Cumming Georgia DUI Charges in 2021

DUI enforcement has reached record highs in the City of Cumming.  The City has expanded its police force since 2019 to more than double the number of officers previously on the roster.  If you are facing DUI charges made by the Cumming Police Department, this article is a must-read in order to effectively defend your case and restore your good name.  Our trial team at Zeliff | Watson knows every detail of litigating DUI cases and obtaining the best outcomes, no matter the circumstances.

DUI Alcohol and DUI Drug Charges

In 2021, Cumming is enforcing both DUI alcohol and DUI drug charges under Georgia state law.  This means they can investigate and make an arrest if they suspect your alcohol level is over a certain amount (.08 for 21+ adults, .02 for under 21), or if they suspect you are under the influence of drugs.  Officers in Cumming also have the discretion to arrest you if they don’t know your alcohol level for certain, but think that you are less safe to drive due to whatever alcohol amount is in your system.  Likewise, to make an arrest for DUI drugs, officers don’t need to know exact levels, but, rather, that you are less safe to drive due to the type and amount of drug(s) that they suspect are in your system.  This means DUI “less safe” cases will almost always be based on circumstantial evidence, or the cop’s opinion that you are unsafe to drive.  Of course, our defense team challenges that assumption based on our years of training and experience in investigating and litigating DUI cases.

Did you do Field Sobriety Tests?

Cumming Police officers are trained in field sobriety testing under the nationwide NHTSA battery of tests.  These tests include the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, the walk and turn, and the one leg stand test. Our team knows the ins and outs of these tests, and how to expose flaws in their administration and interpretation, which is crucial to effectively defend a DUI.  If you are recalling the events of your arrest, make sure to write down what you recall about these tests- the officer’s instructions and any comments they may have made about your performance, how long they seemed to take, and whether or not the officer seemed confident in administering the tests. 

The police officer may have also asked you to blow into a small breath test on the side of the road during their investigation.  While cops routinely tell people this device just gives a positive or negative reading, that’s not entirely true.  State-certified devices give a numeric reading, it is just not usually admissible in any court proceeding against you.  This half-truth induces many drivers that are under investigation to take this breath test, which ultimately ends up in the prosecutor’s hands.

Drivers License Suspensions after a DUI

Georgia law also allows Cumming Police officers to confiscate your driver’s license after a DUI arrest. The laws, known as implied consent laws, dictate different outcomes of your driving status depending on your level of cooperation with the DUI investigation.  As of the publication of this article, Cumming police officers are seizing driver’s licenses of all drivers who refuse testing under implied consent.  The confusing implied consent laws lead to many drivers unwillingly not taking testing after their arrest, without a full understanding of the ramifications. 

The implied consent notice should have been read right after you were arrested and essentially tells you that your privilege to drive is based upon your consent to testing of your blood, breath, or urine. The notice then allows you to refuse, though the consequences are harsh: a 12-month driver’s license suspension with no work or hardship permit available. In the alternative, if you consented and took either a blood or breath test after this notice was read, the officer has discretion to either not serve you with a suspension notice, or at least allow you to have a hardship license for any possible suspension time. 

If your license was seized and you were given a 1205 Form that discusses your license status, make sure to take note of the procedures outlined on the back of this form.  You must act relatively quickly to ensure you can continue to lawfully drive.  Our team has years of experience with ensuring our clients are in compliance with the options given to allow you to continue driving and will explain this process to you in great detail.

License suspension times after a DUI are generally:

Refusal suspension: 12 months, not shortened, no limited permit available

First DUI: 12 months, can be shortened to 120 days, limited permit available

Second DUI: 18 months, not shortened, limited permit available after 120 days, with conditions

Under 21 DUI: 6-12 months, not shortened, no limited permit available

What is an Ignition Interlock Device?

An ignition interlock device, like a Smart Start device, is essentially a breath-testing device that is tied into your vehicle’s system.  In order for your vehicle to start and keep driving, you must periodically blow into the device without any alcohol content on your breath. As of the time this article is being published, the Department of Driver Services is allowing drivers facing a “refusal suspension” (and others) to obtain and install an interlock device and apply for a limited driving permit after their DUI arrest instead of facing a 12-month suspension with no permit available.  This is an important conversation to have with our team to ensure you understand the ins and outs of this process and the differences between installing this device and requesting an administrative appeal process (ALS hearing).

The Cumming Municipal Court

After a DUI arrest in Cumming, your case will wind up in the Cumming Municipal Court where the Judge will make a decision on the outcome of your case, after hearing from both the city’s prosecutor and your defense attorney.  As of time of publication, Cumming’s court is operational, with COVID-19 precautions being taken that limit the amount of participants in court at any given time.  Your first court date will be an opportunity for our team to begin negotiating on your behalf with the city’s prosecutor.  Based on negotiations, your case could be postponed to a further court date, or, perhaps, resolved on that date. 

Flexibility and preparedness are the two keys to success in a DUI defense.  Court dates change, evidence takes time, further conversations and negotiations are often times required in order to get the best outcome.  Understand and accepting this fact is key to successfully resolving your case.  The prosecution team in Cumming Municipal Court is experienced and highly effective at prosecuting DUI charges, so trust your defense team’s recommendations on how to proceed with your defense, whether we opt to defend your charges in Cumming’s Municipal Court or decide to demand a jury trial in the Forsyth County court system. 

Our Team at Zeliff | Watson

Peter Zeliff and Evan Watson know all aspects of DUI litigation and have almost 35 years of combined experience in this area.  Our team is in the Cumming Municipal Court multiple times monthly and keeping track of all of the latest trends going on in the court.  If you have been charged with driving under the influence and have been told to appear in this court, give our team a call 24/7/365 to begin discussing your best defense and how we can lead the way.  Likewise, you can use the contact form within our site to communicate with Mr. Zeliff and Mr. Watson directly. 

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