Can I Get My DUI Charges Reduced?
If you are arrested for driving under the influence in Georgia, you will likely be stressed and anxious. These feelings are normal, and people experience them no matter what they are arrested for. The first thing to do is to take a deep breath and realize that there is help available to you. An experienced attorney can offer you the assistance you need. Here is what you need to know if you have been arrested for your first DUI.
Penalties Associated with Conviction
Being arrested for a charge of driving under the influence does not automatically mean a conviction, but you should be prepared for the possibility. If you are convicted, you may lose your driving privileges for up to one year. You may be able to have your license returned to you after 90 days in some cases. If you were also arrested for a drug charge, an early reinstatement will not be possible for six months.
When you are convicted of a DUI in Georgia for the first time, there is a minimum incarceration period of one day. The judge has the right to sentence you to up to one year in jail. There is a minimum fine of $300, but it can reach a maximum of $1,000. The fine amount does not include court costs, reinstatement costs, surcharges or other expenses incurred. Nor do these penalties include any other charges, such as speeding or running a red light, on top of the DUI.
A judge may also sentence you to a mandatory alcohol abuse or driver education program. You can also be sentenced to a specific number of hours of community service. These additional penalties are at the discretion of the presiding judge.
Reduction of Charges
Many people that are arrested and charged with a first DUI ask us if there is a possibility of having their charges reduced. The short answer to this question is, “yes.” That said, a defendant must enter an initial plea of not guilty in order to preserve the ability to have charges reduced. If the charges are reduced to reckless driving, the driver may still face the same penalties as if they had been convicted of DUI. An attorney can help you determine if having your charges reduced is beneficial in your unique situation.
In order to have the charges reduced, your attorney will attempt to argue any one of several factors. There may have been police errors that occurred during your arrest. For example, the police may have questioned you without having read your Miranda Rights. There may be no probable cause to have pulled you over, or the breathalyzer test may have been administered improperly. Again, your attorney will discuss the details of your arrest with you and determine if your charges may be able to be reduced.
If you have been arrested for DUI in Atlanta, call our office today. The experienced attorneys at Hawkins Spizman Fortas are here to provide you with the assistance you need. Call today or browse our website for more information about our firm.