Lumpkin County DUI FAQs
Lumpkin County makes many, many arrests for DUI. Those arrested are often people like you and me: law-abiding citizens. These are individuals who had absolutely no intention of breaking the law.
If you've been charged with a DUI in Lumpkin County, here are some of the most commonly asked questions we get from our clients when we first meet them about their DUI charge.
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 immediately.
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 Lumpkin County, Georgia?
You can refuse a breathalyzer test. There are two types of breathalyzers:
(1) the portable breathalyzer that the police have with them on the scene.
- 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 DUI. You can refuse this test without any worries whatsoever (and you should always refuse them).
(2) the breathalyzer at the police station.
- These are not portable and are only located at the police station (after you have been read the implied consent warning by the officer). You can refuse this breath test (and you should). You should know, however, that refusal of this breath test carries with it significant consequences. Those consequences are: your Georgia driver's license will be suspended for one year. If your refuse this breath test, the officer is supposed to take your plastic license from you. The officer is then supposed to give you a piece of paper that says "DEPARTMENT OF DRIVER SERVICES" at the top. This is called a "Form 1205." It is absolutely essential that you know this: you only have thirty (30) days to challenge this one year 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 Lumpkin County, Georgia?
Absolutely, yes. In fact, you should always refuse to do field sobriety tests.
After a DUI arrest in Lumpkin 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 were arrested for DUI and you refuse a breathalyzer, blood test, or urine test (or if 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 an intoxicated driving offense.
- 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."
- For your second offense, your driver's license will be suspended for 18 months. You are eligible for a work permit after 120 days (but an ignition interlock device must be installed for 12 months).
What happens after a drunk driving arrest in Lumpkin County?
If you are arrested for drunk driving, what happens next depends on the facts and circumstances. Your case may go to the Lumpkin Municipal Court first, although some cases go directly to the Lumpkin County Superior Court.
You will be able to tell where your case is going by looking at your citation (about halfway down) to see where you are supposed to appear.
As anyone who knows anything about criminal defense in Georgia will tell you: you need a local lawyer to represent you. Brett Willis has been practicing in North Georgia since 2005. Give us a call now to talk with Brett about your charges.
Also, take a look at our past case results to see how we have done in Lumpkin County.
Can I beat a drunk driving charge in Lumpkin 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 latter 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 their 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 DUI defense attorney to help you beat an intoxicated driving charge. These cases can be highly technical, as much as legally complex.
Can I just plead guilty to the DUI at my first court date in the Lumpkin County Municipal Court?
The court date listed on your citation is called an arraignment. An arraignment is a hearing where you can plead guilty, no contest, or not guilty. You can plead guilty, but the real question is whether you should. To us, tt would be a mistake to plead guilty without the counsel of a DUI lawyer in Lumpkin 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 DUI 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 Lumpkin 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 is 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.
Here, 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. Call us now at (770) 249-4405 . The consultation is totally free.