Athens DUI Attorney
Facing DUI Charges in Athens?
Are you concerned about how a drunk driving charge could affect your license, employment, or educational opportunities? If so, contact Athens criminal defense lawyer J. Lee Webb today for experienced legal help today.
Georgia DUI lawyer J. Lee Webb has dedicated his entire career to defending those accused of a crime. He believes that everyone is entitled to a strong legal defense, and will stop at nothing to ensure that is exactly what his client receives. For years, J. Lee Webb has helped clients through even the most complex DUI cases.
For a free consultation and to learn more about our affordable payment plans, contact an experienced Athens DUI defense lawyer from our firm at (706) 705-5122.
What Is Considered Driving Under the Influence in Georgia?
In Georgia, there are several different ways to charge someone with DUI, and often, more than one DUI charge is brought at a time. One type of charge is a "per se" violation. This simply means that the offender is driving over the legal limit of .08.
Another possible charge is "less safe". This means the suspect is for driving under the influence to the extent that he is less safe to drive. This can be alcohol or drugs (legal prescriptions or illegal). Paints, glues or inhalants are also possibilities.
Depending on the circumstances of your arrest, you should consult with a lawyer who understands the complexities of marijuana and drug defense, as well as alcohol-related DUIs.
What Are Field Sobriety Tests?
One of the ways that law enforcement tests whether a driver is drunk is by putting the suspected drunk driver through a battery of roadside tests, commonly known as field sobriety testing. You may have seen field sobriety tests on TV or in internet videos, but may not know exactly what is going on.
Types of Field Sobriety Tests
There are three field sobriety tests: the one-leg-stand, the walk and turn test, and the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test. These tests were developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as a nationwide standard for determining the likelihood that a suspected drunk driver is under the influence of alcohol to the degree that their ability to safely operate the vehicle has been compromised.
Like any responsible government body, the NHTSA has engaged in research concerning the accuracy of field sobriety tests. "Accuracy" correlates to when police officers correctly determine, based on the suspected drunk driver's performance during field sobriety tests, that the driver is legally intoxicated.
One Leg Stand
This test requires that a driver stand on one leg, with the other leg bent at the knee so that the other foot is approximately six inches off the ground; the driver must then balance in this position for 30 seconds.
During the NHTSA's research, it was determined that police officers correctly identify intoxicated drivers about 83% of the time when using the one-leg-stand test.
Walk and Turn
To perform this test, a suspect must walk in a straight line nine paces heel-to-toe, turn about on one leg only, and return nine paces in a straight line.
According to the NHTSA's research, law enforcement correctly identify legally intoxicated drivers 79% of the time with the walk and turn test.
Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus
This eye test involves an officer observing the involuntary movements of a suspect's eyes. The NHTSA has found that law enforcement can correctly indentify a drunk driver by using the HGN test 88% of the time.
Overall, according to the NHTSA, law enforcement is about 90% accurate when using field sobriety tests to determine whether a driver is legally intoxicated. When police judgment is a factor concerning a suspected driver's state of intoxication, it means that there is plenty of room for the officer to make a mistake. When you are facing DUI charges after participating in field sobriety tests, you need to reach out to an Athens field sobriety attorney as quickly as possible.
DUI Penalties in Georgia
Georgia state law establishes different penalties for each DUI conviction, meaning with each subsequent conviction, the potential legal penalties increase. The specifics of your case, as well as any prior DUI convictions, will determine how aggressive the prosecutor is in seeking a conviction and punishment.
1st Offense DUI
If you are convicted of your first DUI charge, you could face:
- 24 hours to one year in jail
- $300-$1,000 fine
- up to one year driver's license suspension
- minimum of 40 hours community service
- DUI school
2nd Offense DUI
If you are convicted of your second DUI charge, you could face:
- three days to one year in jail
- $600-$1,000 fine
- Minimum of 240 hours community service
- (If 2nd in a 5 year period) up to three years driver's license suspension
- possible requirement for installation an ignition interlock vehicle device
- lose the tags to any cars owned
- Picture in the paper
3rd Offense DUI
f you are convicted of your third DUI charge, you could face:
- 15 days to one year in jail
- $1,000-$5,000 fine
- Up to five years driver's license suspension
- Mandatory installation of an ignition interlock vehicle device
If convicted of a DUI, even for a first offense, you will quickly learn that legal penalties are not the only negative consequences you may encounter. A criminal conviction could result in losing your job, or having trouble finding employment in the future. For students, a conviction may lead to a loss of your H.O.P.E. scholarship.
Understanding Underage DUI
Drivers under the age of 21 may face additional charges related to alcohol possession. If police find evidence that you consumed alcohol, you could face an M.I.P. (minor in possession) charge. These separate charges could also lead to serious legal penalties upon conviction.
Georgia Implied Consent Law
Under Georgia's implied consent law, any driver in Georgia who refuses a breathalyzer test is subject to an administrative license suspension. In addition to the license suspicion, the refusal of the test could be used against you in court.
If you have refused a breathalyzer test it is important that you contact a DUI lawyer in Athens as soon as possible. Attorney Webb's uniquely professional and empathetic approach has earned him recognition as one of the Top Attorneys in Georgia by Super Lawyers. Contact Attorney Webb today, and discuss your DUI case with an experienced and highly skilled Athens defense lawyer.
If you have been charged with DUI, contact our DUI defense attorney in Athens to set up a free case evaluation. Call (706) 705-5122 today.
We understand both the procedure of drug & alcohol tests, and the science behind them
Attorney Webb has earned numerous awards for his standard of excellence.
Clients receive Attorney Webb's personal cell phone & email address.
We have over 25 years of legal experience.
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