How a DUI and Traffic Lawyer in Georgia Can Help
Think for a moment about what it means to have a driver’s license in the State of Georgia. That license allows you to get to work or school, take your children to school and activities, enjoy a night out with your spouse or partner, take a weekend getaway to the mountains. That commercial license allows you to drive for a living, whether in a semi-truck or an Uber. Your life without a driver’s license might be radically transformed, and not for the better.
When facing a traffic violation, especially DUI, speeding, or reckless driving charge, the penalty can be license suspension.
Loss of your driver’s license comes with additional penalties, and the most devastating is jail time: up to a year for a first serious offense. However, loss of license and jail time are only the beginning. The penalties are compounded by sizable fines, mandatory classes, community service, and a probation period when you must submit to supervision by the State. All of these penalties cost money, at a time when your ability to get to work or even to work at all, is threatened.
And then there is the matter of the cost of your automobile insurance policy. Conviction for any traffic offense that adds points to your license, especially the more serious ones, necessarily triggers a significant increase in premiums or cancellation of your policy.
To mount the best defense and help protect your driving privileges, and to defend yourself against these penalties, you need to retain skilled and experienced Georgia DUI and traffic defense lawyers.
Why Hire a Lawyer? Why Not Go it Alone?
Too many times, drivers just give up and plead guilty to charges, not understanding that there are consequences, especially to pleading guilty to criminal DUI and traffic violations. You still might go to jail. In addition to a criminal record that will follow you for the rest of your life, your driving privileges still might be suspended, your insurance rates will still go up, and all the restrictions placed on you as part of sentencing cost you money—fines, fees, time spent in community service and mandatory classes, and probation.
If you refuse to take certain breath, blood, or urine tests, you could lose your license for a year regardless of the outcome of your case. If you take all the tests, you may be giving the State more evidence to use against you.
Before you decide that you can go it alone, call or email Michael Fulcher Law to schedule a free consultation.
We can answer your questions so that you understand the benefits of retaining a DUI and traffic lawyer to represent you in all proceedings.
- How strong is the prosecution’s case against me?
- What facts and circumstances are in my favor?
- What are the reputations of the arresting officers?
- How does a case proceed against me? What should I expect?
- Do I need an investigator or accident reconstructionist to help defend the charges?
- Can any of the evidence be kept out because of police or prosecution misconduct?
- Are there new legal theories or judicial decisions that affect my case?
- Is the prosecutor assigned to my case reasonable?
With 15 years of experience in the courts of Morgan, Greene, Jasper, Putnam, Walton, Newton and Taliaferro Counties, Michael Fulcher Law takes the time to evaluate your case, based on your driving history and personal circumstances, the circumstances of the charges, the police, the prosecutor, and the judge, if one has been assigned.
Your Case is Unique and Requires an Individual Assessment.
We do not assume you are guilty or that you should take a plea. We do not decide to take a case to trial immediately. These are determinations that are made as a case unfolds and the quality of the evidence and competency of witnesses can be evaluated. Into the mix goes the reputation of the police officers, the prosecutor, and even the judge. We look at all the facts in light of the applicable law in order to advise you on how best to proceed. We work with our clients. We listen. We ask the right questions.
Cases evolve as facts are uncovered, witnesses identified, scientific tests are analyzed. Initially, a DUI and traffic defense lawyer will examine the circumstances of the police stop. Did the officers have a legal reason to stop you? Is it even possible that the police officers saw what they claimed to have seen? Did the police explain the reason for the stop? Did they explain the consequences of refusing to submit to any roadside field sobriety tests or breathalyzer? Are there videotapes of the police stop and subsequent interrogation?
If they did administer a field sobriety test, what was their training? What specific tests did they give and what were their observations? Was the breathalyzer properly maintained and cleaned after its prior use?
Upon arrest, were you informed of your rights? Were your rights respected or did the police continue to question you after you asserted your Fifth Amendment rights or request to speak with an attorney? When was the Intoxilyzer 9000 test administered? Was the machine properly maintained and serviced? Was a warrant procured before blood or urine was taken, if consent was withheld?
