If you are arrested for drunk driving, would you call a criminal defense attorney or would you call a DUI attorney? Many people do not understand that the two are different. While DUIs are criminal offenses that can be handled by criminal defense attorneys, they are a highly specific area of criminal law. Most state bars and other legal organizations now recognize DUI as its own distinct practice area. If you've recently been arrested for drunk driving, then there are many reasons to hire a DUI attorney rather than a generic criminal defense lawyer.
1. The Intricacies of DUI Laws
Georgia DUI laws can be found in the Motor Vehicles & Traffic section, Title 40 of the Georgia Codes. An attorney who comprehensively understands these statutes will best be able to handle your case. Criminal defense attorneys must be familiar with all the Georgia Penal Codes, whereas a DUI lawyer can concentrate his or her time on Georgia-specific DUI laws. Although drunk driving is illegal in every state, Georgia's DUI laws are unique and distinct from other states' drunk driving statutes.
2. DUIs Are Not Just Criminal Cases; They Are Administrative Cases
One thing that many people do not realize is that DUIs are not only criminal cases, but they are also administrative cases. A DUI is a criminal offense; this is true. A DUI also deals with your driver license, which is an administrative privilege. Because DUIs are both administrative and criminal, there will be an administrative case in addition to a criminal case. Every person who is arrested for drunk driving has the option of requesting an administrative hearing to refuse a license suspension. If the driver fails to request this hearing within the designated time frame, then they forego their right to an administrative hearing and their license will be automatically suspended.
3. A Narrow Focus Deepens Understanding
This was alluded to earlier, but a narrow focus on one specific area of the law allows a greater depth of understanding on that topic. You have likely heard the phrase "spreading yourself too thin," well that definitely applies in this situation. Criminal defense attorneys must be ready to defend clients charged with any type of criminal offense. DUI attorneys can concentrate their attention on drunk driving cases, and therefore they typically have a better grasp on the subject and can more effectively defend these cases.
4. DUI Evidence is Unlike Other Evidence in Criminal Cases
The evidence that is used to arrest and convict individuals of drunk driving is different than the evidence in other types of criminal cases. All DUI cases are essentially the same. If a law enforcement official suspects drunk driving, they will pull the driver over and ask them to submit to one or multiple standardized field sobriety tests. If there are enough indicating factors drawn from these tests, then law enforcement can make an arrest and then ask the arrestee to submit to a chemical test ( breath, blood or urine). DUI attorneys know ahead of time what evidence will be presented in these cases: field sobriety tests, breath tests, blood tests and urine tests. DUI lawyers can study and research these types of tests ahead of time to better refute the evidence.
5. DUI Attorneys Understand Police Procedure and Traffic Stops
Not only should a DUI attorney understand DUI laws and DUI evidence. A DUI attorney knows that they should understand standardized police procedure. Law enforcement must act in a certain manner and follow certain rules when pulling someone over or making a DUI arrest. It is extremely important to know proper police conduct, because police error during a DUI arrest can get charges completely dismissed in some cases. DUI attorneys understand this, which is why they make it a point to understand police procedure such as how they are required to administer breath tests, lawful reasons to make a police stop and what rights they are required to inform their arrestees of.
Now that you know the advantages of hiring a DUI-specific attorney for your case, take the next step and contact The Law Offices of Richard S. Lawson. Richard Lawson is not only a highly skilled Atlanta DUI defense lawyer, but he also has experience as a former DUI prosecutor. He has handled DUI cases from the other side before, which allows him to see cases from all angles. Trust the firm that has secured more than 4,600 successful DUI cases for clients. Call The Law Offices of Richard S. Lawson today!