An arrest for driving under the influence (“DUI”) is a life-changing event. You need a relentless DUI attorney to defend you, and you have come to the right place.

You Must Act To Save Your License Within Thirty Days Of Your Arrest

You must act within thirty days to protect your driver’s license. Yes, you can drive for forty-five days after a DUI arrest even when the officer took your physical driver’s license. However, you must file an administrative license appeal within thirty days to prevent an automatic suspension from taking effect after the initial forty-five-day period. In some cases, you can install an Ignition Interlock device in lieu of an appeal, but you need to speak to an attorney to see if you qualify.

What Does A DUI Investigation In Georgia Typically Entail?

There are several ways an officer can initiate a DUI investigation. Most commonly the officer conducts a stop of a motor vehicle after allegedly observing a traffic violation. The traffic violation itself can serve as a factor in the determination of whether a driver is under the influence. After the officer initiates their blue lights, they will be looking for additional indicators of impairment during the stopping process such as additional driving violations or just how the driver brakes, signals and changes lanes.

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Officers could encounter a DUI suspect in other ways too such as a roadblock that stops every vehicle or a predetermined number of vehicles without any suspected wrongdoing at all. Other encounters occur when the vehicle is no longer in motion so it would not be considered a “stop” and allows the officer to conduct a wellness check without any suspicion of wrongdoing. Those situations include an accident scene, a vehicle parked on the side of the road or even a parking lot.

After the initial stop or encounter, the officer will begin the face-to-face interaction in which they request license and registration etc. These requests are standard for any traffic stop, but the driver’s responses and reactions will be weighed in determining whether to continue the DUI investigation outside of the vehicle. During this initial interaction, the officer is looking for physical manifestations of impairment such as fumbling with their license, smelling like alcohol or marijuana, red eyes or slurred speech, or difficulty responding to basic questions, just to name a few.

If the officer determines there is sufficient evidence to continue the investigation, they will ask the driver to exit the vehicle to begin the field sobriety evaluations. The driver’s performance on the field sobriety evaluations will inform the officer’s decision on whether to arrest or release the driver. If the officer places the driver under arrest, then the Georgia Implied Consent Notice will be read requesting a blood, breath, or urine sample.

What Information Are You Required To Provide During A DUI Investigation?

The DUI investigation starts off just like any other traffic offense. For instance, if you are caught speeding then the officer will pull you over with the intention of issuing you a speeding ticket. However, if the officer suspects some sort of impairment after the face-to-face interaction, then a DUI investigation will continue outside of the scope of the initial purpose of the traffic stop. So, you are going to have to treat it like any other traffic stop and the officer will as well. You must turn over your license to prove you are entitled to drive in the state of Georgia. Your insurance and registration are also requested if it is not automatically populated when the officer enters your license information and tag number. Those are the three basic items requested in any traffic stop.

While you must comply with those 3 basic requests, you do not have to say a word. If you do not speak at all, the officer will certainly become suspicious but not talking to the officer in and of itself is not enough to justify a DUI investigation. Likewise, you do not have to comply with the officer’s request to perform any other evaluations. Your refusal to speak or perform any field sobriety evaluations will be weighed in determining whether to arrest you. Truthfully, the officer will likely err on the side of making an arrest, but if you did not provide any additional evidence against yourself by submitting to their requests, then you likely have a very strong defense against the charge in court. That is an important distinction because you are choosing to fight the case in court when you take the stance outlined above. You will almost certainly be arrested, but you will have set yourself up for a favorable outcome in the subsequent DUI prosecution.

What Is Georgia’s Implied Consent Notice?

While every state has some form of implied consent notice, Georgia’s Implied Consent notice is unique and is frequently the subject of litigation with the most recent change coming in 2019. The implied consent notice is forcing you to make a choice by either (1) refusing further testing and facing a license suspension, or (2) consenting to further blood, breath, or urine testing which may still result in a license suspension if the result is .08 grams or more. This would be a great time to call an attorney for assistance with this difficult decision, but the courts have consistently ruled that the right to attorney has not attached at this point. In other words, implied consent comes before any Miranda warnings (right to remain silent, have a lawyer etc). The implied consent notice should be read as soon as possible after the arrest is made. So, the most important advisement of rights that you receive comes at a time where you are likely overcome with emotions and highly unlikely to understand what the officer is requesting. Even worse, you might not even know it is a request. At those moments, when you have just been placed in handcuffs, you might not realize that you have any choice at all. Yet, that is the moment that courts have consistently said is the best time to read the notice. To be fair, the longer you are in custody, the less likely you are to feel that you have any choice. But what if you were advised of your rights before you ever stepped out of your vehicle? Nothing is stopping officers from making it clear from the outset of the investigation that you can refuse the requested testing (both the pre-arrest testing and post-arrest testing). For now though, that is not the law in Georgia.

The Six Types of DUI Charges in Georgia

There are six ways you can be charged with DUI in Georgia: 1) alcohol – less safe; 2) drugs – less safe; 3) vapors – less safe; 4) combination of substances – less safe; 5) alcohol – per se; and 6) drugs – per se. Oftentimes, you will be charged with multiple violations of DUI from one incident, but, even if convicted, you will only be sentenced for one DUI. The various categories just provide alternative ways for the prosecutor to prove your guilt.

For more information on DUI Defense In Georgia, call or text (470) 728-1725 to speak with attorney Carl Chapman.

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