As you may have noticed, there are more than a few attorneys who say they will take your DUI case. However, that does not mean they are the right attorney for your case. It will be hard for you to know exactly who you should hire, but I always tell potential clients to go with whoever they feel most comfortable with. I liken the decision to choosing a doctor. You don’t go to a heart surgeon for back pain. You want to find a specialist for your particular case. You want an attorney that knows the ins and outs of DUI law. If your attorney isn’t knowledgeable then they will miss out on the legal issues with your case. You also want an attorney who is familiar with the prosecutors and judges. If your attorney isn’t well respected, then they won’t get favorable plea offers in your case. Finally, you want an attorney that is comfortable on their feet and charismatic with the jury. That’s who you want if your case goes to trial. You need someone who can convince the jurors that there is reasonable doubt in your case and guide them towards the only proper verdict, not guilty.

When assessing legal issues with a case, I start off by working through the case chronologically. First, is there a valid stop? We make this determination by reviewing the officer’s report and dash cam. Typically, the underlying traffic violation will be captured on video, and if the video does not show any traffic violation, then you could have a strong motion to suppress resulting in a dismissal of all charges. Then we move to the initial encounter with the officer, any field sobriety evaluations if they were performed, the arrest itself and whether you were read the Georgia Implied Consent Notice. Finally, we look at the procedures for performing the breath or blood test. At any point, if the officer violated the law, then all evidence after that point is suppressed. For example, if the officer does everything right but messes up the blood or breath test, then we can get the test results thrown out. However, the underlying traffic offense would still stand and potentially a DUI less safe charge if the prosecutor felt like they could prove their case without a blood or breath test. So that’s why we look at the case chronologically and try to find the earliest mistake the officer made and work from there.

When lobbying to get the DUI charge dropped, we’re looking for any reason to show the prosecutor their case is not as strong as they had hoped. It is often a combination of legal issues and factual discrepancies along with any mitigation. Maybe there are no legal issues, but you look great on video. You don’t look like someone who is impaired. And that’s the ultimate issue, whether you were impaired. Or maybe the officer didn’t conduct the tests properly and will be destroyed during our cross-examination. If the officer doesn’t know what they are doing, then it’s hard to obtain a guilty verdict. Ultimately, if the prosecutor thinks they can easily win your case at trial, then they are unlikely to give you a reduction. But if we can convince the prosecutor that we can win at trial, then you are much more likely to get a favorable plea offer.

That brings us to the last stage of the case, the trial. If your attorney never goes to trial, the prosecutor knows that and won’t flinch when any issues with the case are brought up in pre-trial discussions. Every case is ultimately working towards a trial until a plea deal is struck. If no acceptable deal is struck, then your case goes to trial. To be honest, I love taking a case to trial. However, it’s a high risk, high reward decision. If we can persuade the jury that there is reasonable doubt in your case, then you could walk away without any conviction at all. If you are convicted, then you will likely get a worse sentence than offered pre-trial. So, whether you are willing to take your case to trial is a decision that needs to be made early on. Of course, the prosecutor doesn’t need to know you wouldn’t go to trial, but we also need to know when it’s time to take the best pre-trial offer and resolve your case. It’s not in my nature to bluff. If we announce ready for trial, then we are in fact ready for trial. Having that reputation leads to better plea offers on the majority of cases that don’t require trials.

For more information on DUI Laws In Georgia, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (470) 728-1725 today.

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Carl Chapman
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