In Athens, driving under the influence (DUI) is defined as operating a motor vehicle with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher, regardless of whether you are impaired or not. It’s important to note that even if your BAC is lower than 0.08% but shows visible signs of impairment, you can still get DUI charges in Athens, GA.
It’s illegal to drive while impaired by any drug or alcohol, even if it is below the legal limit. If an officer suspects that you are driving while under the influence, they can conduct a sobriety test to determine if you’ve had too much to drink or are under the influence of drugs. Here is everything you need to know about DUI charges in Athens.
The Different Types of DUI Charges in Athens
In Georgia, there are several DUI charges that an individual can be charged with. The most common is driving under the influence (DUI). This charge means the driver has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher.
If a driver’s BAC is between 0.04 and 0.07, they may be charged with a lesser offense of “driving while impaired” (DWI). In addition to DUI/DWI, other charges can be applied to someone suspected of driving under the influence in Athens. These include:
- Open Container Law: It is illegal to have an open container of alcohol in your vehicle while driving. This applies even if you are not drinking while driving.
- Refusal to Submit to Chemical Testing: This occurs when a driver is pulled over and asked to submit to a chemical test, such as a breathalyzer or blood test, but refuses to do so. This charge automatically suspends your license for 12 months, even if you are later found not guilty of DUI.
- Vehicular Homicide: This charge applies if a driver is responsible for the death of another person due to reckless driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This is a serious charge and carries serious penalties.
- Minor in Possession (MIP): A MIP charge applies when someone under 21 years old is found to be in possession of alcohol in Georgia. A first-time conviction for this offense can result in a $300 fine, community service, and completion of an alcohol awareness class.
These are just some types of DUI charges that can be applied to someone suspected of driving under the influence in Athens, GA. It is important to understand the laws regarding these charges and seek legal help if you face any of them.
The Penalties Associated with Each Type of DUI Charge
In Athens, the penalties for driving under the influence (DUI) can be severe. Depending on the severity of the offense, a DUI charge can carry penalties such as jail time, fines, license suspension or revocation, probation, alcohol or drug awareness classes, and/or community service.
For a first-time DUI offense, an offender may face up to a year in jail and fines of up to $1,000. If the offender’s BAC is 0.08% or higher, they may face a minimum of 48 hours in jail. In addition, a court may impose one or more of the following: license suspension of up to one year; required attendance at an alcohol treatment program; completion of community service; and installation of an ignition interlock device.
For subsequent DUIs, the penalties become much harsher. Offenders face longer jail sentences, steeper fines, and longer license suspension or revocation periods. Additionally, any offender whose BAC is above 0.15% will be required to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle.
It is important to understand that these are just the minimum penalties associated with a DUI conviction. Depending on the specifics of your case, you may face additional penalties. It is in your best interests to speak with an experienced DUI lawyer who can explain the legal process and help you fight for the best possible outcome.
Types of DUI Sobriety Tests
When a person is suspected of DUI in Athens, the police officer may perform a sobriety test to determine the driver’s level of intoxication. There are several types of sobriety tests, each with its own requirements and regulations. Below are some of the most common types of sobriety tests used by law enforcement:
- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test (HGN): This test measures involuntary eye movements, which can be an indication of alcohol impairment. A police officer will ask you to follow a stimulus, such as a pen or a finger, with your eyes while they look for any signs of impairment, such as jerking of the eyes.
- Walk and Turn Test (WAT): This test requires you to walk in a straight line, heel-to-toe, and then turn around and come back. It evaluates balance, coordination, and your ability to follow directions.
- One Leg Stand Test (OLS): During this test, you are asked to stand on one leg for 30 seconds and count aloud. This evaluates balance, coordination, and your ability to remember and follow directions.
- Breathalyzer Test: This is a common test that measures the amount of alcohol present in your blood. This test is usually conducted roadside or at a police station after an arrest.
It is important to remember that none of these tests are foolproof and often prone to errors. If you’ve been charged with a DUI in Athens, it is important to contact an experienced DUI lawyer who can help protect your rights and provide the best legal representation possible.
How A DUI Lawyer Can Help You
If you’ve been charged with a DUI in Athens, it is important to understand the importance of having a DUI attorney. DUI lawyers in Athens are experienced professionals who can help you navigate the complicated laws surrounding DUI charges. They can provide advice and legal representation to ensure your rights are protected and your case is resolved as quickly and favorably as possible.
A DUI attorney in Athens will have extensive knowledge of the city’s laws and procedures for DUI cases. They can provide invaluable guidance about your options and how best to proceed. They can advise you on the potential outcomes of your case, including plea bargains, reduced charges, or even dismissal of charges.
Your DUI attorney will also provide representation during court proceedings. They can file documents on your behalf, argue in court, and represent you throughout the legal process. A qualified DUI lawyer will also help you understand the various court proceedings and explain any rulings. Having an experienced attorney on your side will give you the best chance of achieving the best outcome possible.