Atlanta DUI Lawyer FAQs

As a team of premier Georgia DUI attorneys, we are used to fielding lots of questions about this area of the law. Below, we have answered a few of our most frequently asked questions.

However, please note that these FAQs are provided for informational purposes only, and viewing them does not create a client-attorney relationship with Hawkins Spizman Kilgo. If you would like to learn more about how we can help you as Atlanta DUI attorneys, please contact us at 770.685.6400.

1I've been charged with a DUI. What are my options?

You have two choices: to plead guilty or plead not guilty. We strongly advise you to speak with a Fulton County DUI lawyer, if that is where your case is pending, before making this important decision.

2Why should I plead guilty to driving while intoxicated?

If you plead guilty, you have a 100% chance of being found guilty, and that will lead to serious consequences. By pleading not guilty, you leave the possibility of a better result. With the help of experienced Georgia DUI lawyer, your legal team will have an opportunity to conduct a thorough investigation of all the facts, and ultimately resolve the case through a preliminary hearing, trial, or plea agreement.

3Should I plead guilty to DUI?

If you arrested in Gwinnett County, while we always advise speaking to a Gwinnett County DUI lawyer before taking any action, it may not be in your best interests to plead guilty. That’s because, when you do, you’re giving up any chance of obtaining a not guilty verdict or reaching a more favorable plea agreement.

Should you plead guilty, the court will ask you to agree to waive your constitutional right to a jury trial, an appeal, and protections that prevent you from incriminating yourself. Then the judge will sentence you to jail for somewhere between the minimum and maximum allowable amount of time.  A DUI defense lawyer can help you in plea negotiations where it may be possible to avoid jail, license suspension, or perhaps even the DUI charge on your record.

4What kind of sentence could I receive from a DUI Conviction in Georgia?

The specific penalties you receive from a DUI conviction in Georgia will depend on the offense(s) you are found guilty of, the county you’re and even the judge who hears your case. DUI convictions require, at a minimum, some time in jail, completion of an alcohol safety program, a substantial fine, and probation. If you are arrested in DeKalb County, our chances of a favorable outcome increase significantly when you have the right DeKalb County DUI lawyers on your side.

5What is the legal definition of Driving Under the Influence in Georgia?

The state of Georgia can convict a person of DUI by proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the person was:

  1. Driving or in actual physical control of
  2. any automobile or other motor driven vehicle
  3. on any public road, highway, street, alley, parking lot, or any other premises frequented by the public at large, while
  4. under the influence of any intoxicant (alcohol or drugs), or
  5. with the blood or breath alcohol concentration of .08% or greater, OR
  6. to the extent that the person was less safe to drive.

An experienced Lawrenceville DUI lawyer can help you to analyze and contest the evidence in your case, which in some cases may result in the dismissal of the charges or a reduced plea agreement.

6Am I required to take a field sobriety test?

No. Georgia law does not require you to perform field sobriety tests at the request of an officer. The officer, however, is under no obligation to inform you that such tests are voluntary.

If you are arrested in Sandy Springs, talk to a Sandy Springs DUI attorney if you have other procedural questions about your arrest.  The lawyers at Hawkins Spizman Kilgo practice in the Sandy Springs Court and in Fulton County on a regular basis.

7Could I have selected a blood test rather than a breath test during my DUI stop?

No. In Georgia, the officer has the choice of which chemical test to administer (blood, breath, or urine test).

If, for example, you are charged in Johns Creek, a good Johns Creek DUI attorney may help you to contest the results of a blood alcohol test.  Just because you took the test that the police demanded, does not mean that test is admissible in court.  If the test result is not admissible in court, the judge will not allow the prosecutor to use that evidence against you to try to prove the DUI charge.

8Do I have a legal right to refuse a breath or blood test?

Yes, in certain instances. Any person who drives a motor vehicle in Georgia is deemed, by statute, to have given consent to a chemical test to determine drug or alcohol content of the motorist’s blood. State law also provides that a motorist can refuse to submit to a chemical test. However, as a result of refusal, the motorist could be subject to license suspension. An officer could also obtain a search warrant, which can allow the police to forcibly take a blood sample without your consent.

Suppose you are arrested by the DeKalb County police in Dunwoody, and the police officer did not seem very well-trained in DUI investigations. If you think your field sobriety tests may have been administered incorrectly, it’s important that you speak with a Dunwoody DUI attorney who can evaluate every aspect of your case.

9Do I have a right to consult with a drunk driving attorney prior to taking a chemical test?

No. In Georgia, driver does not have a right to speak with a Georgia DUI attorney or, for example, if arrested in Marietta, with a Marietta DUI lawyer before making the decision whether to submit to a chemical test.

10Do I have a legal right to obtain my own blood alcohol test?

Yes. In Georgia, a person who is given a state-administered chemical test is entitled to obtain additional samples of blood, urine, or other bodily substances at their own request and by qualified personnel of their own choosing. It is necessary that the driver make arrangements to obtain the test, and to have the means to pay for it at the time.

