The holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year for police and prosecutors in Georgia when it comes to arresting and prosecuting individuals accused of driving under the influence (DUI). National statistics show that drunk driving-related accidents and deaths spike during the holiday season; and, as a result, law enforcement agencies in Georgia and across the country ramp up their enforcement efforts from Thanksgiving through the New Year.
So, what do you need to know if you have been arrested for DUI during the holidays in Georgia? First and foremost, the fact that DUI cases are more common this time of year does not mean that you can expect your case to be handled any differently than it otherwise would. The prosecutor’s office will fight for a conviction; and, if you are found guilty, the judge will not go easy on you in the holiday spirit. You need to hire an attorney who can defend you to the fullest extent possible; and, if you choose not to, then you need to be prepared to live with the consequences for years to come.
What Do You Need to Know if You Have Been Arrested for DUI in Georgia?
It happened. You got pulled over, and you got charged with a DUI. What do you need to know in order to defend yourself and avoid increasing your chances of getting convicted in Richmond County court?
1. In Georgia, a DUI is a Criminal Offense.
In some states, driving under the influence is prosecuted as a traffic offense. But, this is not the case in Georgia. Under Georgia law, DUI is minimally a misdemeanor. However, there are various circumstances under which a DUI can be a felony charge. For example, if you are being accused of causing an accident while driving under the influence, you could be facing felony penalties.
2. Your Breathalyzer and Field Sobriety Test Results Will Be Used Against You – Unless You Challenge Them Effectively.
When you got pulled over, did the officer who stopped you take a breath sample? Did he or she ask you to perform the field sobriety tests (FSTs)? If so, the prosecutor’s office will almost certainly use your test results against you – unless you find a way to challenge the accuracy or admissibility of your test results in court. While there will not be viable options for challenging breathalyzer and FST results in every case, there are several potential ways to argue that the prosecution’s evidence cannot be used to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
3. Challenging Breathalyzer and FST Results is Not the Only Way to Fight a DUI Charge.
Challenging a breathalyzer and FST results is not the only way to fight a DUI charge in Georgia. In fact, there are several defenses that can be asserted even if your test results appear to clearly indicate that you were impaired at the time of your traffic stop. For more information on the defenses, you may have available, you can read:
- 10 Constitutional Protections that Apply in Georgia Criminal Cases
- 20 Potential Legal Defenses to Criminal Charges in Georgia
4. The Judge and the Prosecutor’s Office Will Not Raise Your Defenses for You.
As a defendant in Georgia’s criminal justice system, it is up to you to defend yourself. Neither the judge nor the prosecutor who has been assigned to your case is in a position to provide you with legal advice or to help you assert the various defenses you may have available. In short, it is up to you to defend yourself, and the most-effective way to do this is to hire an experienced DUI defense attorney to represent you.
5. Mistakes Can Be Costly.
Regardless of whether you are being charged as a first-time offender with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or you caused an accident and already have multiple DUI convictions on your record, making mistakes while your DUI case is pending can be extremely costly. For information about some important mistakes you need to avoid, we encourage you to read:
6. If You Cannot Avoid a Conviction Entirely, You May have Alternative Options Available.
Let’s say you were driving with a BAC above the legal limit, and your arresting officer carefully followed the letter of the law. The prosecution’s evidence is irrefutable, and it appears that there is a very strong chance you will be convicted at trial. If this is the case (which is not something you should ever assume on your own), then you may be able to participate in the Richmond County State Court DUI Court Program(or another similar program) in order to mitigate the consequences of your arrest.
7. Your Defense Needs to Take Precedence Over Holiday Planning and Travel.
It’s the holiday season. You want to spend time with your loved ones, and you might be thinking about traveling. While your DUI case does not need to consume your entire life, you do need to give it the time and attention it deserves. Among other considerations, if you have a court date scheduled for when you are planning to be out of town, you should be prepared to adjust your plans unless and until your attorney advises you otherwise.
While dealing with a DUI charge is a hassle, dealing with the consequences of a DUI conviction can negatively impact your life for years to come. To make sure that the impacts of your DUI arrest are no greater than necessary, contact Davis, Chapman, & Wilder, LLC to discuss your case today.
Speak with an Augusta, GA DUI Defense Lawyer at Davis, Chapman, & Wilder, LLC
For more information about protecting yourself after a DUI arrest in Richmond County, contact the Augusta, GA law offices of Davis, Chapman, & Wilder, LLC for a confidential consultation. To speak with one of our experienced DUI defense lawyers as soon as possible, call us at 706-200-1578 or inquire online now.