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Top 5 Ways to Have a DUI Dismissed in Georgia

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Having a DUI charge dismissed under Georgia law can be quite the challenge, but here are the Top 5 ways to ensure your DUI is dismissed and your record is restored as much as humanely possible:

  1. Being Found “Not Guilty at Trial”- Winning a bench trial or a jury trial in your DUI case is a surefire way to ensure your case is wiped away. In fact, a judge has the power to restrict and seal your DUI charges completely if you are victorious at trial, under certain circumstances. The downside? Having a trial in most court systems can be a 6+ months or even years-long process of waiting, announcing ready and stressing out about court, only to be told to come back at a later date. Trials can also be risky because prosecutors will revoke all previous plea offers and typically ask for 5-20 days in jail if you lose a first DUI trial. What’s more, after any time spent in jail, you will still be responsible for probation, court fines, courses and all of the other requirements of a DUI conviction. So, before you commit to a trial, whether with a judge or a jury, you want to be confident in your chances of success. We’ve been working with clients for decades to prepare their cases for trial, work with expert witnesses on trial testimony, and present our client’s best defense to judges and juries. Our clients have heard “not guilty” annually since we opened our doors in 2011.
  2. Winning a Motion to Suppress – A motion to suppress is presenting argument to a judge as to the lawfulness or legality of the investigation against you in a DUI case. Motions to suppress can include many avenues, but you generally want to make the motion as specific as possible to increase your chances of winning. The reason you were stopped or pulled over, or why the cop started interacting with you, is always something we can challenge in a motion to suppress. Additionally, the voluntariness of any field sobriety tests, or your conversation with the cop is subject to challenge. Likewise, if you refused to engage in these tests on the roadside, we would challenge any ideas the prosecutor has about using that against you at trial. Finally, post-arrest, Miranda and Implied Consent issues are the subjects of challenge at these hearings. For instance, the hot topic in 2023-2024 will continue to be whether the Implied Consent law in Georgia is unconstitutional as applied to testing of a driver’s blood. Currently, many judges believe a cop can ask you for a blood test under this advisement and if you refuse to consent, it can be held against you, but, recent Georgia Supreme Court challenges are dealing with this argument and we expect to see some decisions on the issue in 2024. Winning a motion to suppress is challenging, but can pay huge dividends in having your DUI dismissed.
  3. Negotiating a Reckless Driving Outcome- Negotiations are always a good idea, no matter the case. A negotiated plea gives you a guarantee, if you will, as to the outcome of your case. While trials carry the possibility of jail and a lot stiffer punishment if you lose, you are in control of a negotiated resolution to some extent. The gold standard in negotiations for Georgia DUIs is the reckless driving charge. This is a go-to and quite often the only lesser charge a prosecutor will be willing to amend or reduce a DUI to, though obtaining lower charges than reckless driving is possible, depending on the strength of our case. Reckless driving charges typically mirror the terms of a DUI plea, at least in most jurisdictions, including probation time and the usual courses and community service required for DUI charges. In short, reckless driving charges come with 3 main benefits: (1) a guaranteed outcome, without the risk and uncertainty of trial; (2) no license suspension for Georgia license holders (or the immediate deletion of any ALS suspension off your record); (3) a reflection on your criminal history report (GCIC report) that the DUI charge was reduced to a “non finger printable offense.”
  4. Testing Under the Legal Limit- While Georgia DUI law includes less safe charges, which are not dependent on any test you may take being over the legal limit, if you do take the state-administered breath or blood test, and the results are under the legal limit, this greatly increases the chances your attorney will be able to broker a deal for a reckless driving or other non-DUI outcome. Georgia is a DUI less safe state, meaning that the officer’s opinion that you are less safe to drive due to alcohol or drugs in your system is enough to arrest and sometimes even convict you of DUI. However, having an attorney well versed in DUI laws and the science behind the field sobriety tests is critical to ensure your best chances of even this DUI less safe charge being dismissed. Under Georgia law, there is no presumption of sobriety or impairment if your test is a 0.05-0.08, assuming you are 21 years of age. This means attacking the officer’s opinion that you were less safe due to whatever tests they ran you through is critical. If you tested under Georgia’s legal limit, give us a call ASAP to discuss how we will approach your case to defeat your DUI charge.
  5. Winning an Appeal- While an appeal can take years; it is a last-ditch way to have a chance on your DUI charge being dismissed. Trials are often filled with mistakes by Judges, prosecutors, and even defense attorneys and an appeal points out these problems in hopes that the Georgia Court of Appeals or even Georgia Supreme Court will overturn your conviction. Constitutional issues are also avenues to appeal your case, if you lose at the trial court level. For instance, many judges have erroneously let in evidence you have the right to refuse (blood, breath, urine tests), or allowed your refusal to submit to the test to be used against you at trial. However, if your appeal, or someone whose case is similarly situated to yours, is successful, it could play an important role in either having your charges dismissed or reduced.

If you have questions about how to challenge a DUI in Georgia, or are facing a court date to answer for DUI charges, give us a call ASAP to discuss how we can help. Our team of defense lawyers has over 40 combined years of experience and specializes in the Forsyth County and surrounding Metro Atlanta areas. No matter the circumstance, we will use one of the above avenues to take every effort to restore your good name after a DUI arrest.

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