Gwinnett County DUI FAQs
In Gwinnett County Georgia, there are many, many arrests made daily for DUI. What's different about this cases is this: those arrested are often people like you and me (law-abiding citizens who have absolutely no intention of breaking the law).
We routinely represent individuals charged with DUI in Gwinnett County.
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 Gwinnett County 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. 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. (Read our Miranda Rights page for more information)
- 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 Gwinnett County?
You can refuse a breathalyzer test. It is important to know that there are two types of breath tests:
(1) Portable breath tests the officer will try to get you to take right there on the side of the road. These are known as PBTs (portable breath tests). The actual results of these tests are not admissible if you are, in fact, arrested and charged with DUI. You absolutely can refuse to take this breath test. And, thanks to a recent Georgia case, your refusal to take a PBT is also not admissible!
(2) The Intoxilyzer Breath Test -- this is a breath test machine that is located at the police station (after you have been arrested for DUI and read the Implied Consent notice). You absolutely can refuse to take this breath test. Refusal of the breathalyzer machine at the police station, however, carries with it significant consequences. Those consequences are: your Georgia driver's license will be suspended for one year. The officer is supposed to take away your plastic license and give you a form that says "Department of Driver Services" at the top. If this happened to you, you 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 Gwinnett County, Georgia?
Absolutely, yes. In fact, you should always refuse to do field sobriety tests.
After a DUI arrest in Gwinnett County, Georgia, 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 driving while intoxicated or under the influence of a chemical substance. 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 Gwinnett?
If you are arrested for drunk driving, what happens next depends on the facts and circumstances. Your DUI case may go to one of the many Gwinnett County municipal courts first (see list of Gwinnett Municipal Courts list).
Most Gwinnett DUI cases go to the Gwinnett Recorder's Court first, although some DUI cases go directly to the Gwinnett State Court. Call us to help you determine where your case is going first.
Can I have a jury trial in the Gwinnett Recorder's Court?
No. The only "trial" you can have in the Gwinnett Recorder's Court is a trial by judge (called a "bench trial").
The Gwinnett Recorder's Court (and all of Gwinnett's many municipal courts) are not courts that have jury trials as an option.
What happens in practice is this: you go to one of these courts first. If you are unable to get a favorable resolution, you can demand a jury trial and your case will be sent to the Gwinnett State Court.
Can I beat a drunk driving charge in Gwinnett County, Georgia?
Absolutely yes. We have an incredible record of doing just that. Check out our Client Stories page to see our past results.
It is definitely 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 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. These cases can be highly technical, as much as legally complex. We talk to people every day who in your exact situation, and we're standing by to hear from you, give us a call .
Can I just plead guilty to DUI at the Gwinnett County Recorder's Court?
The court hearing that is listed on your citation for DUI is called an arraignment.
An arraignment is a hearing where the defendant can plead guilty, no contest, or not guilty. Understand that you can plead guilty, but the real question is whether you should or not. To us, it would be a mistake to plead guilty, especially without the counsel of a DUI lawyer in Gwinnett, 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 DUI lawyer in Gwinnett County 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.
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.
This is about winning, saving your license, and saving your ability to work and provide for your family. Contact us now . We're standing by to hear from you about the facts of your case. Call us at (770) 249-4405 to schedule a free consultation and get honest advice on your best legal options. Or, send us a quick, confidential message here.