Anne Bishop, 539 Green Street NW Gainesville, GA 30501 email@gainesvillegalawyer.com (770) 783-5296

A. Bishop Law, LLC

DUI FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions about an arrest for DUI:
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I refused the Breath Test, can I still be prosecuted?

Yes, under Georgia Law you can be prosecuted for DUI even if you refuse the Breath Test. You can be prosecuted for DUI Less Safe. The prosecutor must prove that you were driving less safe as compared to someone that has not consumed alcohol in order to prosecute you under a DUI Less Safe.  Some factors that will be considered in determining whether you fall under a Less Safe DUI are the reason for the stop, failure to maintain lane, causing an accident, your apparent level of intoxication, and whether you appeared drunk to the officer. These factors, and others, will be used to determine if you are guilty of a DUI Less Safe even if you refuse to submit to a Breath Test. It is important to note that you can also be subject to a suspension or an attempted suspension of your Drivers License by the Department of Drivers Services due to the refusal of the Breath Test.

If I passed all the Field Sobriety Tests, then why was I arrested?

First, if you have been arrested for suspicion of DUI, then the officer almost certainly disagrees with your assertion that you passed all of the Field Sobriety Tests. Second, it is entirely possible to feel as though you have passed all of the tests when in fact you have not passed under the guidelines of the test. Field Sobriety Tests require special training to be conducted and analyzed properly and are not set up on a pass or fail basis. These tests give indications to the officer as to whether or not they are dealing with a possible DUI. Ms. Bishop is knowledgeable as to what the officer is and is not looking for as evidence of a DUI. Finally, if you have already been charged with a DUI, the question of whether you feel as though you passed the Field Sobriety Test is not nearly as important as the question of whether or not you can be convicted of DUI in court.

Can I get my DUI dismissed?

Generally, the answer is no. The officer that arrested you did so for a reason, right or wrong, and is extremely unlikely to agree to have the charges dropped. Also, prosecutors will almost always support the claims of the arresting officer and will not undermine the officer by agreeing to have the charges completely dropped. If you are wishing to seek a dismissal you will almost always have to go to trial and seek and receive a not guilty verdict to have no consequences of a DUI charge. If there are factual or legal issues favorable to your case, a prosecutor may be willing to reduce a DUI to a Reckless Driving Charge. This is a reduction of a charge but not an outright dismissal. I would be hesitant to believe any statement regarding an outright dismissal of DUI charge. In my experience, the instances of outright dismissal are very rare.

Who is the Best DUI Lawyer?

There is no such thing as the best DUI lawyer. However, there is the best DUI lawyer for your own personal situation. This is a lawyer who fits well with your personality and fits well with your needs. This lawyer is one that treats you in a manner that you wish to be treated. The best lawyer for you is one that is competent in DUI law. Ms. Bishop has a primary focus of traffic and DUI law.  There is no such thing as the best DUI lawyer, there is however the DUI lawyer that suits your own needs better than any other.

Does the officer have any evidence against me?

Yes, at the very least the officer has their own verbal testimony in court as to why they arrested you. There is the written police officer statement which is not evidence in itself but which is helpful in court to make sure that the officer’s testimony is accurate and to determine what evidence will be brought in at trial. In many cases there is also audio and video evidence of the stop as well. However, an officer’s testimony alone is enough to convict you of DUI.

Is there a video or audio of my DUI arrest?

Yes, in 50-75% of cases there is an audio or video recording of the incident. This helps the jury see or hear what was going on at the time of the Field Sobriety Testing. This is often played directly to the jury. This evidence can be helpful to prosecutors and officers if it corroborates the officer’s testimony. However, there are also instances when this evidence is helpful to the defendant. These instances would be where the audio or video does not support the officer’s testimony or where is shows errors made by the officer in either Field Sobriety Testing or the arrest itself.

Will I lose my license?

Yes, a DUI conviction does carry a license suspension. There are two ways this applies. If you are a first offender, which means you have not had a DUI in the last 5 or 10 years depending on the date and circumstance, then you could be eligible for a soft suspension. This means that a temporary work license could be granted. However, if you refused Field Sobriety Testing, the officer filed a license removal form, and the suspension was not appealed and won, then the suspension is a hard one and no temporary work license will be issued. Anytime that it is a first offense DUI then there is a more stringent suspension penalties for your license. If the matter is reduced to a charge less than DUI then there is no license suspension.

What are the penalties for a 1st time DUI offense?

