company because their policy usually requires that they report the accident. If they do not, the insurance company will actually in some situations be excused from paying for the accident.
With that said, a person should speak with a lawyer before contacting their insurance company, though, if there has been a serious accident in which you have been charged. For example, if you are driving a car and there is an accident where someone is seriously injured, and you have been charged with a traffic offense and/or a DUI. Typically, it is better to call an attorney first and then make the call to the insurance company after you have spoken with the attorney.