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Driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while intoxicated (DWI) are considered criminal offenses in the state of Georgia. In the state of Georgia, the legal Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) for drivers aged under 21 is set at 0.02%; for operators of commercial motor vehicles, it is 0.04%; and for all other drivers aged 21 or over, the legal BAC is 0.08%.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in 2010, over 1.4 Million Drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If you’re charged with a DUI, the court process can be long and exhausting. Normally, there are several hearings, the first being at the Department of Motor Vehicles, with the final hearing ending at the Municipal, County, or State Court.

Based on national statistics, an average of over 2,300 people a day get arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol in America, and many ask themselves the question, ‘Do I need a lawyer for DUI?’ The answer is that hiring an Atlanta DUI attorney is always advisable.

Call 404-835-4935 today to discuss your case for free. No charge until you win! 

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DUI and DWI Differences in Georgia

DUI stands for driving under the influence and it is charged to drivers who operate a vehicle after consuming drugs or alcohol. DWI stands for driving while intoxicated and sometimes prescription drugs qualify. DWI generally refers to a driver under the influence of alcohol.

In some states a DUI or DWI is interchangeable. Some states differentiate between DUI and DWI. In these states, DUI is a lesser charge signifying a lower blood alcohol concentration. The state of Georgia does not differentiate between the two. DUI is used because it encompasses the use of both drugs and alcohol.

Georgia DUI accident victims may file civil claims against any drunk driver and their insurance company, in addition to the criminal charges they already face. DUI victims may sue for damages including:

  • Medical expenses
  • Property damage
  • Loss of income
  • Pain and suffering
  • Wrongful death

You and your DUI lawyer need to understand the criminal law, civil law, and Georgia DUI law that will affect your claim. Your Atlanta DUI lawyer will guide you through the legal process and what steps to take to successfully prove negligence and/or misconduct. They’ll also be available to answer any questions that you have about your case.

At Henningsen Injury Attorneys, P.C., while we don’t provide DUI defense services, we will fight fiercely for those who’ve been injured by negligent, intoxicated drivers throughout Atlanta. Our lawyers understand the devastating impact these cases can have on someone’s life—the physical and emotional trauma caused by a reckless DUI driver is all too familiar to us. Get in touch with our attorneys today to schedule your risk-free introductory consultation.

Call 404-835-4935 today to discuss your case for free. No charge until you win! 

Georgia DUI Laws

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), intoxicated or drugged drivers put themselves and others at risk over 110 Million Times each year. However, DUI detection is low because police arrest fewer than 1 million people annually for Georgia DUI cases.

Driving under the influence is considered a misdemeanor in Georgia. Drivers who are charged may lose driving privileges, be fined, or face jail time. However, a DUI with injury will almost always be charged as a felony – especially if the accident causes serious injury or death.

Some facing a DUI charge don’t realize that they are also subject to other potential charges depending on the situation, which include:

  • Refusal to comply
  • Failure to stop after an accident
  • Dangerous driving
  • Criminal negligence
  • Driving with a suspended license
  • Reckless driving
  • Vehicular homicide

On the other hand, if you were the victim in a drunk driving accident, don’t leave anything to chance — get a qualified Atlanta DUI personal injury attorney on your side. Our best Atlanta DUI lawyers represent a wide range of clients; throughout various practice areas. Whether you’re looking for a Sandy Springs DUI lawyer or a lawyer for victims of battery and domestic violence charges in Alpharetta, know that Henningsen Injury Attorneys, P.C. can provide comprehensive legal assistance. Contact Us to request your free, no-obligation case evaluation today.

Call 404-835-4935 today to receive a free, no-obligation consultation. You can also fill out our online Case Evaluation Form.

Is a DUI Considered a Felony in GA?

Generally, a DUI is considered a misdemeanor in Georgia. However, if you have been charged with a fourth or subsequent conviction within 10 years, measured from the date of your first arrest, a DUI prosecutor can charge you with a DUI Georgia felony.

Georgia vehicular homicide can be both a felony and a misdemeanor. A felony-grade vehicular homicide charge occurs when a death is the result of a DUI or reckless driving. Convictions of felony-grade vehicular homicide in GA may warrant up to 15 years in prison.

The lookback period for DUI offenses in Georgia is 10 years. This means that if you are arrested and charged for DUI within 10 years of your first conviction, you will be charged as a second offender, and the penalties increase with each DUI conviction.

Georgia has no expungement law and a criminal offense will not be removed from your record. You will always have to explain to future employers, college admission officials, and car rental companies that you got a DUI 10, 20, or even 30 years ago. That’s why it’s important to speak with an Atlanta DUI lawyer about your DUI defense options.

