Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs is a serious criminal offense in Georgia, and the penalties for even a first offense can be severe. If you or a family member was recently arrested for a DUI offense, you need to know your constitutional rights and the value of having an experienced Henry County DUI defense attorney handling your case.
The team at Miller North & Brill regularly helps Henry County clients with a wide range of criminal cases, including those arising from DUI arrests. The first steps you take immediately following an arrest in Henry County can impact your future in various ways, and one of the most important decisions you can make in this situation is choosing a Henry County DUI defense attorney to represent you.
Our firm will provide responsive legal counsel from the moment you contact us after booking. It’s vital to exercise your right to remain silent until you are able to discuss your case with a defense attorney. After booking, the police will give you the opportunity to make phone calls so you can notify your family of your situation and reach out to a criminal defense attorney to help you. Make sure one of your calls is to the team at Miller North & Brill.
Georgia law defines DUI as any operation of a moving vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It’s important to note that impairment is the most vital element of a DUI case. The arresting police officers must confirm that a driver is impaired by a substance while they were operating a moving vehicle.
The blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) measurement system is used to determine intoxication by alcohol, and for most drivers in the state, the legal limit for BAC is .08%. For commercial drivers, the limit is only .04%, and drivers under 21 are subject to the zero-tolerance policy, meaning BAC over .02% can lead to a DUI charge.
It’s important to note that it is possible for a driver to face a DUI charge if they are operating a vehicle while under the influence of a prescription medication if that medication causes side effects that diminish their ability to drive safely. Additionally, if a driver has any amount of marijuana detectable in their system, it can also lead to a DUI charge.
Drivers must also know that their actions prior to or during an arrest for DUI can lead to additional charges and more severe penalties. For example, an underage driver charged with DUI could face a longer probationary period than a driver over the age of 21, and they are likely to lose their driver’s license for a much longer period.
If a driver caused an accident, if they attempted to flee a traffic stop, or if they resisted a lawful arrest, these issues could also lead to additional charges and much greater penalties if they are later convicted.
Most DUI offenses are prosecuted as misdemeanors, but every DUI charge in Georgia comes with a minimum jail sentence of 24 hours. Penalties escalate significantly after a first offense or if a defendant qualifies for felony prosecution.
Drivers convicted of DUI in Henry County also face one year of probation for each level of offense. For a first offense, this means one year of probation, two years of probation for a second offense, and so on. Most DUI offenses will also lead to an ignition interlock device requirement. This device attaches to a vehicle and will not allow it to start until the driver provides a breath sample.
Additional penalties can apply depending on the driver’s DUI history. For example, if a driver is convicted of two DUI offenses within five years, they will be forced to surrender their license plates. Three DUI offenses within five years will result in vehicle forfeiture. Drivers convicted of DUI are also commonly required to complete substance abuse education programs, driver safety courses, and complete community service.
Beyond the standard penalties assigned by the court, the driver is also likely to see their auto insurance premium increase, potentially resulting in significantly more expensive auto insurance for years to come. If they cause an accident, they will also be liable for the damages inflicted on another driver.
Your Henry County DUI defense attorney can be an invaluable asset for all stages of your case. They can verify that your arrest was lawful and that the arresting officers respected your civil and constitutional rights. They will also ensure that the chemical testing procedure was performed correctly and help identify all avenues of defense that could lead to reduced or dropped charges.
Ultimately, every DUI case is different, and every defendant faces unique challenges. When you choose Miller North & Brill to handle your defense, we will help formulate the most effective defense possible and do everything we can to help mitigate your penalties.
A: You have the constitutional right to legal representation if you are accused of any crime in the United States, and it is vital that you take full advantage of this right after an arrest for DUI. You may have more defenses available to you than you realize, and the police or prosecution may mishandle your case in ways that allow you to seek dismissal. A good attorney can quickly identify your most viable defenses and guide you through the proceedings ahead of you, potentially helping you avoid conviction or at least mitigate your penalties.
A: It is possible for a DUI offense to qualify as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the specific details of the case. If the defendant did not injure or kill anyone or cause an accident while under the influence, they are likely to face misdemeanor prosecution. However, a third DUI conviction within 10 years is an automatic felony, and if the defendant caused great bodily harm or death while under the influence, they are likely to face a felony DUI as well.
A: The penalties for a DUI can be severe, even for a first offense. Defendants are likely to face fines, driver’s license suspension, and incarceration, and these penalties increase automatically if a defendant has committed a DUI within the past few years.
In some cases, prosecutors are willing to enter plea agreements with defendants, exchanging swift guilty pleas for lighter punishments. However, this is never a guarantee, and it is vital to consult a Henry County DUI defense attorney to learn your most viable options for mitigating your penalties if convicted.
A: If a defendant charged with DUI has caused an accident resulting in severe bodily injury or death of another person, the defendant faces criminal prosecution from the state and a civil suit from the victim or the victim’s family. They would be liable for any economic damages their auto insurance could not cover, as well as the pain and suffering of the victim. Additionally, causing severe bodily injury or death is likely to escalate the defendant’s charge to felony status.
A: Every Henry County DUI defense attorney charges a different rate based on their experience and availability. The majority of criminal defense attorneys bill their clients hourly, so the more time they spend working on a case, the more it will cost the client in legal fees. Take time to discuss a potential defense attorney’s billing policy before signing a contract for their representation so you are fully aware of your financial obligations.
An experienced Henry County DUI defense attorney is an invaluable asset, no matter what your case entails. Whether you have been arrested for DUI for the first time or have a record of multiple offenses, the team at Miller North & Brill has the professional experience necessary to provide a robust defense in the most challenging cases. If you are ready to learn what a seasoned defense attorney can do for you, contact us today to schedule a free consultation with our team.
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