First-Time DUI Offense, Commerce, Georgia
Below are five basic steps you should follow if ever pulled over for suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) in Georgia.
- Pull over. Any time you see emergency lights flashing in your rearview mirror, slow down, use your turn signal, and find a safe place to pull over as soon as possible. Pull over as far as is safely possible to give space for the officer to approach your vehicle without being in the way of passing traffic.
- Be respectful. As with any traffic stop, it is wise to respectfully communicate with the officer who has stopped you. With the increased use of body cameras and voice recorders, your statements and actions can easily be submitted as evidence. In a DUI case, acts of belligerence may be used as evidence to support a claim of intoxication.
- Watch what you say. Refrain from providing incriminating evidence. If you are suspected of DUI, it is likely the officer will ask you a question like “Have you been drinking tonight?” Any affirmative response you give to this question can be used as evidence against you. Do not lie! If it is later proven you have been drinking, a false statement will work against you. Instead, respectfully avoid the question with a response of “I’ve been advised not to answer that question.” You should also limit your verbal interactions with the officer to only providing answers to questions asked of you. The more discussion you have, the more opportunity you are giving the officer to uncover evidence to support a claim of intoxication, such as slurred speech.
- Decline any field sobriety tests. If a police officer suspects you of DUI, they will attempt to get your consent for field sobriety tests that are intended to assess your balance, hand and/or eye coordination, ability to follow instruction, and additional factors associated with being under the influence. It is your right to decline these tests and that refusal cannot be held against you in court. Additionally, you should decline any requests to take a field breathalyzer test; these tests are unreliable. However, the law does assume you will submit to a breathalyzer or blood test following a DUI arrest at either the police station or hospital. Failure to do so will result in an automatic 12-month driver’s license suspension.
- Call a first-offense OUI/DUI attorney. If you have been arrested for DUI, make it known right away that you wish to speak with an attorney. This request will not stop the process of the arrest but will put your request on record. Contact a skilled DUI attorney as soon as possible to get to work on your case and mitigate the potential outcome of a DUI arrest.
DUI Definition and Penalties
In the State of Georgia, DUI is defined as operating or being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle “while under the influence” of alcohol, drugs, or a controlled substance. Having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or greater, for most drivers of legal drinking age, will result in a DUI charge; as will a BAC of .02% or greater for drivers under the age of 21. No equivalent of a BAC test exists for illegal drugs or controlled substances, however, police have means of observation and investigation to support DUI arrests for these substances.
A first-offense DUI conviction is considered a serious traffic violation in Georgia, penalties include:
- Ten days to 12 months jail time
- $300 to $1,000 in fines
- Minimum 20 hours of community service
- 12-month driver’s license suspension with possible reinstatement after 120 days
- 12-month probation, minus jail time served
- Drug and alcohol clinical evaluation and possible treatment
Top DUI lawyers near you can help with navigating your DUI charge. They will comb through evidence to negotiate a lesser charge, favorable penalties, or dismissal.
If you have recently been charged with DUI in the Commerce, Georgia area, contact George C. Creal, Jr. P.C. to have a first conviction DUI attorney evaluate your case. Don’t delay, call today.