Duluth Georgia DUI Cases

Posted by Richard Lawson | Jun 25, 2011 | 0 Comments

Duluth police officers makes thousands of arrests each year for driving under the influence ( DUI ) offenses.  The DUI arrest typically begins when the Duluth officer observes (or says he observes) some type of traffic offense.  This is often speeding or failing to maintain one's lane, but can be as minor as a rolling stop, no seatbelt, or a burned out headlight.  The officer puts on his blue lights and pulls over the car.  Then he will ask the driver for the license and inquire as to whether they have been drinking.  In many cases, the  Duluth officer will say that he smells the odor of alcohol and that the driver had red or glassy eyes.  He may also say that the driver had difficulty getting their license out of the their wallet or purse and that the drivers speech was slurred. 

In a Duluth, GA DUI arrest, the next step is usually the officer asking the driver to submit to field sobriety tests.  There are three main tests - the horizontal gaze nystagmus (eye test), the walk the turn test, and the one leg stand.  Sometimes the officer will supplement this list with tests of his own devising.  If he observes a certain amount of "clues," the Duluth, GA officer will determine that the driver should be arrested for DUI.  In many instances, the officer will also use an alco-sensor test (which indicates the presence of alcohol) as part of the field sobriety testing. 

Once the driver is placed under arrest for DUI, the officer is required to read an implied consent warning.  There are different warnings for drivers over 21, under 21, and those with commercial drivers licenses ( CDL ).  It also makes a difference if you hold a non-Georgia drivers license.  The warning indicates that if you refuse to submit to a  breathalyzer test (or blood test if the officer chooses), your Georgia drivers license will be suspended for one year.  If you take the test, and you test over a .08, that is evidence the state can use against you in the prosecution. You also still face a license suspension, however, there are limited driving permits available in most instances if you submit to the breath or blood test.  These permits are generally not available for refusals.  Sometimes there exists controversy when you would have submitted to a test, but asked the officer a question for clarification.  The  Duluth officer may have marked it as a refusal, when you were willing to submit. 

There are two main ways that Duluth, GA prosecuting attorneys can charge DUI in the state of Georgia.  There are DUI - less safe charges and DUI - per se charges.  A DUI - less safe is usually used when there is no blood or breath test or the test result is less than a .08 for an over 21 driver, but the prosecutors still want to move forward with the DUI case.  The Duluth prosecuting lawyers need to prove that you were a less safe driver due to being under the influence of alcohol or drugs to convict you.  The DUI -per se charge is used when the driver takes the test and is found to have over a .08 for an over 21 driver, .04 for a driver with a CDL driving a commercial vehicle, or a .02 for a under the age of 21 driver.  Under Georgia law, you are assumed to be DUI if your blood alcohol content is over these limits.  A  good DUI attorney will have to look at your case and attempt to invalidate or suppress the test results. 

A first DUI offense in Duluth, GA is a misdemeanor, but penalties are still severe.  Jail time, fines, court fees, probation, community service, impact panels, random drug and alcohol screen, no drinking conditions, and alcohol and drug counseling are among the likely penalties a first conviction carries as well as suspension of driving privileges.  A subsequent DUI (or a DUI offense that involves minor children in the vehicle - child -endangerment, or a motor vehicle accident or hit and run) carries even more severe sanctions.  In addition to the license and court punishments, DUI convictions affect your insurance rates and may affect your ability to get jobs and to obtain or keep some types of professional licenses.  

While DUI prosecuting attorneys and judges are tough in Gwinnett County on DUI offenders, an arrest does not have to mean a conviction.  You are innocent until proven guilty.  There are many instances where DUI charges are reduced or beaten.  A skilled and experienced Duluth DUI lawyer can help.  Duluth DUI attorney Richard Lawson and his associates have experience fighting for their clients in Gwinnett County courts.  They regularly help clients with the complex license suspension issues that accompany DUI charges.  Our DUI attorneys help clients get the best possible outcomes for the charges they face. We are experienced trial lawyers and will fight for your rights.  DUI convictions in Gwinnett County (and in the state of Georgia) cannot be expunged.  That means that if you go ahead and plead guilty, the conviction is on your record for life.  That is why it is paramount that you discuss your case with our Duluth / Gwinnett County DUI lawyers today.   Contact us to speak to a Duluth DUI lawyer for a free consultation 7 days a week. 

About the Author

Richard Lawson

Richard S. Lawson is passionate about intoxicated driving defense. Unlike some attorneys, Mr. Lawson devotes 100% of his legal practice to helping people stand up for their rights against DUI charges. For more than 20 years, Mr. Lawson has dutifully fought for his clients' freedom, resolving more 4,900 impaired driving cases during the course of his career. Today, Mr. Lawson has developed a reputation as a skilled negotiator and continues to help clients by fighting to keep them out of jail.


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