Understanding What a DUI Is & How it can Impact Your Future
A DUI—or Driving Under the Influence—charge is undoubtedly serious, and can negatively impact numerous aspects of your life for decades to come. Understanding what a DUI is, what can lead to a DUI, and what to expect when facing DUI charges are essential components to protecting your rights and ensuring the best possible outcome in your case.
A DUI arrest can happen to anyone at anytime, and usually when you least expect it, so even if you aren’t currently facing charges, read on to learn more about what to expect if you are ever faced with DUI charges in the future.
What is a DUI?
In the vast majority of cases, a DUI is going to refer to a charge related to operating a vehicle while there is too much alcohol in your system. In the state of Georgia, as with most states, the legal limit is a .08% Blood Alcohol Content level (BAC) if you are over 21 and operating a normal vehicle, .04% if you are operating a commercial vehicle, and .02% if you are under the age of 21. In all cases you can be charged if your BAC is too high within three hours of driving a vehicle. A DUI can also apply, however, to driving under the influence of drugs (legal or illegal) or other substances, and it can apply to most types of vehicles—including boats. Virtually every DUI charge will begin with a simple traffic stop by a police officer. If they suspect you have been drinking, or are otherwise impaired, they will likely ask you to take a field sobriety test.
There are quite a few different types of field sobriety tests at the disposal of the police. They range from a breathalyzer to physical tests such as walking a straight line. These tests are designed to determine whether or not someone is likely over the legal limit, or otherwise too impaired to operate a vehicle. You have certain rights concerning field sobriety tests, and understanding those rights is essential. If you’ve already experienced a field sobriety test and ‘failed,’ all is not lost. They are oftentimes unreliable or subjective, and there are a variety of defenses that can be used against this type of evidence. Click here to learn more about field sobriety tests.
One of the first things that is going to happen following a DUI arrest and failure of a chemical test is the automatic confiscation and suspension of your driver’s license. In Georgia, you only have ten days to appeal this suspension so that you can be granted a temporary permit allowing you to drive until your case is resolved. If you plead guilty or are convicted, however, you will face at minimum an automatic administrative driver’s license suspension of one year for a first time offense, and potentially a much longer suspension or permanent revocation depending on the circumstances. To learn more about DUI driver’s license suspension, click here.
If you’re convicted of Driving Under the Influence (or plead guilty), having your driver’s license suspended is just one of the many penalties that you may be facing. The specific penalties will depend largely on how impaired you are found to be, whether or not this is your first offense, and a variety of other factors. The most effective way to reduce or eliminate penalties related to a DUI charge is to fight the charges aggressively, which we will do on your behalf. Learn more about potential DUI Penalties on this page.
A DMV hearing is an administrative proceeding that applies exclusively to your driving privileges, and not any criminal charges related to the DUI. In most cases, the DMV hearing will occur well before a DUI court date. These hearings can look at a variety of evidence and factor in many things when determining whether a driver’s license should be suspended. For example, even if your license has been suspended you may be able to get an exemption to allow you to drive to work. Click here to learn more about DMV Hearings.
Contact Us for a Free DUI Consultation
When facing a DUI charge, it is essential to have experienced representation advocating on your behalf throughout the process. Contact us to schedule a free consultation with a skilled DUI attorney.