In Hall County, Georgia, there are many, many arrests made daily for DUI. What's different about these cases is: those arrested are often people like you and me (law-abiding citizens who had absolutely no intention of breaking the law).
What you need to know is this: if you're charged with a DUI in Hall County, you need a local lawyer to handle your case. We are located on the square in downtown Gainesville and we've been defending people in Hall County since 2005. Contact us at (770) 249-4405 to learn more about how we will help you.
In the meantime, here are some of the most commonly asked questions we get from our clients about their Hall County DUI charges.
Where will my Hall County DUI court hearing be held?
Your case may go first to the Gainesville Municipal Court, Flowery Branch Municipal Court, or the Oakwood Municipal Court. However, some cases go directly to the Hall County State Court. You can determine what court your case will go to first by examining your DUI Citation. About halfway down on the citation you will see a court date and time (and location). Sometimes, the officer doesn't put down time/location on the citation. Call us to find out where your case is going.
If you cannot get a favorable result in the Gainesville Municipal Court, Flowery Branch Municipal Court, or the Oakwood Municipal Court, the law allows you to "remove" the case to the Hall County State Court. This is because you have a right to a trial by jury. And, in the Gainesville Municipal Court, Flowery Branch Municipal Court, or the Oakwood Municipal Court, there are no juries.
Often clients will go to Gainesville Municipal Court, Flowery Branch Municipal Court, or the Oakwood Municipal Court and decide they want their case to be removed to the Hall County State Court for a jury trial.
What is “blood alcohol content” level?
Blood alcohol content (BAC) is a measurement of the amount of alcohol found in the blood expressed as a percentage. It is calculated in grams per 210 liters of breath, and a BAC of 0.08 means there is 0.08% alcohol by volume. Measuring BAC is a way for law enforcement to calculate the amount of alcohol someone has had and their ability to drive a motor vehicle.
What are my rights during DUI traffic stops?
If you are pulled over due to suspicion of drunk driving or pulled over for a traffic stop and then the police officer suspects intoxicated driving, you should remember you have certain rights as a U.S. citizen. Namely,
- The driver and any passengers have the right to remain silent (except you must show the police your driver's license, registration, and proof of insurance upon request); and
- If you are a passenger, you are free to leave.
If you are arrested or detained, you have additional rights, including Miranda warnings.
- You can say you wish to remain silent and ask for a lawyer
If you believe your rights were violated in any way, try to write down everything you remember, including the police officer's agency (state police, county police, etc.), badge number, and patrol car number.
Can I refuse a breathalyzer test in Hall County, Georgia?
You can refuse a breathalyzer test. It is important to know that there are two types of breath tests:
(1) The hand-held breath test police will often ask you to take right there on the side of the road. These are portable instruments police have with them to test your breath for alcohol. The results of these tests are not admissible if you are, in fact, arrested and charged with an intoxicated driving offense. And, according to a recent Georgia appellate case, your refusal to take this portable breath test is also not admissible (meaning the jury will not be told that you refused to take this test).
(2) The Intoxilyzer breath test (this large machine is located at the police station). You can refuse to take this breath test as well. And, just like the portable breath test, your refusal to take the test cannot be used against you at a trial. However, refusal of the non-portable breathalyzer, carries with it significant consequences. Those consequences are: the police officer can take away your plastic license and give you a notice that your Georgia driver's license will be suspended for one year. If the police officer took away your plastic license you only have thirty (30) days to challenge this suspension. This is where we can help. Call us now to save your driver's license. This is absolutely critical. Do not let the 30 days run out on you!
What are standardized field sobriety tests (FSTs)?
Standardized field sobriety tests (FSTs) are tests approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). These tests are allegedly designed to help police determine whether a driver is intoxicated or not.
There are three standardized FSTs:
- the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test (HGN test)
- the One-Leg Stand Test (OLS test)
- the Walk-and-Turn Test
The results of these tests may be used as evidence against you in an intoxicated driving case. Non-standardized tests, on the other hand, are not validated by NHTSA and may not admissible as evidence.
