If you have been arrested for a first DUI in Forsyth County, Georgia, you are often facing more than the "standard" or minimum terms you may read about on most websites. Remember, a majority of attorney websites are written by marketers, not attorneys, and therefore they have no real idea of what they are talking about. So, take a read of real-time, 2017, fact-based information on DUI punishments in Cumming, Georgia.
Minimums Under Georgia Law
Under Georgia law, a first lifetime DUI requires certain minimum conditions imposed as part of a sentence. A DUI in Georgia must carry:
- 12 months of probation, with 24 hours actually spent in jail
- 40 hours of community service work
- Risk reduction program (DUI school)
- A substance abuse evaluation
- Minimum $300 fine (after surcharges to the State, it doubles to around $600)
While these are the minimums, and may be all that is imposed in some courts around the State of Georgia, prosecutors have discretion to deviate up from these terms, and often do. Forsyth County is not alone; more and more counties are deviating up from the required minimum punishments and requiring even first offenders to do more rigorous conditions in their effort to punish and deter drunk driving. So, what is more realistic in Forsyth County, and how can our attorneys help?
Deviations on First DUI Punishments
Generally, if at the time of arrest your alcohol level tested higher than a .15, you will face additional terms on top of the minimums above. Additionally, if you were involved in an accident, you will catch the watchful eye of a prosecutor and probably have a plea offer with enhanced terms.
Commonly used terms include:
- A weekly/monthly minimum of drug and alcohol tests over probation- While it used to be standard to only be subject to "random" drug and alcohol screens, if your case warrants, prosecutors will require that you submit to these screens more often. At a minimum, we generally see twice-a-month screens, but these screens can be up to three times a week in certain cases. Each test uses EtG testing, which markets itself as being able to detect alcohol use for 72-80 hours prior to testing. These tests will cost somewhere between $30-40 while on probation and must be taken through the probation office.
- SCRAM device- The SCRAM (Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring) device, lovingly termed the Lindsey Lohan bracelet, is, essentially, a bracelet worn around your ankle that transmits real-time information to probation regarding alcohol use. Of course, if it detects alcohol in your system, it alerts probation. SCRAM is costly; usually $10-12 daily.
- Ignition Interlock Device- Ignition interlock is a monitoring system installed on your vehicle that requires you to submit a sample into it before your car will start. Obviously, ignition interlock's purpose is to not allow you to actually drive if you've consumed alcohol. Again, you would bear the cost of interlock, which can run a few hundred dollars a month.
- Step Meetings- Alcoholics Anonymous maybe the most well-known STEP meeting, but others are available. Depending on the circumstances, the prosecution may very well want you to attend meetings regularly and required to be in compliance with probation. A minimum of 2-3 weekly meetings is common, but often 90 meetings within the first 90 days (1 a day) is ordered in higher alcohol content cases, or if you have a history with substance abuse.
- Actual jail time- If you speak to a friend who had a DUI in a smaller city, or a few years back, they may very well tell you that you don't face anymore jail time. However, in Forsyth County, even on a first DUI, it is required to sit in jail for 24 actual hours. So, if you did not sit there for 12+ at the time of arrest, you face going back.
- 12+ months of probation- While a minimum of 12 months of probation is required, prosecutors and the court have discretion to impose 12 additional months per charge. So, if you have a DUI, Speeding, and Failure to Maintain Lane, you technically can be sentenced to up to 36 months of probation. Of course, this means more probation fees, and a longer period of time that you are subject to all conditions imposed as part of your sentence. It is not uncommon to have a 24 months sentence if your plead to DUI in Forsyth. You may have us petition the court after 12 months to terminate the sentence.
Again, what you've read is not marketing fluff. At Zeliff | Watson, we believe that by putting accurate, real world information out to you, it enables you to make more informed decisions about defending yourself. This information is accurate, and part of a trend we have seen going into 2017, and without a doubt, continuing.
Zeliff |Watson Fights DUI Cases, the Smart Way.
At Zeliff | Watson, we know that no two cases are the same, and we shape our defense of your case based on you, your priorities, and our knowledge of the particular court system you are facing. While we pride ourselves on being trial attorneys, we will discuss your case with you and counsel you on various potential resolutions.
Facing a DUI? Call us anytime, 24/7/365 at: 770 676 1340.