Do I Need A Lawyer For My DUI Charge In Atlanta, Georgia?
You always need a lawyer for a DUI charge in Atlanta, Georgia, because there is always the possibility that you could go to jail for that DUI charge. You don’t want to go to court unrepresented and get bulldozed into a plea deal that is going to require you to do unnecessary jail time. Having a lawyer who can evaluate your case can result in the negotiation of a much lower criminal punishment or criminal charge.
It’s always important to have a lawyer who specializes in DUI law and who knows the ins and outs of Georgia DUI law, and law enforcement DUI training. Many DUIs can be dismissed because the initial traffic stop was illegal (i.e., there wasn’t an articulable suspicion of criminal activity). The traffic stop has to be based on more than a hunch or guesswork; it has to be based on the officer being able to articulate what traffic offense you committed before they turned on their blue lights.
The second issue is probable cause. When you are arrested for a DUI, the officer is going to observe you very carefully. He is going to observe your eyes, speech patterns, and how you get out of your car. He is also going to ask you to perform standardized field sobriety tests, which typically include the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test, the nine-step walk-and-turn test, and the 30-second one-legged stand test. These tests are based on a totality of the circumstances, where they are looking at a certain number of clues on each test.
Most people are asked to take these tests on the spot without practicing or expecting to be tested on their ability to walk a line, stand on one leg, etc. Most people don’t do well on these tests, especially when they are done on the side of the road in the dark, where there may be the distraction of inclement weather and cars speeding by. These tests are similar to the game Simon Says, because you are being judged on your ability to perform the test as well as your ability to follow instructions. However, the officer will not tell you how they are judging you.
With the right attorney and a motion hearing, we can point out the errors in the police’s administration of the field sobriety tests. We can point out all the different factors that indicate that you were not affected by alcohol, or less safe than you would have been had you not consumed alcohol. Our firm can sometimes get DUI cases dismissed or thrown out based on probable cause and have the appellate cases to prove it. See, the State v. D’Amato case, reported at 302 Ga. App. 181, 690 SE2d 478 (2010).
The third way that we can manage a DUI case is by focusing on implied consent laws in Georgia. Officers have to get actual consent or get you to waive your constitutional rights to get a blood or breath test, but oftentimes officers fail to do this. We may also be able to find errors or subtle issues that can cause the blood or breath test to get thrown out of evidence. There are also issues with the accuracy of breath testing and blood testing for the experienced advocate. By virtue of our scientific training and the amount of technical knowledge we have about the scientific testing procedures and protocols, we are often able to identify errors made by law enforcement.
There is also the potential for margin of error in testing, where we can get what seems like unbeatable DUI test results reduced or even disregarded by juries, and as a result, the client will be found not guilty. These are things that only a seasoned DUI lawyer can perform for their clients.
Can I Get A DUI Charge Or Conviction Off My Record In Georgia?
There is no such thing as expungement in Georgia as in other states. There was an expungement statute in Georgia prior to 2013, but they amended it to what’s now known as a restriction statute. In Georgia, a DUI is never coming off your criminal history, at least for law enforcement purposes. The arrest and disposition will always show on your criminal history, but in some cases, you can have crimes restricted so they are not available for civilian, non-law-enforcement searches. Typically, a DUI—even if it was reduced to a reckless—cannot be restricted or expunged. However, if the DUI charge was dismissed by the prosecutor for reasons other than the unavailability or absence of a witness, then it is possible to have that DUI restricted.
For more information on Hiring A DUI Defense Attorney In Georgia, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (770) 961-5511.
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