A DUI charge and the possibility of a DUI conviction can be devastating for most people. Most of the stress and anxiety associated with both a DUI charge and the possibility of a conviction arise from the uncertainty of the process and the potential penalties (court-imposed penalties and secondary penalties such as the loss of employment). Our DUI lawyers will help you understand the process and will relieve must of the worry associated with the unknowns caused by your DUI arrest.
You will not find a more qualified DUI attorney in Georgia.
Ben Sessions is 1 of 4 DUI attorneys in Georgia to attain Board Certification through the National College for DUI Defense which is the only organization sanction by the American Bar Association to issued the Board Certification status. Ben has successfully defended DUI, serious injury by vehicle, and vehicle homicide cases throughout Georgia, and he has successfully litigated complex DUI-related issues before the Georgia Supreme Court.
Do you have an arraignment upcoming for your DUI case?
The first court date in your DUI case will almost certainly be an arraignment. Do not be anxious about the arraignment. It is not something that you should stress over. If you are not represented by an attorney on your arraignment date, enter a "not guilty" plea in order to give yourself time to hire an attorney. You should not enter a guilty plea without having an attorney advise you on the consequences of the plea. The purpose of the arraignment is to inform the person accused of a DUI (or any criminal offense) with what charges they face. The requirement of an arraignment is established by statute:
(a) Upon the arraignment of a person accused of committing a crime, the indictment or accusation shall be read to him and he shall be required to answer whether he is guilty or not guilty of the offense charged, which answer or plea shall be made orally by the accused person or his counsel.
Have you been charged with driving under the influence of drugs?
If you have been charged with DUI drugs, it is important to recognize that a charge of driving under the influence of drugs presents different challenges from a DUI alcohol case. The tactics that your lawyer employs in your DUI drugs case is different from a DUI alcohol, and if your attorney is knowledgable, it is likely that you many of the tests performed upon you maybe successfully undermined as unreliable or unverified.
How do we effectively defend DUI cases in which our clients did all of the tests?
Yes, we have a track record amongst judges, prosecutors, and other lawyers of defending exceptionally difficult cases, including those in which our client submitted to all DUI field sobriety tests and the blood or breath test after arrest.
It is essential that evaluate and challenge the admissibility of field sobriety test evidence and blood, breath, or urine test in your case.
Before we begin to try to make a decision about how your field sobriety test evidence or your blood or breath test result evidence should be challenged at trial before a judge or jury, we need to challenge the admissibility of this evidence. If the evidence is not going to be admissible in your DUI trial, then we do not need to worry about it should be explained to a judge or a jury.
CAN YOU PLEAD UNDER THE FIRST OFFENDER ACT FOR A GEORGIA DUI CHARGE?
Many people ask if they can plead under (or be sentenced pursuant to) the First Offender Act for a Georgia DUI charge. The First Offender Act presents some defendants with tremendous opportunities if they can successfully the sentence imposed by the Court. If a defendant sentenced pursuant to the First Offender Act successfully completes their sentence, they can honestly say that the charge has been dismissed.
THE FIRST OFFENDER ACT IN GEORGIA IS NOT APPLICABLE TO (ORDINARY) DUI CHARGES
The First Offender Act in Georgia provides, in part:
(a) Upon a verdict or plea of guilty or a plea of nolo contendere, but before an adjudication of guilt, in the case of a defendant who has not been previously convicted of a felony, the court may, without entering a judgment of guilt and with the consent of the defendant:
(1) Defer further proceeding and place the defendant on probation as provided by law; or
(2) Sentence the defendant to a term of confinement as provided by law.
O.C.G.A § 42-8-60.
Unfortunately, the First Offender Act is inapplicable to DUI charges in Georgia:
(f) The provisions of Code Section 17-10-3, relating to general punishment for misdemeanors including traffic offenses, and the provisions of Article 3 of Chapter 8 of Title 42, relating to probation of first offenders, shall not apply to any person convicted of violating any provision of this Code section.
O.C.G.A. § 40-6-391.
The First Offender Act may be available in a Vehicular Homicide or Serious Injury by Vehicle case.
However, the First Offender Act can have an important impact of very sever DUI-related charges. For example, DUI – vehicular homicide charges and DUI – serious injury by vehicle charges are subject to the First Offender Act. It seems a little ridiculous, but under Georgia law, a misdemeanor DUI charge is not subject to dismissal under the First Offender Act, but a felony vehicular homicide charge for a DUI-related death is subject to the First Offender Act.
Often times, the applicability of the First Offender Act to these very difficult felony cases can be the difference in resolving the cases prior to a trial. Many defendants in felony vehicular homicide cases have never been charged with a felony previously (let alone convicted), so the hope that they will be able to retain their civil rights is an important consideration.