Alpharetta DUI Lawyer
When facing a DUI charge, you may be feeling overwhelmed and uncertain about your future. Depending on the severity of the offense and your criminal history, you could also be facing a jail sentence as well as the suspension of your driver’s license.
Certain defenses may be available in your DUI case that could result in the reduction or dismissal of charges under appropriate circumstances. However, taking advantage of these defenses will necessitate the assistance of a fearless defense attorney. Schedule a free consultation with an Alpharetta DUI lawyer today.
What is a DUI Charge?
Under the Official Code of Georgia §40-6-391, individuals commit the offense of driving under the influence (DUI) when they:
- Are under the influence of alcohol, drugs, glue, aerosols, or other toxic vapors, or any combination thereof to the extent that it is less safe for them to drive,
- Have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more within three hours of being in physical control of or driving a motor vehicle
- Have any amount of marijuana or a controlled substance present in their blood, urine, or both
This statute further establishes that individuals may not use the fact that they have a valid prescription for a controlled substance as a defense to DUI if using the controlled substance makes them incapable of driving safely. An Alpharetta DUI attorney may be able to build a strong case on behalf of individuals who are facing DUI charges.
Penalties for DUI in Alpharetta
Like most other criminal offenses, a first DUI offense typically results in more lenient penalties than subsequent DUI offenses. As a result, a DUI offense may be charged as a misdemeanor, a high and aggravated misdemeanor, or even a felony charge depending on the circumstances. The penalties for DUI can be severe, which is why it is critical for a defendant to obtain a dedicated DUI lawyer in Alpharetta as soon as possible.
First DUI Offense
For a first DUI offense, the offense may be charged as a misdemeanor. Convicted individuals may face a jail sentence of between ten days and one year, as well as a minimum fine of $300 and a maximum fine of $1,000. All but 24 hours of the ten days can be suspended by the judge if that is part of a negotiated plea.
Individuals will also have to complete a mandatory minimum of 40 hours of community service unless their BAC was less than 0.08 percent, in which case only 20 hours of community services is required. A sentencing judge might opt to suspend or probate the entire jail sentence for a DUI unless the BAC of the individuals was 0.08 percent or more, in which case a 24-hour minimum jail sentence would be required as well.
No matter the length of their prospective jail sentence, these individuals would additionally spend the remainder of one year—less any days spent in jail—on probation, as well as complete a DUI alcohol and drug education course. The law also requires a mandatory clinical substance abuse evaluation and a course of treatment, if recommended.
Second DUI Offense
A second DUI offense within ten years is still a misdemeanor offense, but it requires a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 72 hours up to a maximum of one year. Individuals must also pay a fine ranging from $600 to $1,000, complete 30 days (240 hours) of community service, and undergo a clinical evaluation and any recommended substance abuse treatment.
Multiple DUI Convictions
A third DUI offense within ten years results in a high and aggravated misdemeanor charge. Individuals convicted of this offense face a mandatory minimum 15-day jail sentence, a total potential jail sentence of 120 days to 12 months, and a fine ranging from $1,000 to $5,000. A third conviction also requires 30 days of community service and 12 months of probation less any days served in jail. It is important to note that very few judges give the minimum sentence on a repeat DUI offense.
A fourth DUI offense within ten years is a felony offense that requires payment of a fine of between $1,000 and $5,000 and a minimum 90-day mandatory sentence of incarceration. Ultimately, individuals can serve anywhere from one to five years in prison and must serve the balance of five years on probation upon conviction. Individuals may also be required to complete 60 days of community service.
A third, fourth, or subsequent DUI would also require individuals to attend an education program, undergo an assessment, and complete any recommended treatment.
Many counties in Georgia, including Fulton County where Alpharetta is located, have instituted the use of rehabilitation courts, commonly referred to as DUI Court. DUI Court is similar to Drug Court – it is designed to address the underlying substance abuse problem that has led to multiple arrests for DUI. The focus is on counseling, rather than incarceration. Those who participate in DUI Court programs may have access to a limited driving permit to complete the heavy schedule of counseling classes and meetings with the judge over the course of the program. Most programs last more than a year. If you find yourself facing a repeat DUI charge in Alpharetta, be sure to discuss the possibility of DUI Court with an experienced attorney.
Retain the Services of an Alpharetta DUI Attorney
The impact of a DUI conviction can be severe, and the resulting penalties only increase with prior convictions. An Alpharetta DUI lawyer is crucial to minimizing the impact of a DUI charge on your life.
Working with legal counsel may enable you to improve the outcome of the charges against you. Getting legal advice when you need it most can be essential when facing criminal charges with potentially harsh results, so call today to schedule an initial consultation.