DUI Attorney Athens
How Much is a DUI Attorney – How to Find a DUI Lawyer Near You in Athens, GA
How much is a DUI attorney? The real question should not be how much is a DUI attorney, but rather, what can a DUI lawyer do for you? Top DUI attorneys in Athens GA can help you avoid or reduce jail time and save you a lot of hassle. However, if you have had several criminal DUI charges, it could cause even the best DUI attorneys to be challenged with your case in a court of law.
That being said, the next question may be “How to fight a DUI without a lawyer?” Don’t do it. Even if you don’t have the resources, get a DUI ATTORNEY TO DEFEND YOU. It does not have to be the best DUI attorney, or even from a list of top DUI Attorneys, because even a lawyer with a little experience with DUI cases will get you a better chance of reduced charges than you will get defending yourself. So should you get an Athens DUI lawyer? The answer is yes!
What Can a DUI Lawyer Do for You?
“Do I need a DUI attorney for a first offence? The short answer is yes. DUI charges are very serious especially when they involve injuries. So, again, how much do DUI attorneys cost? Cost is relative based how important is the impact is on your criminal record, penalties, fines, charges, hassle, and jail time. So you should get a DUI lawyer to defend you.
Why Hire a DUI Attorney in Athens
According to the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Traffic Safety, approximately 25% of the accidents occurring throughout the state, including in Athens, involve alcohol-impaired drivers. In their attempt to discourage drivers from consuming alcohol and drugs before driving, the law enforcement officers have forced many Georgia drivers to turn to an Athens DUI lawyer for help.
If the police pull you over in traffic and they accuse you of driving under the influence, the best thing you can do, especially if you have consumed alcohol or drugs before getting behind the wheel, is to contact a DUI attorney. On the one hand, the latter can explain all the laws referring to driving under the influence and what repercussions breaking them would have.
On the other hand, the drunk driving lawyer can help you fight any accusations you may face, and have the charges dropped or at least obtain lower penalties. The best way to understand what a DUI attorney can do for you is to take a closer look at the DUI laws in force in Georgia and the penalties they bring about.
Georgia DUI Laws and Penalties an Athens DUI Lawyer Can Help You Avoid – Do DUI Lawyers Take Payments?
As any Athens DUI attorney knows, GA Code § 40-6-391 regulates driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. It forbids drivers to operate or physically control a moving vehicle while they are under the influence of one of several of the following substances that could affect their ability to drive:
- Glue, aerosols, or toxic vapors
For alcohol, the maximum concentration allowed is 0.08 grams. It is important to note that this limit only applies to drivers over 21 years of age. Any drunk driving lawyer in Athens knows that the limit drops to 0.04 grams for commercial drivers, and to 0.02 grams for drivers under 21 years of age.
As an Athens DUI lawyer may explain, the stipulation refers to alcohol concentration measurements performed within three hours of driving of physically controlling a vehicle. It relies on the assumption that the driver consumed alcohol or other forbidden substances before beginning to operate the vehicle.
For drugs, any amount of marijuana or another controlled substance subject to GA Code § 16-13-21, including metabolites and derivatives present in the driver’s urine, blood, or both, counts as a code violation. Drivers under treatment with any of the above substances are not exempted from this rule and should contact a DUI lawyer if the police pull them over as well.
Those who do not benefit from the advice of a DUI attorney in Athens, GA and are found to be violating Code § 40-6-391 face serious charges:
- Charges of a misdemeanor, applicable to first and second convictions – These could result in fines between $300 and $1,000, from 10 days to 12 months in prison, between 20 and 30 days of community service, obligation to complete a DUI Risk Reduction Program within 4 months from conviction or within 90 days from release. The driver will then have to undergo a clinical evaluation and, potentially, substance abuse therapy. Also, those sentenced to spend less than 12 months in prison may be put on probation for the remaining period until the 12 months deadline.
- Charges of an aggravated misdemeanor, applicable to third convictions – These could result in fines between $1,000 and $5,000, between 120 days and 12 months in prison, community service for minimum 30 days, having to complete a DUI Risk Reduction program, undergoing a clinical evaluation, undergoing substance abuse therapy, and probation for up to 12 months minus the time spent in jail.
- Charges of a felony, applicable to fourth or subsequent convictions – These could result in fines between $1,000 and $5,000, between 1 and 5 years in jail, community service for minimum 60 days, having to complete a DUI or Drugs Risk Reduction Program, undergoing a clinical evaluation, completing substance abuse therapy, probation for up to 5 years minus the time spent in jail.
As you can see, the penalties are huge, so the fees a DUI lawyer Athens, GA may charge to get you rid of them are nothing compared to what a conviction could mean. It is important to note that, when counting the number of offenses a driver committed, the law takes into account the previous convictions from July 1, 2008, to date.
Also, commercial drivers violating this code risk charges of a misdemeanor and all the corresponding penalties, as well as losing their commercial driver’s license. For drivers younger than 21 years of age, the charges can go as far as an aggravated misdemeanor for third and subsequent convictions.
Drivers who violate this code section while having children under 14 years of age as passengers in their vehicles risk additional charges for endangering the child by driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. All drivers can benefit from the advice of an experienced Athens DUI lawyer.
Whether or not a driver caught driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is convicted and what sentence they receive will depend on several factors:
- The type of tests they undergo and their results – An experienced DUI attorney may be able to challenge test results close to the legal limit or certain types of tests performed in inadequate conditions or without following the corresponding procedures. At the opposite end, test results with a higher accuracy degree and showing high intoxication levels are more difficult to challenge.