Non-standardized FSTs include:
- finger to nose test
- the finger count test
- the hand pat test
- the alphabet test
- the reverse counting test
- the coin pickup test
Can I refuse field sobriety tests in Georgia?
Absolutely, yes. In fact, you should always refuse to do field sobriety tests. You have rights, assert them!
After a DUI arrest in Hall County, will my driver's license be suspended or revoked?
There are two different types of suspensions. The first is an administrative suspension, Georgia law permits the officer to suspend your license if you are arrested for DUI and you refuse a breathalyzer, blood test, or urine test (or if you consent to the breathalyzer and have a BAC over a certain level). This means you can lose your driving privileges even when you have not been found guilty of DUI. This is where you absolutely must call us prior to 30 calendar days from your arrest. We can, and will, challenge this suspension in court -- all with the goal of saving your ability to drive.
The other type of suspension occurs when you are convicted of DUI.
- For your first offense (within the past 5 years), if you are over 21 years of age, the suspension lasts 120 days but you are eligible for a "work permit" right away.
- For your second offense, your driver's license will be suspended for 18 months. You are eligible for a work permit, but only after 120 days.
What happens after a drunk driving arrest in Hall County?
If you are arrested for drunk driving, what happens next depends on the facts and circumstances. Your case may go to the Gainesville Municipal Court, Flowery Branch Municipal Court, or the Oakwood Municipal Court first, although some cases go directly to the Hall County State Court.
DUI defense lawyer Brett Willis has been practicing in Hall County since 2005. Give us a call now to talk with Brett about your Hall County DUI charges.
Can I beat a drunk driving charge in Hall County, Georgia?
Absolutely yes. We have an incredible record of doing just that.
It is possible to beat a drunk driving charge, although it is not typically an easy process. It will require a thorough understanding of the law and a thorough understanding of the technical nature of field sobriety tests, breath tests, blood tests, and urine tests. Understanding the tests is critical to identifying errors (technical or human-made errors) to highlight the unreliability of the results.
Aside from errors or unreliable test results, you may have had your constitutional rights violated. This happens more often than you might imagine. A violation can lead to the inadmissibility of some or all evidence. Without sufficient evidence, the case will be dismissed, or a jury may return with an acquittal.
You will need a drunk driving defense attorney to help you beat an intoxicated driving charge.
Can I just plead guilty to drunk driving?
An arraignment is a hearing where the defendant can plead guilty, no contest, or not guilty. You can plead guilty, but the real question is whether you should or not. It would be a mistake to plead guilty at this time, especially without the counsel of a drunk driving lawyer in Hall County, and there are multiple reasons for this.
- If you plead guilty immediately, you lose any opportunity to fight the DUI charge.
- If you plead guilty immediately, you also lose any opportunity for a plea deal, if that is what would be best in your unique circumstances.
- The sentencing is often harsher when given in response to a plea of guilty during the arraignment, as opposed to what a plea deal would entail or a sentencing after a conviction would impose. The reason is simple: you have time to mitigate and negotiate.
If it's your first drunk driving charge, it can be tempting to plead guilty right away so that you can get the case over faster and get on with your life. But if you do not fight to get the charge dismissed or reduced, you will have your first drunk driving charge. With the latter on your record, you want to keep in mind that subsequent DUI convictions will assuredly lead to harsher penalties.
Do I need a drunk driving lawyer in Hall County, Georgia to win my DUI case?
If you plan to fight your drunk driving charges, it is in your best interest to have an attorney represent you. The law can be complex. The evidence can be highly technical and scientific. Police and state expert testimony can be damaging. All these things can lead to a conviction, unless you have the necessary skills and knowledge to successfully counter them.
We know the law and the technical, scientific make-up of field sobriety tests, blood tests, breath tests, and urine tests. We also know how to identify and proactively address any constitutional rights violations to benefit your case. Contact our us at our downtown Gainesville office today at (770) 249-4405 . The consultation is totally free.