The following are penalties which are common for first time DUI offenses. There is a 12 month probation period for first time offenders. Generally, you must serve 2 to 4 days in jail, but some courts may order as many as 30 days. There is between $1,000 to $1,500 in fines and costs. The court usually orders around 40 hours of community service be performed. Drug and alcohol classes are usually mandatory along with the possibility of attending a risk reduction course. Also, follow up drug and alcohol testing may be performed to insure compliance with any course of treatment or order set out by the court.

Does a DUI come off my criminal record?

If a guilty plea is entered or you are found guilty, then a DUI does not come off of your record. However, if you are able to get the charge reduced or are found not guilty then the DUI conviction does not appear on your record. There are other various ways in which a DUI can be kept off your record. This is extremely important for commercial drivers that require an extremely clean driving record.

Can simply hiring a DUI lawyer get my charge reduced or dismissed?

No, just hiring a lawyer does not guarantee and reduction or a dismissal. Even with a lawyer, it is necessary to find a factual or legal defense to defeat or reduce a DUI charge. There is no guarantee this will happen simply by hiring a DUI lawyer.

What guarantees do you make in regards to my DUI?

We do not make any guarantees in regards to the outcome of your DUI charge. We only guarantee that we will fight hard to find any factual or legal defense to defeat or reduce your DUI charge. We also guarantee that we will keep you informed as to the status of your case. Each case is different and we cannot control what the judge or prosecutor will do with regards to your case. It is always best to take any guarantee by an attorney of a good result ahead of time with a grain of salt.

What percentage of your cases do you win?

Although this is a common question, it is not helpful in your particular case. It is irrelevant to your case what a lawyer was able to do for a previous client. Each individual case is different. Each case must be investigated on their own to determine the strength or weakness of any possible defenses for a DUI. Posting a winning percentage for any previous cases has no bearing on the outcome of your case.

What are my odds of beating my DUI?

The odds of beating a DUI are generally low for three main reasons. First, the arresting officer usually has specialized training in regards to DUI. Second, the prosecutor usually makes a campaign priority of punishing DUI offenses. Finally, judges typically wish to punish DUI offenses in order to set an example against future DUI offenders. However, by hiring a knowledgeable DUI lawyer, you can increase the odds of defeating a DUI charge. A lawyer can help raise any possible factual or legal defenses to a DUI charge to help increase the chances of defeating the charge.

Where do you handle DUI cases?

I primarily handle DUI cases in Hall County and the surrounding municipalities. I do not typically handle cases in the Atlanta area and in different parts of the state. This is due to our familiarity with Hall County and the surrounding municipalities. I like to call these venues home games. As in sports, a side usually has a much better chance of victory in a home game as opposed to an away game. This is due to familiarity with the venue itself as well as the key players, i.e. judges and prosecutors, in each of these venues.

What are the costs of a DUI?

There are both direct and indirect costs of a DUI? The indirect costs are increased cost of insurance and lack of job options for having a criminal record. The direct costs are fines, costs of probation, costs of classes, costs of community services, costs of treatment, and other additional costs imposed by the court. The attorney’s costs generally range anywhere from $3,500 to $10,000 depending on what you are looking to do and what your plans are for are for trial.

Does it matter if I was rude or polite to the police officer?

The main thing to remember is that police officers are people too. If you behave rudely to them, then they are much more likely to remember you and object to any potential reduction of the charge against you. If you are polite to the police officer this might or might not affect the charge against you. Although in some circumstances, your politeness might factor in positively in your favor.

Can I win a DUI case if my BAC is over .08?

Yes, this is possible. The primary way this is possible is to either get the BAC thrown out on legal grounds or on grounds that it somehow violated the Constitution. Also the accuracy of the test can be challenged. It is important to note that if the BAC is substantially over .08 it is imperative to get this evidence excluded from trial. If the BAC is taken out of evidence, then the state can proceed under a DUI Less Safe charge. This charge however may not be applicable without the BAC evidence.

Can I be charged with a DUI if my BAC is under .08?

Yes, you can still be charged with DUI. If your BAC is slightly under .08, many times the prosecution will argue that at the time you were pulled over your BAC was .08 or higher. Even though your BAC is under .08, the prosecutor will often still seek a conviction. However, the fact that your BAC was under .08 does weaken the state’s case.

What is implied consent?

In a DUI charge, implied consent is the reading the officer does at the time of arrest letting you know that if you do not submit to testing then your license will be suspended. By receiving a license you consent to having your BAC checked while driving for you license to be valid. By refusing to submit to a BAC test then your license can be revoked through various procedures. It is important to note that there is a difference between implied consent and actual consent. Implied consent is a legal implication by doing something you have implicitly given consent to something. Actual consent is something you have voluntarily given permission to take place.