When you need injury representation you can trust, contact Henningsen Injury Attorneys, P.C. With decades of experience behind us, our law group has successfully represented drunk driving victims in John’s Creek, Roswell, and elsewhere in Gwinnett County, Fulton County, Cobb County, DeKalb County, and throughout the state. We understand the laws in the area and can help you build the strongest case possible for your situation. Together, we’ll fight to bring justice and get you the financial compensation you deserve.

Can a Lawyer Get a DUI Dropped?

What happens in your DUI defense case will depend heavily on the details of your case. Each case is different but skillful DUI attorneys can often get a DUI charge dropped. Or they can reduce the severity of the penalties, such as having the license suspension removed.

DUI lawyers can investigate the procedures used to conduct your breathalyzer tests and if they’re deemed faulty or have inconsistent test results, then your case could be dropped or reduced. They also can investigate whether or not the law enforcement officers or DUI prosecutor breached your constitutional rights and have the breathalyzer evidence excluded.

The DUI prosecutor may be willing to negotiate the penalties downward if the driver’s blood-alcohol level is just above the legal limit or there are other compelling factors. Some criminal defense attorneys have had to take their cases to the Georgia Supreme Court to protect their client’s rights.

The legal maneuvering of your Georgia DUI lawyer could convince the prosecutor to offer a plea to a lesser sentence and help you avoid the mandatory minimums of a AtlantaDUI charge. Hiring an experienced Atlanta DUI attorney can help you get the representation you deserve and shore up your DUI defense.

Call 404-835-4935 today to discuss your case for free. No charge until you win! 

Is a Georgia DUI Attorney Necessary?

Georgia is the second most punitive state for DUI charges after Arizona. Atlanta, GA has some of the toughest driver’s license suspension rules in the country, especially for DUI refusal. The majority of jurisdictions in the United States offer no DUI expungement, or probation before judgment, or DUI diversion, or youthful offender alternative sentence or any other path to not putting a drunk driving conviction on your criminal history, except fighting the case or entering a guilty plea to driving while impaired.

A DUI Georgia conviction for driving under the influence will remain on your criminal record forever. In these states, you need to contact a DUI law firm with an impressive record of criminal defense lawyer DUI trials and victories.

In Georgia, a DUI conviction will result in automatic suspension of your privilege to drive. A DUI conviction on someone’s criminal record can never be expunged or removed.

A Georgia DUI on someone’s record makes it difficult for them to get a job, apply to school, or renew a professional license. The Governor of Georgia does not have pardoning power so pardons are not an option either.

Record Restriction in Georgia

If you were not convicted of DUI and your case was dismissed, then you have an alternative. You can apply for a record restriction in Georgia, but record restriction is not the same as expungement.

Record restriction does not automatically happen if your case is dismissed. Your criminal record will show that your DUI arrest was “dismissed” but the record restriction application is a separate step. The only way the DUI prosecutor will consider record restriction is if your DUI charge has been dismissed.

When your DUI record is successfully restricted, private businesses will not be able to see the arrest.  However, government agencies, police officers, and prosecutors can still see the offense. If you are charged again, both the prosecution and the judge can use it against you in sentencing. The penalties for repeat offenders and first-time GA DUI offenders are very different.

 Call 404-835-4935 today to discuss your case for free or fill out our Contact Form

First Georgia DUI Offense

All Georgia DUI offenses pose the risk that the accused citizen will have a permanent, lifetime criminal record, even the first. Most DUI arrests (90%) in GA are only a misdemeanor criminal offense, the lifetime record implications can be devastating for certain types of employment, and limit your access to certain resources.

Every repeat DUI offense ramps up punishment, and these increases in DUI penalties are dramatic:

  • A first DUI misdemeanor offense carries a sentence of 24 hrs in jail – one year in prison, 40 hours of community service, and a fine of up to $1000.
  • A second DUI misdemeanor offense carries a sentence of 72 hrs in jail – one year in prison, 240 hours of community service, and a fine of up to $1000.
  • A third DUI misdemeanor offense carries a sentence of 15 days in jail – one year in prison, 240 hours of community service, and a fine of up to $5000.
  • A fourth DUI offense is a felony, carries a sentence of up to 5 years in prison, 480 hours of community service, and a fine of up to $5000.

What are the Chances of Winning a DUI Case?

Your chances of winning or losing your DUI case will vary according to the details of your situation. A competent Atlanta DUI attorney can use the following legalities of your case to your advantage:

  • Illegal tests by the authorities, meaning that your blood was withdrawn without your consent or a warrant
  • Illegal seizures and examinations by the authorities, meaning the police did not have probable cause, a warrant, or your consent
  • Violation of your rights, for example, you were prevented or delayed from speaking with a DUI defense attorney or criminal defense attorney

The DUI defense firm that you choose will often have a profound effect on the outcome of your claim. The right DUI attorney will know the prosecutors and judges in your Atlanta municipal,  Georgia County, or State court.  Your DUI attorney will collaborate with other professionals to advocate on your behalf. A defense Atlanta DUI lawyer in GA can defend you with forceful evidence and persuasive arguments so you can be offered a reasonable plea bargain or even have the drunk driving charges dismissed.

