A DUI charge in Georgia is more than just a minor traffic offense. Especially, in 2016, with all of the anti-drunk driving efforts in place by both private and state groups. DUI charges can subject you to probation time, jail time, countless hours of court-ordered requirements, and heavy fines, to name a few. Additionally, a DUI remains on your record forever. Contrary to popular belief it does not go away after a certain amount of time, and can forever impact your future.
With that said, here are some secrets to defending against DUI charges in Georgia.
- Hire a great DUI-specific lawyer. No, your lawyer does not need to do 100% DUI. In fact, very, very few lawyers do practice only one such area. However, you do want a lawyer who spends at least half their time defending DUI charges, and just as importantly, is NOT AFRAID TO HAVE TRIALS, IF NECESSARY. I emphasize this about trials because in a close case, and especially in cases where the State seems to have the edge, you must have a lawyer who prosecutors know will go to, and could win, at trial. In interviews with potential lawyers ask them the tough questions: how many trials they have recently had, outcomes, how they would approach your case, what percentage of their cases of DUIs, etc.
- Do NOT procrastinate. In DUI cases, there are deadlines that must be met, starting with filing an appeal before your driver's license is suspended. Take a day if need be, but then get on the phone. Start calling lawyers to discuss your next steps and essential deadlines. In Forsyth County, Georgia, where our home office is located, your first DUI hearing will usually be within 2 weeks, so you do not want to wait to enlist an attorney and begin defending your case.
- Understand what type of DUI charges you are facing. In Georgia, the state has numerous ways of proving a DUI case against you. The most common are to show you tested over Georgia's legal limit, were less safe to drive due to alcohol consumption, or were under the influence of drugs. There are other DUI charges if you are suspected of being under the influence of a combination of intoxicants as well. Do not go to court without understanding how your charges can be defended against and what the state must prove.
- Begin predictable court requirements early on. Unless you are found not guilty, or the prosecutor dismisses the entire case against you, you will more than likely have to knock out community service, and other DUI-specific requirements. I have found that clients who have all of these requirements done before the final court date fare better than those who wait. It can make the difference in a prosecutor's negotiations if you otherwise have a close case. Check out my 2016 updated list on proactive steps to defending your DUI case.
- Understand and define your goals early on. Often, attorneys simply tell clients the way things are going to be, rather than get their input and define realistic goals. In our first interview, I will certainly ask you to prioritize and list your goals so we can discuss them from the outset. Certainly, this way you have an idea of what to expect, rather than get blindsided when you end up in court hearing something for the first time. For instance, if your case is going to likely require a trial, you want to have a chance to discuss all aspects of this, including potential risks, with your attorney before making a final decision. A failure to communicate can result in a poor, unexpected, and undesired outcome.
If you have been charged with DUI in Forsyth County, Fulton County, or surrounding areas, give our law firm a call today to discuss how we will help you get on the right path in defending your DUI. Both of our lawyers devote a vast majority of their practice to all aspects of DUI defense, and are in the courtroom on a daily basis defending those accused of DUI.
We can be reached 24/7/365 at (770) 676-1340.