DUI Attorney in Milledgeville, GA
Milledgeville DUI Lawyer
If you have landed on this page, you’re probably experienced one of the scariest events of your life – a DUI arrest. When evaluating Georgia DUI lawyers, there are several things that you should consider: (1) is the DUI lawyer Board Certified in DUI Defense, (2) does the lawyer regularly engage in DUI litigation (motions and trials), and (3) has the DUI lawyer tried more than 60 DUI jury trials? You do not want to be a lawyer’s “learning opportunity”. You will not be benefitted by a lawyer that does not actually challenge the State’s evidence regularly. The most important decision that you can make following a DUI arrest is who you will retain to represent you in your case. An experienced, qualified, and aggressive Georgia DUI lawyer will help you:
- Understand the legal process and how potential outcomes may impact your employment and your driver’s license,
- Understand possible outcomes and the procedure that your case will follow,
- Understand possible legal challenges to the admissibility of evidence in your DUI case,
- Understand whether you should proceed to a trial or accept a plea offer, and
- Understand how your DUI will be defended if the case proceeds to a trial.
A DUI charge and the possibility of a DUI conviction can be devastating for most people especially if it’s your first offense If you are looking for a DUI lawyer with a proven record of success that will care about you and your case, we may be able to help you, but you have to take a simple first step: call us. Do not let the uncertainty lead you to procrastinate. Our law firm can deal with this problem and help you through it, but we need you to take the first step. Most of the stress and anxiety associated with both a DUI charge and the possibility of a conviction arising from the uncertainty of the process and the potential penalties (court-imposed penalties and secondary penalties such as the loss of employment). Our DUI defense attorney will help you understand the process and will relieve most of the worry associated with the unknowns caused by your DUI arrest.
How Do I Reinstate My License After a DUI Conviction?
- First Conviction (within 5 years) Plea of nolo contendere – Will not avoid the license suspension. Suspension – Yes; 180 day period beginning on effective date. Limited Driving Permit – Maybe; only if adjudicated in an official accountability court and meet the requirements of O.C.G.A. §40-5-76(a). Reinstatement Requirements: • Submit an original certificate of completion of a DDS approved DUI Alcohol or Drug Risk Reduction Program; • Remit a $210.00 reinstatement fee (or $200.00 if processed by mail).
- Second Conviction (Within 5 years) Plea of nolo contendere –Will not avoid the license suspension. Suspension – Yes; 1 year period beginning on effective date. Limited Driving Permit – Maybe; only if adjudicated in an official accountability court and meet the requirements of O.C.G.A. §40-5-76(a). • Submit an original certificate of completion of a DDS approved DUI Alcohol or Drug Risk Reduction Program; • Remit a $210.00 reinstatement fee (or $300.00 if processed by mail).
- Third Conviction (Within 5 years) Plea of nolo contendere – =Will not avoid the license suspension. Suspension – Yes; 5 year period beginning on effective date Limited Driving Permit – No. However, the licensee may make application for a probationary license pursuant to O.C.G.A. §40-5-58 after a minimum suspension period of 2 years after the date of conviction of the underlying DUI. Reinstatement Requirements: • Submit an original certificate of completion of a DDS approved DUI Alcohol or Drug Risk Reduction Program; and, • Remit a $210.00 reinstatement fee (or $400.00 if processed by mail).
How Does Your DUI Lawyer Negotiate the Best Possible Result in Your Case: Things that Your Lawyer must Do
Most people that have been charged with a DUI or DWI want to avoid a jury trial. The stress and anxiety that are associated with a trial are something that almost everyone would want to avoid. However, it’s not always possible to avoid a trial – some cases just cannot be worked out amicably. However, we need to do our very best to capitalize upon negotiation opportunities when they arise. Frequently, in DUI cases, negotiations take place in the presence of the arresting officer, so your lawyer – not you, needs to be prepared with how to negotiate cases with the arresting officer:
Can the Police use Refusal of Field Sobriety Tests Against You in a GA DUI Case?