Georgia requires that licensed drivers submit to certain breath, blood, and urine tests as a condition for enjoying the privilege of driving. However, refusing to take a roadside field sobriety test or roadside breath test is not considered a DUI refusal. Did the police inform you accurately as to your rights to refuse any tests? There are specific warnings that police must give to a driver upon a refusal. Were those warnings given?
These are the kinds of questions skilled lawyers ask as a way of gauging the quality of the police work, the propriety of any arrest, and the strength of any prosecution.
The inquiry continues beyond the arrest to the quality of any witnesses, and whether they were capable of seeing what they claimed to have seen. As we know, eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable, especially when witnesses are caught off guard. Are expert witnesses needed to reconstruct the site of the accident, the quality of the physical evidence?
When skilled and competent DUI and traffic lawyers review your case, possible defenses are revealed. Remember the prosecution has the burden to prove all the elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. Your defense is based on disputing the evidence to prove those elements by introducing doubt.
Our DUI and Traffic Lawyer Can Help Your Case
The threat of jail time, penalties, and loss of driving privileges can be daunting. Penalties can include the following:
- Aggressive Driving: a misdemeanor conviction comes with the penalty of a fine up to $5,000, a prison term up to 12 months, or both, and 6 points added to your license.
- ALS Hearings and License Suspension: DUI refusal can result in automatic suspension of your driver’s license for 12 months. An appeal must be filed within 30 days of arrest to defend against such action.
- Boating Under the Influence: a misdemeanor conviction comes with the penalty of a fine up to $1,000, a prison term up to 12 months, or both and other conditions, similar to a DUI.
- Commercial Drivers: A serious traffic violation, such as speeding more than 15 miles over the limit, can have a huge impact on your CDL. A second violation, within 24 months, means a 60-day suspension, a third violation, within 24 months, means a 120-day disqualification, and a third violation within a 3-year period means suspension for a full year.
- Driving Without a License or a Suspended License: misdemeanor violation that carries a mandatory 12 months of probation, $500 fine and 48 hours in county jail.
- DUI Child Endangerment: with a child under the age of 14 in the car, anyone charged with a DUI will also be charged with DUI child endangerment. The first two violations are misdemeanors, the third is considered a felony. A first conviction can bring on a sentence of one year in jail.
- DUI Drugs: misdemeanor violation carries a fine of up to $1,000 and up to one year in jail
- DUI Refusal: loss of driving privileges for 12 months.
- DUI under 21: a conviction can result in a minimum of a 6-month driver’s license suspension, with no school or work permit waiver available. In addition, a 12- month probation can be imposed with mandatory monthly supervision, attendance in DUI school, and all the accompanying costs
- Fleeing and Eluding Law Enforcement: can be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances. A felony conviction cannot be merged or served concurrently with any other charges and carries a mandatory minimum of one year in prison.
- Following Too Closely: misdemeanor conviction can result in fines up to $1,000 and possible jail time, under extreme circumstances.
- Habitual Offender: committing 3 serious traffic offenses within a 5-year period results in being tagged with the status of habitual offender. This carries a 5-year license suspension and result in severe penalties if caught driving without a license during the suspension period.
- Hit and Run: can result in a prison term of 1-5 years and a 4-month license suspension, depending on the circumstances and seriousness of any injuries.
- Juvenile Drivers: Joshua’s Law requires that a new driver aged 16-18 may only drive with family members, no peer passengers, for the first 6 months after the license is issued. During the second 6-month period, the new driver can only have one peer passenger in the car.
- Out-of-State Drivers: A traffic ticket in Georgia may be transmitted back to your state and cause major problems with your license and insurance.
- Passing a School Bus: a fine of up to $1,000 and 6 points added to your license.
- Reckless Driving: a jail sentence of up to 12 months and a fine up to $1,000
- Speeding and Super Speeder Tickets: fines from $25 to $500+ depending on the ticketed speed, along with license points and an additional $200 super speeder fine for speeds more than 15 over on the interstate and 20 over on most highways.
- Under 21 traffic citations: Any offense that carries 4 points on your license triggers an automatic suspension of your driving privileges for minimum of 120 days if you are under the age of 21 at the time of conviction.
Retaining a skilled and experienced DUI and traffic defense lawyer provides you with the best way to reduce your stress level and protect your rights, especially your liberty and right to drive.