Your Atlanta DUI attorney can work with you even after you have been arrested to obtain the results of a chemical test taken by the police following a DUI stop and arrest.

11I don't recall the officer ever reading me my Miranda rights. Can this influence the outcome of my legal defense?

Possibly. An officer’s obligation to read Miranda rights is triggered by an arrest, or once a person is placed in custody (in other words, not free to leave). If you responded to officer questions or have otherwise been interrogated when under arrest or in custody, absent Miranda warnings, your Georgia DUI lawyer may succeed in keeping your answers out of evidence in court (suppressing such statements).

You should contact an experienced Alpharetta DUI attorney (or a DUI lawyer in the jurisdiction of your arrest) to thoroughly investigate your case and determine if the officer’s failure to read your Miranda rights may impact your case.

12Could my DUI charge be reduced to a lesser charge?

Yes. The answer largely depends on the level of evidence, your driving record, and in many cases, the jurisdiction.  At Hawkins Spizman Kilgo, we have experienced Cobb County DUI lawyers who can work with you to see whether you can plea to a lesser charge in Cobb County.  We have experienced Gwinnett County DUI lawyers that can evaluate the evidence in your case and work toward trying to persuade the prosecutor to consider a lesser charge in Gwinnett County.

13Can a DUI be a felony?

Yes. In Georgia, a fourth or subsequent offense within 10 years is considered a felony.

If you are facing a DUI charge and have been arrested for driving under the influence in the past, it is critical that you have DeKalb County DUI lawyers working on your behalf

14May I drive while my DUI case is pending?

Yes. As long as you possess a valid driver’s license, you may drive in Georgia while your DUI case is pending. Your privilege to drive is suspended only after a DUI conviction, but can be suspended administratively before court for a refusal of a test, or an alcohol content test result above the legal limit. Your license is affected only after a court holds that you have violated the Implied Consent Law or have been convicted of DUI.

If you have specific questions about your driver’s license and/or rights following a DUI arrest in Lawrenceville, for example, speak to an experienced Lawrenceville DUI lawyer at Hawkins Spizman Kilgo who can answer your questions.

15Will a DUI conviction raise my insurance rates?

Yes, quite dramatically. It’s not uncommon for automobile insurance rates to increase 3 to 5 times for a period of up to five years following a DUI conviction. In addition, you might have to search for another insurance company, as your current carrier may drop your coverage.

This is just one more reason that it’s important to have the right Georgia DUI lawyers on your side, helping to protect your freedom and reputation, and to minimize the financial consequences that follow from getting a DUI on your record.

16Will there be a permanent record of my DUI conviction?

Yes. Anyone, including credit agencies and employers, who checks your criminal record will find evidence of your DUI conviction. The conviction is permanent, and unfortunately will remain on your criminal record forever.

For this reason, if you are arrested in Marietta, having the right Marietta DUI attorneys working for you can be an important part of protecting your career and reputation.

17Can my DUI arrest be erased from my criminal record?

In Georgia, DUI can only be erased or expunged if it has been dismissed. If you are convicted, the DUI charge were made in your criminal record forever. Also note that if your DUI is reduced to a lesser charge, your criminal history will reflect that you were originally arrested for DUI, but that the charge was reduced.

Additionally, several specific procedural steps must be taken have a charge expunged from your record. If you qualify for expungement (in other words, if your DUI is dismissed) is you should seek the help of an experienced Atlanta DUI attorney for assistance.

18What effect does a DUI conviction have on my commercial driver's license?

Upon conviction for first-offense DUI, your CDL is suspended for one year. After a second conviction for DUI, your CDL is lost for life.

For help with your specific situation if you are arrested in Roswell, contact the Hawkins team of Roswell DUI lawyers for an initial consultation

19I have a Commercial Driver's License, am I eligible for a restricted license?

No. In the state of Georgia, you cannot obtain a restricted license even if the underlying offense (DUI or Implied Consent Violation) was committed in a non-commercial motor vehicle.

If you have a CDL and are arrested in Cobb County, for example, our team of Cobb County DUI lawyers has extensive experience working with commercial driving DUI defense. Contact us today for personalized consultation.

20How much do private Atlanta DUI lawyers charge?

Different attorneys will charge varying amounts, but fees usually reflect the level of expertise, time, and energy each Georgia DUI attorney spends on the client’s behalf.  Similarly , if a client just wants a lawyer to help them plead Guilty, the legal fees will be far less than if a client wants to hire a lawyer to pursue avoiding a conviction.  Lawyers who charge $2-3,000 or less in metro Atlanta, are likely to do a minimal amount of work in defending the case.  If you want to hire a lawyer to fight the charges, make sure that is what you are getting.  It will cost more, but it may well be worth it in the long run.

Get Help Now!

Schedule your FREE CONSULTATION today! Hawkins Spizman Kilgo will meet with you to evaluate your DUI/DWI case and provide you with an explanation of the law and procedures which are applicable to your case. Every day counts, don’t delay!

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