One of the things that we’re looking at in the aftermath of the Elliott case in Georgia is how it is that it will affect other parts of the DUI case. So, there’s a case Mitchell versus State, I actually handled it in 2017 where we litigated whether or not the State could admit a person’s refusal to submit to field sobriety tests in the case against them. A challenge, the admissibility of the refusal to submit the fields on fourth amendment grounds. There’s a lot of cases in Georgia that say that you cannot comment upon a person’s refusal to submit to a search, pursuant to the fourth amendment. So, a person has a constitutional right to withhold consent to a search in any given case and that State can’t turn around and use that against them at trial. That’s sort of a basic principle of Georgia evidentiary rules. That’s just the way that our law has developed.
I challenged whether or not field sobrieties were in fact a search. And then whether or not you could use a person’s refusal to submit to that search against it. The court went through this whole lengthy discussion and found, ultimately that refusal of fields sobrieties, they were not in fact a search and therefore you could comment on that, pursuant to the fourth amendment, it was not a constitutional violation for you to comment on that refusal to submit to field sobrieties. I did not challenge them on the self-incrimination grounds of the Georgia constitution. That would have been the appropriate grounds to challenge them on. Aldrich versus State directly address this in a case that dealt with a defendant pre arrest being required to drive his truck, perform an act of driving his truck upon scales. And if I had challenged that under Aldrich and subsequently based upon Elliot, what we would have found is that I probably would’ve gotten a different result out of that part of the Mitchell case. So, whenever you have a client who refuses it, refuses to submit to field sobriety tests, make sure that you’re challenging that on self-incrimination grounds under the Georgia Constitution, paragraph 16.
If you’re raising that challenge, then you’re almost certainly going to have a result where the judge says, no State, you cannot use a person’s refusal to submit to field sobrieties pursuant to the self-incrimination provision of the Georgia Constitution, which protects you against both acts and statements. So, that’s the grounds that you really need to challenge the admissibility of that evidence. It’s also really important that you recognize that this challenge, based upon compelled acts you cannot be required to perform, or compelled to perform acts that may be incriminating against you, does not require a person to be in custody. So, many people have a misunderstanding of paragraph 16 and whether or not it applies to both pre arrest and post arrest acts. And the answer is absolutely, it applies to pre arrest acts as well. So, it does not require any way, shape or form that you be under arrest in order for that protection to allot to, for you to rely upon that. So, don’t be concerned about that at all, if that’s, if that’s what your, what your issue is.
Why do Most Lawyers Encourage People to Refuse Tests in a DUI Investigation?
Almost everyone that talks to me about my work asks this question: “If I am stopped for a DUI, should I refuse the tests?”
First, if there is a remote chance that you might be close to the legal limit or if you feel in any affected by alcohol (or a drug), don’t drive. This sort of question contemplates that you are going to engage in risky behavior that we don’t want to encourage. If you’re reading this, you probably know me, and if you know me, then you probably recognize that I’d come get you (or call an Uber for you) before I’d encourage you to put yourself in a situation where you would have to make a decision about submitting or not submitting to field sobriety tests. When in doubt, don’t drive.
Lawyers typically advise people to refuse tests in DUI investigations because, whether tests would be favorable to the client or not, refusing the tests in a DUI investigation eliminates evidence. A lack of evidence is one basis from which the judge will tell the jury that they can find reasonable doubt. I believe that the real reason most lawyers advise this course of action is that most refusal cases are reduced by prosecutors in advance of trial, and that is certainly reasonable advice in light of that experience. However, what about the cases that are not reduced prior to trial?
Well, it is certainly not a given that a DUI case with a refusal of field sobriety tests and the blood, breath, or urine test is a winner. Despite the reservations of prosecutors to these cases, what most lawyers that have actually tried these cases recognize is that jurors are generally unwilling to give clients the benefit of the doubt (the presumption of innocence in combination with the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt) when the defendant has been uncooperative with the police. It requires lawyers to do a very good job helping jurors to understand the State’s burden of proof, and that is a very difficult thing to do.
Contact Sessions & Fleischman for a free consultation
If you would like to speak with an experienced and qualified DUI and criminal defense attorney, contact Sessions & Fleischman. All consultations are free.