DUIs have become very serious offenses in Georgia. Every few years the legislature increases the penalties for DUIs, especially for second and third DUIs. In addition, because of the horrible nature of innocent deaths due to drunk driving, the courts and Georgia legislature have taken a very negative view of people charged with DUI. The penalties are tough and can include license suspension, mandatory community service, counseling, and mandatory jail time, thereby making it important those accused speak with a Gwinnett County DUI lawyer who handles DUI cases on a regular basis.
An experienced defense attorney in Gwinnett County can look at the facts of your case for possible defenses to be used at trial. They can also negotiate with the prosecutor’s office for possible reductions to your charges. To learn more or discuss your case, call and schedule a consultation with an attorney today.
There are multiple ways a person can be charged with a DUI in the State of Georgia and Gwinnett County. To be charged with being under the influence of alcohol, the police and prosecution must show that an individual was impaired by the alcohol they consumed and that they were less safe to drive than they would have been otherwise. In these cases, it does not matter if they have given a breath test or not.
One major way a person can be charged with a DUI is if a person is driving with an unlawful blood alcohol level for their category. For example, any driver who is driving with a 0.08 or higher blood alcohol level is DUI per se. That means DUI as a matter of law. If the driver is driving a commercial vehicle, then the limit is 0.04. If the person is under 21, the limit is only 0.02 and will be charged with an underage DUI.
Additionally, a person can be charged with driving under the influence of drugs, whether they are lawfully prescribed or not. Essentially any substance that impairs an individual’s ability to drive, whether a legal substance or not, can lead to a DUI charge and warrant the attention of a DUI lawyer in Gwinnett County.
DUI roadblocks and checkpoints are not quite as common in Gwinnett County as they were just a couple of years ago. The funding which police departments in Gwinnett County were receiving from the federal government to set-up roadblocks has been dramatically reduced due to budget concerns. Therefore roadblocks and road checks are not as common as they once were. However, they still do happen, especially among the Georgia State Patrol and the Gwinnett County Police Department.
If a person is convicted of a first-time DUI, and it is a standard DUI, meaning there is no accident or injuries involved, and they plead guilty, they are looking at being on probation for 12 months, spending at least 24 hours in jail, and being required to complete a minimum of 40 hours of community service. In addition, those convicted may be asked to attend DUI school, meet with the drug and alcohol counselor for at least one session and perhaps more, and potentially not consume any alcohol for a period of 12 months. This is all in addition to any fines and fees that may be imposed as well. If the DUI involves an accident or injuries, then the penalties go up dramatically.
The main three things that a Gwinnett County DUI attorney can do for a client are to first evaluate the case for possible defenses. An attorney will present those defenses and other mitigation issues to the prosecutor to possibly negotiate a lesser charge or favorable plea deal. Finally, a good attorney will be prepared to take the case to a jury trial, and actually conduct the jury trial, to seek a not guilty verdict if necessary.
If an individual is charged with a DUI anywhere in the State of Georgia, the first thing to make sure of is that the lawyer is experienced in DUI defense, including trying cases before a jury. The second most important factor is that the attorney knows the local judges and prosecutors. Many times cases are resolved partially based on the facts of the case and partially based on the relationships the Gwinnett County DUI attorney has with the prosecutor or judge. While the most important factor in considering an attorney is his education and experience in DUI defense; the second most important factor is that he is familiar with the local judges and prosecutors.