Depending on where your arrest was made and by what legal entity, it is possible for your case to be heard in a municipal court rather than a county court. There are specific requirements and procedures that law enforcement and the State must adhere to in order to achieve a conviction for DUI.

They can also pull from their experience which helps them understand how the prosecutor and judge may respond to the details of your case, and use the nuances of GA DUI laws to protect you. Having someone who knows the law and the tendencies of the prosecutor or judge can work in your favor.

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What Is Implied Consent Law And Why It Matters

The Georgia Implied Consent law is a statutory provision that requires any driver pulled over for suspicion of DUI in Georgia to submit to BAC testing (such as breath tests, urine tests, blood alcohol tests). Refusing to comply may result in a one-year administrative license suspension, even if the driver is eventually acquitted.

It’s important to understand that administrative license suspensions are separate from criminal penalties for DUIs in Georgia — the administrative suspension must be addressed by the driver in addition to the court case. However, license suspensions can be appealed. Petition hearings with the Department of Driver Services (DDS), for example, may allow drivers the opportunity to have their license suspension overturned.

Accused individuals can also install an Ignition Interlock Device to keep their driving privileges, even under the terms of suspension. The downside is that such devices are quite expensive, with recurring calibration and maintenance fees after installation.

If your implied consent rights have been violated or if you feel that your participation in a chemical test was coerced by an officer’s threat, reach out to an experienced Atlanta DUI lawyer to discuss your legal options.

Millions of Dollars

in verdicts & settlements

Atlanta DUI Costs

Each year, Georgia has more than 200,000 DUI arrests and approximately 11,773 people were killed in drunk driving crashes in one year; that’s one drunk driving death every 45 minutes. The penalties and costs associated with this crime are harsh because Georgia state officials want to discourage driving under the influence.

Here are some of the costs associated with DUI arrests:

  • An alcohol evaluation will cost $95 – $300 and is required for anyone who is sentenced by the court for drunken driving.
  • Alcohol education and treatment costs range between $500 – $4,000 for basic treatment. If you are convicted for a DUI in GA, you may be ordered to go through an education or treatment program, especially when your license has been suspended.
  • Bail costs may range between $150 – $2,500 depending on your blood alcohol level and how many offenses you’ve accrued.
  • Fines for a DUI can cost you between $300 and $5000 depending on your offense and criminal history.
  • Insurance costs can range between $4,500 or more because one of the harshest hits a drunken driver takes is with their insurance premiums. A DUI could affect your insurance rates for three to five years and your rates may double because companies will classify your policy as “high-risk.”
  • Legal fees could cost you anywhere between $2,000- $25,000 depending on how long your case takes, and what’s required.
  • Reinstating your license after a DUI can cost $210 – $410. After you have completed a state-certified risk reduction program, which costs $287, you can reinstate your Georgia driver’s license for a fee of $210 – $410.
  • Towing costs can be between $50 – $200 and the cost of towing and impounding a car will add up daily. Some cities may auction your car to the highest bidder if you can not afford to get your car back after 30 days.

DUI arrests and convictions cost money, time, and can lead to job loss or prevent future employment opportunities. That’s why it’s important to find an Atlanta, GA DUI lawyer who can support your claim while working efficiently to protect your wallet and your rights.

DUI Lawyer Costs

The costs of hiring a good lawyer outweigh the costs of a conviction because a skilled attorney can prevent you from losing your driver’s license or being charged with a more serious crime like vehicular manslaughter.

The expenses involved in a DUI case depend on several factors, such as:

  • The amount of time your lawyer spends on your case
  • The number of trial days required
  • The amount of disclosure, reports, and witnesses needed
  • Hiring experts to advocate or testify on your behalf

Your DUI law firm should be able to provide a retainer agreement that sets out the fees and services you can expect to pay. This can help you to prepare and allocate the funds ahead of time.

What to Do If Charged With Driving Under The Influence

Working with Georgia DUI defense lawyers who know the law and can effectively represent you in the defense of your case can be pivotal to upholding your rights.

A drunk or drugged driving conviction can impact your future, but being arrested and charged with a DUI does not mean that you have to be found guilty in court. Securing a lawyer is an investment in your defense that could pay off dividends for your future.

Why Choose Henningsen Injury Lawyers For An Injury Caused By A Drunk Driver?

Attorney Todd Henningsen is an Atlanta-based DUI and Personal Injury Lawyer. He is a member of the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, Southern Trial Lawyers Association, and the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association.

He has been admitted to the State Bar of Georgia and the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. Most importantly, he has a proven track record in DUI cases, vehicular homicide cases, and has recovered millions of dollars for his clients.

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