Facing a DUI charge is a serious prospect by itself, but can be even further aggravated if the DUI took place while driving without a license or on a suspended license. When this is the case, it is important those charged consult with an Atlanta DUI lawyer as soon as possible to minimize the harm as much as possible. An experienced attorney can assist both in preparing the client for what to expect and in building a strong defense based on the particular instances of your case.
If a driver is on a suspended license, prosecutors are naturally less willing to negotiate on plea deals without significant evidentiary problems, because both DUI and driving with a suspended license are misdemeanors. Some prosecutors see DUIs as the worse of the two, but both carry a maximum of 12 months in jail and a thousand dollar fine.
The DUI does also carry other mandatory minimums like a Risk Reduction Course, mandatory minimum jail time, and other punishments that may be imposed. But the suspended license charge itself will still be an aggravating factor.
If someone is charged with a DUI without a license in Atlanta it complicates things even further because it is another charge which must be defended against in court which can then impact sentencing.
A DUI without a license in Atlanta is usually be tried as one single case. If it is one nexus of operative facts, meaning it happened at the same time—for example, the one cop arrested you for DUI and for suspended license—it will be brought as one case in the same courtroom by the same prosecutor.
A license suspended because of a DUI acts as an additional aggravating factor on top of the suspended license itself. That criminal history will affect negotiations with the prosecutor and potentially come into play in sentencing with the judge, if the defendant is a repeat defender. At trial, it is quite possible that if the prosecution does its job properly, they will be able to introduce evidence of that prior DUI into the prosecution of the current DUI. They can bring in the cop from the older case, and have him testify. The Georgia Supreme Court has allowed this as a means of creating cumulative evidence. It is a way of allowing prior bad acts to negatively influence the jury’s opinion of the defendant.
This is unfortunate for the defendant as the availability of this information on the prior act in the context of DUIs, will usually prejudice the jury against the defendant. This added aggravation only increases the necessity of having competent defense, in the form of an Atlanta based DUI lawyer.