Attorney for DWI Athens
Athens DWI Defense Lawyers – What is DWI lawyer Cost?
Are you looking for a DWI law firm? What does a DWI lawyer cost is NOT the main question that someone facing criminal charges for DWI or DUI should be asking. DWI lawyer cost depends what it is worth to have charges reduced or removed. A good DWI lawyer at any DWI law firm has seen it over and over again that “cheap DWI lawyers” may cost more in the way of longer jail sentences, fines, penalties, license suspension, and criminal record. Don’t make the mistake of choosing DWI defense lawyers based on DWI lawyer cost. In other words, DWI lawyer fees are not the biggest thing to worry about when you are in trouble with the law and need DWI help.
In an attempt to discourage driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Athens and throughout the Clarke County, the Athens – Clarke County Police Department organizes frequent road blockages and traffic filters. Many of the drivers they stop in traffic end up needing the services of an Athens DWI lawyer at Athens DUI Lawyers.
Indeed, DWI prevention programs are helpful and justified. In 2016, out of the 1554 car accident fatalities registered in Georgia, 368 were associated with alcohol consumption. The data, made available on the website of Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety suggests that 24% of the accidents occurring throughout the state, including in Clarke County and the city of Athens could be avoided.
Unfortunately, as any DWI lawyer in Athens, GA can confirm, not all drivers the police officers charge with DWI are actually guilty. Some of them fall victim to unfavorable circumstances and fail field or chemical sobriety tests, or make mistakes that cost them their driving license.
If the police stop you in traffic and you are not sure whether you can pass their tests or you have already failed the tests, and you are facing DWI charges, the following information may come in handy.
The Difference Between DUI and DWI and When You Should Hire a DWI Defense Attorney
Although Georgia laws do not make a clear distinction between DUI and DWI, the difference between the two terms could stem from their very meaning: DUI involves a lower concentration of alcohol or drugs than DWI. One thing is certain – drivers found with any amount of blood or any type of drugs in their system should consider enlisting the help of an Athens DWI attorney.
In Georgia, drivers are forbidden from operating vehicles if their blood alcohol concentration equals or exceeds 0.08%. The limit is of 0.04% for commercial vehicle drivers, and of 0.02% for drivers younger than 21. Violations of this law qualify as driving while intoxicated and should prompt drivers at fault to start looking for DWI attorneys.
However, drivers may be unable to operate vehicles even with a lower blood alcohol concentration. When that happens, the law allows the authorities to take measures against those drivers, as long as they can prove the presence of drugs or alcohol in their system and their level of impairment. Such cases qualify as driving under the influence and can benefit from the experience and knowledge of Athens DWI attorneys as well.
No matter if the charges you face qualify as driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated, you should get in touch with a DWI lawyer in Athens, GA, as soon as possible. The latter may be able to force the authorities to drop charges or at least obtain you a lesser sentence.
DWI Lawyer Nearby from the Advice of an Experienced Athens, GA DWI Lawyer
According to GA Code Section 40-6-391 and to the website of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, drivers found driving with a blood alcohol concentration higher than 0.08 or while intoxicated with drugs, medicines, or other substances that could interfere with their ability to operate the vehicle safely risk charges ranging from a misdemeanor to a felony. The charges and corresponding penalties depend on the driver’s age and on the existence of previous convictions, but also on an experienced Athens, GA DWI lawyer’s experience and skills, as the latter may be able to obtain milder penalties.
- First offenses risk a $300 to $1,000 fine, up to one year of license suspension, up to one year of jail time, minimum forty community service, $210 fee for license reinstatement. They are the easiest to defend for many DWI attorneys.
- Second offenses risk a $600 to $1,000 fine, up to 3 years of license suspension, up to 1 year of jail time, minimum 30 days community service, $210 fee for license reinstatement, obligation to undergo clinical evaluation and complete substance abuse therapy.
- Third offenses risk $1,000 – $5,000 fine, up to 5 years of license suspension, minimum 15 days jail time, minimum 30 days community service, photo, name, and address published in the local media, declared habitual violator, license plate seizure and forwarding to the DMV, obligation to undergo clinical evaluation and complete substance abuse therapy
In addition to these penalties, drivers who do not benefit from the assistance of an experienced DWI lawyer in Athens, GA and operate a commercial vehicle risk losing their commercial driving license. Underage drivers who do not have a DWI attorney to defend their rights will most likely have to postpone getting their graduate license with another year.
Upon recovering their driving privileges, all those convicted of second and subsequent impaired driving offenses will have to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle for a period of 6 months at their own expense.
Depending on the case details, DWI lawyers are often able to convince the court to allow their clients to maintain limited driving privileges for work- and family-related purposes with the condition to install an ignition interlock device, or to avoid installing the ignition interlock device by invoking financial hardships.
However, the results a DWI attorney may obtain for their client often depend on what their client does or says at the road stop. Here are some of the questions Clarke County drivers ask their DWI attorneys regarding stops in traffic for DWI-related checks.
DWI Limit, DWI Ticket, DWI Laws, DWI Process DWI Enforcement – Questions for a Good DWI Lawyer
1. Should I Take the Field Sobriety Test?
In Georgia, the police officers often use Standard Field Sobriety Tests to assess whether a driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Although the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration developed them, these tests are not mandatory, so drivers can refuse to take them.
However, as any DWI attorney may explain, refusing to take the test is not always the best approach. Police officers often interpret refusals as an admission of guilt and a reason to request further chemical tests.
