Answers from an Atlanta DUI Attorney
After a DUI arrest, it is important to inform yourself of the laws, procedures and logistics involved in the DUI process. There are many different variables in each case, which is why you would benefit from speaking with a DUI attorney directly. However, there are some common questions asked about DUI and we have provided the answers in a question and answer format below.
Will I go to jail if convicted on a first DUI charge?
Each case has its own unique evidence, and the judge doing the sentencing may decide that you deserve the maximum punishment for a first DUI, which is up to one year in jail. In most cases, if you plead guilty, you will usually get probation, one year suspended license, up to $1,000 in fines and will likely be ordered to an alcohol education program. You will qualify for a limited permit (restricted license) if you had your lawyer submit a " 30 Day Letter" in your case and your license was not suspended at the Administrative License Hearing ( ALS Hearings). You may be required to spend at least 24 hours in jail and up to 10 days is not unusual. 40 hours of community service is usually the minimum requirement.
What if I have a prior conviction for impaired driving?
The penalties increase drastically for those who had prior DUI convictions and are considered to be “repeat offenders.” A second DUI conviction within a five year period often results in a three year driver's license suspension. After one year, you may become eligible for a restricted license. You will have to put an ignition interlock device on your car to test your breath for alcohol before you can even start your car. If the second conviction is within a ten year period of time, you can be sentenced up to one year in jail, and likely will be required to spend a mandatory 72 hours – 90 days in jail. An alcohol treatment program will be required. The fine will be up to $1,000. You will have to perform 240 hours of community service. You may even have to take part in a court-ordered DUI Court Program.
If you have been arrested for a third DUI in five years you will be declared a habitual violator. You will be suspended for five years with the ability to get a limited permit after two years, as long as you install an ignition interlock device on your car. If your arrest is the third in ten years, you will have to serve a minimum of 15 days in jail. In all likelihood, you will serve closer to 90-180 days in jail. In some jurisdictions, it could be much more. If you are caught driving while suspended as a habitual violator, you have committed a felony that could result in five years in prison. If you commit a fourth lifetime DUI, you have committed a felony and you face up to five years in prison.
What happens at an ALS hearing?
ALS (Administrative License Suspension) takes place unless a hearing is scheduled within thirty days of the arrest. The hearing must take place within 90 days of the arrest. At this hearing, it could be determined that there is not enough evidence to suspend your license if you are represented by an Atlanta DUI lawyer who brings evidence for your defense. At The Law Offices of Richard S. Lawson, the legal team is extremely familiar with the procedure and what can be done to initiate defense actions on behalf of the client. When the license is suspended, you have the right to make an appeal, and the firm can handle this appeal to assist in fighting for your right to drive if necessary.
Is there any way to avoid a suspended license?
A skilled DUI lawyer from the firm can represent you at the ALS hearing and bring evidence to the hearing that raises questions about how the evidence against you was acquired, the accuracy of the field sobriety tests and blood or breath tests, and whether your rights were violated in the incident. When the hearing is handled by one of the legal team at the firm, you can increase the likelihood of avoiding a suspended license. It should be understood that this is an administrative hearing and is not your DUI court case.
Still have questions? Contact Richard S. Lawson!
If you still have questions about any aspect of your case and you're looking for answers, please do not hesitate to contact the firm. After successfully resolving more than 4,900 DUI cases, you can be assured that legal counsel from this firm can be trusted. To learn more or to secure a free consultation from my firm, call 404-816-4440 today!