- The existence of previous DUI-related convictions – Drivers with no previous convictions will have an easier time fighting the charges than those with a history of drunk driving.
- The experience of their Athens, GADUI lawyer – In many cases, an experienced DUI attorney can make the difference between conviction and having charges dropped, between receiving the minimum sentence of facing additional penalties for aggravated circumstances.
It is therefore very important for any driver facing DUI charges to fight them with the help of an experienced drunk driving lawyer. If the police pull you over in traffic in Clarke County and you know you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you should contact an Athens DUI attorney as soon as you get a chance.
Even if they cannot come to the scene immediately, they may still be able to advise you on what to expect from the sobriety and chemical tests, and how to deal with the police officers. The following information on the type of DUI tests available in Georgia may help as well.
DUI Tests Available – What can a DUI Lawyer Do for You
1. Field Sobriety Tests
In Georgia, law enforcement officers use Standard Field Sobriety Tests the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration developed in order to assess whether a driver shows signs of impairment and justify their request for chemical tests.
These tests are neither very accurate nor mandatory. As a result, it is not uncommon for one DUI attorney to advise their client to refuse the test, while another one recommends their clients to take it.
Generally, young drivers, who have not consumed alcohol or drugs, have not taken medicines that could affect their reactions, and who do not suffer from conditions that could affect their balance, coordination, and ability to focus should be able to pass these tests.
Drivers who are not sure where they stand in regards to their abilities may be better off refusing them. If the police officers pull you over and ask you to take a field sobriety test, and you are not sure whether you can pass it, before you accept or refuse, it may help to talk to an Athens drunk driving lawyer and find out more about the tests.
In Georgia, the following field sobriety tests are available to law enforcement officers:
- The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus – The police officer asks the driver to follow a pen or some other object they move horizontally and looks for deviations or lack of smooth pursuit.
- The One-Leg-Stand – The driver has to stand on one leg without swaying or losing their balance. As any DUI lawyer may confirm, the test is usually inaccurate for drivers who are overweight, have poor night vision, or wear high heels.
- Walk-and-Turn – Drivers have to take ten steps, turn, and take ten more steps on the way back, as the police officers assess their ability to follow directions without swaying or tripping.
- Finger-to-Nose – The police officer asks the driver to extend their arms and touch their nose tip with their index finger. They may also request the driver to recite the alphabet or count backward at the same time.
- The Rhomberg Test – The driver has to stand, feet together, arms out to the sides, leaning their head back to look at the sky, close their eyes, and estimate a timeframe of 30 seconds. Eyelid tremor, inability to estimate time or swaying could be signs of impairment.
Drivers who fail or refuse field sobriety tests may have to undergo chemical testing.
2. Chemical Tests
There are three types of chemical tests commonly used in Georgia with the purpose to establish a driver’s level of intoxication or the substance by which they are intoxicated. An experienced DUI lawyer may be able to challenge any of them, but the methods will depend on the type of test administrated. Here are the three types of tests:
- Breath tests – They involve the use of a device to analyze breath samples and calculate blood alcohol concentration. Their results are not always reliable, and an experienced DUI attorney in Athens may succeed to challenge them claiming that the positive results came from residual mouth alcohol or the driver’s use of mouthwash, breath mints, and more. Other aspects to challenge are the device’s calibration and condition.
- Urine tests – They are the least accurate and rarely used. Their results depend on when the driver had their last drink and the amount of liquid they consumed, so any Athens drunk driving lawyer should find them easy to challenge.
- Blood tests – They are the most accurate, using blood samples to calculate drivers’ BAC levels or the presence of drugs in their system. The most viable option for an Athens DUI lawyer to challenge them is to show that the personnel performing them was not authorized or did not follow procedures.
It is important to note that chemical tests, unlike field sobriety tests, are not voluntary, but subject to the implied consent rule (GA Code § 40-5-55). According to GA Code § 40-5-67.1, drivers who refuse chemical tests will lose their driving privileges for minimum one year.
The same code section leaves an opportunity for a DUI attorney in Athens, GA to prevent their client from losing their license, by requiring police officers to warn drivers about the implied consent rule and its implications.
Thus, if you refuse to take a chemical test and you or your Athens DUI lawyer can prove that the police officers requesting it did not warn you as stipulated in this section, your odds to keep your license will improve considerably.
If you decide to accept chemical testing, but you want to make sure the results are completely accurate or use any differences to your advantage, you have the option to request a new, independent test, performed by personnel of your choice, and pay it out of your own pocket.
As your Athens drunk driving lawyer may advise, the test you take does not have to match the one the officer recommended, so, if the officer requests a breath test, you can request a blood test, and you can perform it even at a different medical facility in Athens. However, you lose your right to independent testing if you refuse any chemical tests.
As shown above, the penalties for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol are quite harsh in Georgia. If the police manage to prove that you were intoxicated, you stand losing your job, your freedom, your reputation, and a lot of money.
On your own, especially if you are intoxicated, you risk committing costly mistakes or neglecting aspects that could help you win the case. When you benefit from the experience, knowledge, and skills of an Athens DUI lawyer, you can turn odds in your favor and prove all accusations unfunded, or have all charges dropped due to lack of evidence or procedural errors.
Contact an Athens, GA DUI Attorney As Soon As Possible!
What can a DUI lawyer do for you? You already know what’s stake, and you and you already know how difficult defending your driving privileges, your professional and personal life, and even your freedom is. Instead of fighting on your own and risking losing everything, get an experienced, reliable, and dedicated DUI attorney near you in Athens, GA on your side, and defend your rights and interests against all odds.