Before deciding whether to accept the test or not, drivers should know what the test could involve, and consider their level of impairment, if any, and the existence of any conditions that could cause them to fail the test (obesity, vision problems, and some neurological conditions affect a person’s balance, coordination, and ability to focus in certain situations).
According to the observations of Athens DWI attorneys, Georgia police officers usually request drivers to follow with their sight an object they more horizontally, to stand on one leg, to walk ten steps, turn, and take another ten steps, to touch their nose tip with their index finger, or to lean their head back while standing, stare at the sky, close their eyes, and count 30 seconds, among others.
If you think you are able to perform these exercises without swaying, losing balance and tripping, or giving signs of slurred speech, you can take the test, hoping that you will pass it and not need the help of a DWI attorney.
If you have any conditions you can prove, which may prevent you from completing the tests safely, you should inform the police officers. If you did consume alcohol or drugs before getting behind the wheel, you should refuse the test politely and start reviewing DWI lawyers in your area, as the police officers will most likely ask you to take a chemical test, and you could use some legal advice.
2. Can I Refuse Chemical Tests?
In theory, chemical tests are subject to implied consent under GA Code § 40-5-55. In practice, this only means that a driver’s inability to consent to a chemical test can be interpreted as implied consent. The tests themselves are not mandatory.
However, those who refuse them will lose their driving license for one year, according to GA Code § 40-5-67.1. Therefore, the question you should ask yourself, one DWI lawyers often have to answer, is not whether you can refuse chemical tests, but whether you should.
If you did not consume alcohol or drugs before getting behind the wheel, you have nothing to fear, and any DWI lawyer will confirm it. If you did and the one-year license suspension is preferable to the penalties, you risk if the test confirms your intoxication, it may be better to refuse.
If you are worried that the chemical test will give false positive results, you can request additional independent testing, on the condition that you pay for it yourself. If you refuse to take the test, you lose the right to request independent tests.
Three types of chemical tests are commonly used in Georgia and well-known to any Athens DWI attorney. The options available are breath tests, blood tests, and urine tests. The police officers decide what test to request for each particular test.
The last type is the least accurate and easiest to challenge for a DWI attorney. Breath tests rank in-between. Blood tests are the most accurate, but also the ones subject to the strictest procedures and therefore easy to challenge for experienced DWI attorneys in Athens, GA.
3. Can I Avoid Conviction If I Fail the Tests?
Many drivers mistakenly believe that if they fail any of the tests the police officers request, their conviction is a given. In reality, their conviction often depends on the skills and experience of their Athens DWI lawyer, and on how soon they ask the latter for help.
When the police officers pull you over in traffic, you have the right to call your DWI attorney whenever you wish. If you have reason to suspect the tests will give positive results, you should do so as soon as possible.
As mentioned above, both the field sobriety tests and the chemical tests can give erroneous results. This makes them easy to challenge for experienced DWI lawyers. The latter may be able to use other defense strategies as well. Here are just a few examples.
Common Defense Strategies a DWI Defense Lawyers May Use
- Question the results and the way the police officers interpreted the field sobriety tests – As mentioned above, field sobriety tests are far from accurate. An experienced DWI attorney could show that you failed them because of a medical condition or even on purpose. They could also claim that you did well on the test, but the police officers that assessed your performance made mistakes.
- Show that the police officers did not give you notice about the implied consent rule – Under GA Code § 40-5-67.1, upon requesting you to take a chemical test, the police officers have the obligation to notify you that, if you refuse, you risk one year of license suspension. If your DWI lawyer can prove that the police officers skipped the notice, they will most likely obtain the dropping of the charges as well.
- Challenge the results of the breath test – When their clients fail the breath test, many DWI lawyers argue that the breathalyzer the police used was improperly calibrated, they did not operate it as they should have, or it gave inaccurate results due to mouth alcohol or to the fact that you had used mouthwash or oral spray, chewed gum or taken various medicines.
- Challenge the results of the urine tests – Urine test results depend on when the ingestion of drugs or alcohol took place, and how much liquid someone consumes. This means their results are easy to challenge, especially if your DWI attorney requests independent testing.
- Invoking procedural errors for blood tests – The persons taking the blood samples have to be authorized professionals, use specific equipment, and follow specific procedures. An experienced Athens DWI lawyer will surely find something to pick on in order to prove that they broke some rules or procedures.
- Proving that the police officers broke the procedures – The police officers have certain procedures they need to follow when pulling drivers in traffic, conducting further investigations, and even preparing the corresponding reports for the case. A DWI attorney knows these procedures by heart and will easily identify and emphasize any inconsistencies.
There are many more other strategies DWI lawyers may use to defend their clients’ interests. However, the ones presented above should be enough to convince you to contact a DWI lawyer and entrust them with your case. If you still have doubts, just think of what you stand to lose.
Many drivers who lose their driving license lose their job as well, either because driving is a prerequisite or because they rely on their ability to drive to commute to work. In turn, job loss results in financial hardships and relationship problems. You do not even want to imagine what repercussions spending time in jail and having a misdemeanor or felony charges on your record will have.
Choose an Experienced Law Firm with Good DWI Defense Attorneys in Athens, GA to Defend Your Interests and Your Reputation!
DWI lawyer fees become less important if the police caught you driving while intoxicated and you are faced with criminal charges including jail time. You cannot afford to take chances. You need the help of an experienced and dedicated DWI defense lawyer in Athens, GA, to fight charges and help secure your future. Schedule a consultation now with a DWI law firm that has a helpful and good DWI lawyer to start working on your defense strategy!