DUI Lawyer Athens
If you are reading this, there is a good chance you need a DUI lawyer in Athens GA. Athens police officers, as well as officers from the University of Georgia police department, arrest thousands of citizens, students and visitors for driving under the influence ( DUI ) each year. In addition, thousands of arrests are made for minor in possession of alcohol or underage consumption of alcohol, possession of marijuana and other drugs as well citations for open container, public drunk, disorderly conduct and furnishing alcohol to minors. While most of these offenses, including a DUI, are misdemeanors for a first offense, they still carry some hefty punishments and a conviction will be on your record forever. This is where an Athens DUI lawyer can help. Athens prosecutors are notoriously tough on DUI and other crimes and dismissals and reductions are hard to come by. Jail time is almost always required.
Typically, for a first DUI in Athens GA or another misdemeanor, the case initiates in the Athens-Clarke County Municipal Court . This is the first opportunity your Athens DUI attorney has to negotiate with the state and try to work out an agreeable plea bargain. This is not a jury trial court or a court where motions are typically argued. If a favorable plea bargain cannot be reached, the next step is for your DUI lawyer Athens to bind the case over to state court of Athens-Clarke County. It will be probably be a couple of months before you get a new court date and this new date is another arraignment where not much will happen at the actual court appearance. You will typically be assigned a new prosecutor who will begin negotiations with your DUI attorney in Athens GA. In most cases, your DUI attorney Athens can appear at the arraignment on your behalf. This can be very helpful if you live out of town and save you time and travel expenses.
Once again, Athens prosecutors are tough on DUI and drug and alcohol related offenses and typically do not reduce or dismiss charges. If you do not want to accept the plea bargain, then your DUI lawyer in Athens can file motions on your behalf and you will be assigned a motions date. Motions can include motions to suppress or exclude evidence – including statements you may have made to the arresting officer, the results of the blood test, the results of the breath test, the fact that you declined to take a chemical test, etc. Be sure to speak with a knowledgeable DUI attorney in Athens if you have some unfavorable evidence in your case that you wish to have excluded and see if there is a legal basis for your motion. In some instances, motions can be helpful even if the judge does not rule in your favor because your Athens DUI lawyer will have a chance to cross examine your arresting officer. The arresting officer will be giving testimony under oath and cannot later deviate at trial from this testimony without the potential of impeaching himself or herself.
Then there is the option of trial. Many DUI cases go to trial in Athens as reductions to lesser charges are rare from the prosecution. There are many defenses available at trial and an experienced Athens DUI lawyer will be best able to advise you on what may or may not work for your case. In cases where there was no blood or breath test ( or when there was, but the results of the test were excluded at motions), how the defendant looked on the DUI video is key as well as how the arresting officer testifies the drivers performance was on field sobriety evaluations. If you call our Athens DUI lawyers, we can discuss with you the prosecutions playbook and the standards the arresting officer is supposed to follow when administering the field sobriety tests. Without a chemical test, cases are often won if the officer does not seem to know how to properly administer field sobriety tests . We also routinely request the arresting officers training records and history to see if they were properly trained or ever sanctioned for breach of their responsibilities.
If you DUI case concerns a blood or breath test that is well over the legal limit for someone in your category – which is .08 for drivers over the age of 21, .02 for drivers under the age of 21, and .04 for drivers with a commercial drivers license driving in the scope of their job – then it may be wise to hire a good expert to help explain the disparate result. The breath machine that the state of Georgia utilizes, the Intox5000, can be unreliable and inaccurate. The prosecutors on behalf of the state have blind allegiance to it, but in reality, they tend to know very little about how it actually works. A DUI attorney in Athens can help you connect with key experts and mount the best defense possible for trial.
In addition to the court case, a DUI offense typically carries with it a corresponding administrative case against you on behalf of the Georgia Department of Driver Services. Your driver’s license will typically become suspended 30 days following your DUI arrest if you do not file an appeal letter to GA driver services within 10 business days. A DUI lawyer Athens can file this appeal for you as well as represent you in this case.
Richard S. Lawson is a DUI lawyer in Athens Ga that has been representing drivers charged with DUI and alcohol related crimes for 15 years. Prior to being a DUI defense lawyer, he was a DUI prosecuting attorney, so he knows the system well. Call his office 24/7 for a free case consultation.
To avoid suspension of your driver's license, a letter must be sent to the Department of Driver's Services within 10 days of your arrest. If you don't do it, you will lose your driving privilege. Call my office immediately to assure that your right to drive is protected