In order to efficiently represent yourself in a Georgia DUI trial, you need to understand the process and procedures. You are only going to get one shot at beating a DUI charge and if you are not informed and familiar with the process, you could end up getting yourself in over your head. If you realize that you are not comfortable representing yourself after doing the research, make sure you make it clear to the judge that you would like to obtain an Athens, Georgia DUI trial lawyer.
Request for Administrative License Suspension Hearing
Within 30 days of the booking of the DUI charge, you will need to schedule an administrative hearing for your license suspension with the Georgia Department of Driver Services. This is the only hearing that you will have to argue your case regarding the suspension of your license. Failure to do so can result in an automatic one-year suspension of your driving privileges.
Once you have scheduled your hearing you will need to state your case as to why your license should not be suspended. If you are successful at this hearing, your license will be reinstated to you. If you are not successful it is still possible that you could get restrictive driving privileges.
Restricted Driving Privileges
A limited driving permit may be available to you after being charged with a DUI. This is a restrictive driving permit that will allow you to go to certain places while you are under a license suspension. This requires certain terms to be followed and there are fees associated with it. If you are granted a limited driving permit, you will only be able to:
- Drive to where you work so that you can perform your normal work duties
- Go to the doctor and the pharmacy for medications
- Attend classes at a place of education in which you are enrolled as a student
- Going to regularly scheduled meetings or sessions in which you are receiving treatment from a support group setting for drug or alcohol abuse
- Go to a driver’s education program or alcohol/drug assessment treatment program
- Be present in court hearings, report to probation, and perform community service
- Take unlicensed family members to appointments, meetings, school, work, or to receive medical care and prescriptions
- Attend any programs that the judge has ordered
The Georgia Department of Driver Services also reserves the right to specify where you can travel, the route you can take, the times you can drive, the vehicle you can drive, and anything else they deem admissible at their discretion.
The permit will be revoked if you are found in violation of any terms in the order or are charged with any crimes during the period.
Criminal Case Hearing
As a part of the DUI charge, you will also have a criminal case hearing for the incident in question. You can represent yourself in these proceedings, but it is not recommended. This is the initial hearing where you will enter your plea. You can plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest to the DUI charges.
If your case goes to trial, there will be a jury selected to go forward with the case. It is at this Georgia DUI trial that you will tell your side of the story and present your evidence to prove your innocence.
Since a lot of these cases can be resolved without going to trial. A judge can hand down a sentence regarding the information you present in your defense. If you can provide proof of doubt or your evidence is strong enough to have the breathalyzer evidence thrown out, you could be dismissed of all charges.
If you are found guilty by the judge or jury you could be looking at a sentence that involves jail time, depending on the charges that were brought against you. It could also require an ignition interlock device that has to be used after your license suspension.
At Least Think About Getting A Lawyer for Your Georgia DUI Trial
It is understandable that you want to try and save money, especially after getting charged with a DUI. Keep in mind that a DUI can change your life. Having a suspended license for a year can make it hard to maintain life and even employment. You will have to rely on the mercy of others to get around if you are not on a public transit route.
Lawyers who specialize in DUI defenses are highly skilled at preparing your case and fighting your side. If nothing else, get a free consultation from an experienced Athens DUI law office.