Can I be charged with a DUI for prescription drugs?

Yes, you can be charged with a DUI for prescription drugs. If you have a prescription, you can be charged with a DUI if you are incapable of driving safely. If you do not have a prescription, you can be charged with a DUI if you are driving less safe. The incapable of driving safely is a much higher burden for the state to meet than the driving less safe burden. This means that if you have a valid prescription then it is extremely important that this be brought before the court.

Is a DUI a criminal conviction?

Yes, a DUI is one of the more serious misdemeanor criminal matters in Georgia. Most judges and prosecutors take this matter very seriously and seek conviction. If you are convicted or plead guilty to DUI, then the conviction goes down on your record as a criminal conviction. The law also explicitly prohibits you from pleading under First Offender to a DUI conviction. It is very important that if your criminal record is important to you, seek a well-trained lawyer in a DUI matter.

Does a prior DUI matter?

Yes, prior DUIs matter for a number of reasons. Prior DUIs matter because they make the judge and prosecutor think there might be a public safety hazard by allowing someone with multiple DUIs to be on the road. Under Georgia law, there are certain mandatory minimum sentences that must be given if you have more than one DUI sentence in the last 10 years. This mandatory minimum sentence is greater than would be the case if this was your first DUI offense.

Can I be arrested for DUI if there is not alcohol in my system?

Yes. If there is no alcohol in your system, many times the officer will suspect that there are drugs (either legal or illegal) in your system. The officer can arrest if there is probable cause for this arrest to occur. The presence of alcohol is important for an arrest of DUI alcohol. However, DUI alcohol is only one in a number of possible DUIs, and the presence of alcohol is not necessary to be arrested and charged under these other types of DUI.

How long will I be in jail on a DUI charge?

Usually after a DUI arrest you will spend anywhere from 4 to 24 hours in jail. If you are convicted or plead guilty for a first time DUI offense you would usually have to go back to jail for an additional day. If you have more than one DUI on your record then your jail time could range anywhere from 10 to 90 days. Under Georgia law, a DUI is a misdemeanor and is punishable by 12 months or less in jail and a fine of $1,000 or less. However, this maximum penalty is reserved for offenders with a history of DUI offenses and is very rare.

How long does it take to get a temporary Drivers License?

There are two types of temporary Drivers License. The first is where the office gives you a notice of the intent to suspend your license at the time of arrest. This notice must be appealed. A hearing would then take place to suspend this notice in order to get a temporary license. Before the trial is held, the ticket or notice itself can serve as a temporary license. After a conviction or plea, a temporary license can be obtained that day. You must go to the Department of Drivers Services and present them with the affidavit of first conviction.

Why were my Miranda Rights not read?

It is a common misconception that Miranda Rights must be read in all arrest situations, however this is not the case. Generally a DUI does not require the testimony of the defendant and therefore Miranda Rights do not apply. Usually there is not a custodial arrest or detention of the defendant until after much of the evidence is already obtained. This means that much of the evidence comes in before it was necessary to read you your Miranda Rights. However, in some cases there can be a good argument that Miranda Rights should have applied due to the actions of the officer. Therefore a well-trained lawyer is often a valuable asset in your DUI defense.

Does refusing a field BAC test mean I’m admitting guilt?

Generally speaking, one can refuse field testing for DUI. Refusing to do a field BAC test by itself is not an admission of guilt. Not submitting to a BAC test alone cannot be used to convict you of a DUI. However, the refusal of any BAC testing can be used against you as a factor for a judge or jury to decide against you when considering the totality of the circumstances in a given case.

 

If you have been arrested for DUI in Hall County, GA please call: 770-783-5296.  Attorney Anne Bishop welcomes any questions about Criminal Defense and Georgia DUI laws.  

About the author:  Anne Bishop is a Northeast Georgia Lawyer with A. Bishop Law, LLC and handles various matters including DUI / DWIMarijuana Arrests and other Georgia Criminal Defense matters.  The law office of Anne Bishop can assist clients throughout Georgia including: Hall County (Gainesville, OakwoodFlowery Branch), Jackson County (Jefferson, Braselton) White County (Helen, Cleveland), Lumpkin County (Dahlonega), and all of Northeast Georgia.

This article should not be considered nor relied upon as legal advice since it is only intended for general overview and informational purposes. Please consult with an attorney on your specific situation in order to determine an appropriate legal course of action.

Anne Bishop, Attorney at Law
A. Bishop Law, LLC
539 Green Street NW
Gainesville,Georgia
30501
US
Phone: (770) 783-5296