Getting charged with a DUI can be a scary experience, which is why you need a Dahlonega, Georgia DUI attorney on your side. This is especially true if you consider all Georgia's punishments for first-time offenders. Fines, probation, community service, mandatory DUI school, and more will all be waiting for you if you get convicted.
If you don't want to face these negative effects, we highly recommend calling us at Brett Willis Law. Brett Willis has years of experience, having worked on tough cases since 2005. He specializes in DUI law and is skilled at finding the needed evidence to make a persuasive argument on your behalf. Give us a call to get a free consultation with a Dahlonega DUI attorney today.
What Is a DUI in Dahlonega?
DUI is short for “driving under the influence.” If you were charged with a DUI, it means an officer suspects you were driving while intoxicated or on drugs. In some states, a DUI is separate from a DWI, or “driving while intoxicated.” The difference between the two is based on your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test results, with a DWI requiring a higher BAC than a DUI.
However, Georgia is not a state that differentiates between DWIs and DUIs. Instead, the BAC test (or lack thereof) determines whether you get charged with a DUI less safe or a per se DUI.
DUI Less Safe vs. Per Se DUI
A per se DUI is something that you're automatically charged with when your BAC is 0.08% or higher. If you were on drugs, then you could be charged with a per se DUI regardless of what test results show.
Meanwhile, you can get charged with a DUI less safe if an officer determines that a substance has impaired your driving abilities. You could have a BAC level of less than 0.08% or no test results at all and still get charged with a DUI less safe.
What to Do After Getting Charged with a DUI
Most Georgians who are charged with a DUI have never been charged with a crime before. At Brett Willis Law, we understand that it can be a confusing and bewildering experience. If you're unsure what to do after getting charged with a DUI, follow these three steps so you're ready for your court case.
1. Process Your Situation
Before anything else, it's helpful to pause and process your situation. Many thoughts might be running through your mind, like “What will happen to my license?” and “What is the punishment for a DUI conviction?” It can be easy to feel flustered in the face of all these questions and doubts. Take a breath and remember that while you might not be able to answer these questions now, a lawyer will be able to.
2. See Where Your Case is Going
Once you feel a little more calm about your situation, you'll need to check your citation. About halfway down the citation, you'll see a court location. It's very likely going to be the Dahlonega Municipal Court, and if so, it will be listed there. If not, you may be going to the Lumpkin County Superior Court right away.
3. Call a DUI Attorney As Soon As Possible
After you know where you're going first, it's a good idea to reach out to a lawyer as soon as possible. Georgia has what's called the 30-day rule, which allows a lawyer to send an appeal within 30 days of your arrest date to halt the suspension of your license. If you do nothing within this 30-day window, your license will be suspended for up to a year. Find a Dahlonega, Georgia DUI attorney like Brett Willis that specializes in DUIs and can help you try and save your license.
What to Look for in a Dahlonega, Georgia DUI Attorney
Getting any lawyer who claims to specialize in DUIs isn't enough. If you want the best chance of getting acquitted, there are a few qualities you should look for in a Dahlonega, Georgia DUI attorney. Find someone who:
Knows the Local Jurisdiction
You should find an attorney who knows your local jurisdiction well. They should be someone who's been to your court before and knows the prosecutors, judges, and people in the probation office. Familiarity with these people is important, because it enables them to tailor arguments based on the knowledge they have of them.
Understands DUI Law
Besides that, you need to find someone who's an expert in DUI law. They shouldn't just understand the current laws, they should also know all the new and developing issues in the field.
Can Make Arguments Before a Jury
If your case is transferred to the Lumpkin County Superior Court or goes there right away, you need a lawyer who can take a case to a jury and make an argument for you. They should be able to explain to the members of your local community that you were not driving drunk or under the influence of drugs and that you have the right to go home.
Do you need a knowledgeable and skilled lawyer who exhibits all of these characteristics? If so, call Brett Willis Law today. We are advocates who work tirelessly to ensure you have the best chance of getting acquitted. Contact us today to find out more and schedule a free consultation.
Cost of a Dahlonega, Georgia DUI Attorney
By far, one of the most common questions we get at Brett Willis Law is, “How much does it cost to get a DUI lawyer in Dahlonega?” Whenever someone asks us this, we always ask them to rephrase the question. The real question you should be asking is, “How much would it cost me to lose my case and get a DUI conviction?”
Punishments for First-Time DUI Offenses
Georgia has some tough laws regarding DUI cases, even for first-time offenders. Here are the punishments you'll face if you get convicted of a single DUI:
- A permanent criminal record
- Not being able to get jobs that require driving
- Higher insurance costs
- Potentially losing a commercial driver's license (CDL) for up to a year
- Fines up to $1,000
- Going to jail for at least 24 hours
You'll have the best chance of avoiding these outcomes if you call a skilled Dahlonega, Georgia DUI attorney from Brett Willis Law.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a DUI a Misdemeanor or Felony?
DUIs are considered misdemeanors in Georgia. They're only considered felonies when it's your fourth or subsequent DUI offense in the course of 10 years.
Can DUIs Be Expunged?
In Georgia, no, DUIs can't be expunged. Once you have a DUI on your record, it will remain there for the rest of your life.
Can I Still Drive If My License Gets Suspended?
Under normal circumstances, no, you won't be able to drive if your license gets suspended. However, you can try to get a work permit, which allows you to drive only in specific circumstances.
Is Jail Time Mandatory for a First DUI in Georgia?
Yes, 24 hours of jail time is the mandatory minimum for first-time DUI offenders.