Dahlonega DUI Lawyer

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Dahlonega DUI Attorney

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious criminal offense in Lumpkin County, and DUI is one of the most commonly prosecuted crimes in the United States each year. While law enforcement and prosecutors take DUI offenses very seriously and commonly issue harsh penalties for conviction, it is vital for anyone facing this charge to know their rights and the value of working with an experienced Dahlonega DUI lawyer.

Lumpkin County Drunk Driving Attorney for Dahlonega, GA, DUI Cases

The team at Teague Law has years of professional experience in criminal defense, and our firm has a strong track record for successful defense in Lumpkin County. DUI can lead to serious penalties, and once a DUI conviction is on your record, it can negatively impact your life in multiple ways. Our goal is to provide the defense counsel you need when faced with a DUI charge and help you reach the optimal outcome for your case.

Teague Law has strong roots in the state, and we have represented many clients in Dahlonega and throughout Lumpkin County. Partner Sarah Sevcech graduated from University of North Georgia in Dahlonega and has maintained a presence in the area since. Our goal is to provide responsive legal guidance no matter what type of charges you face.

We will do everything we can to help you avoid conviction if possible or mitigate your sentence if necessary. We are available 24/7 if you have been arrested and are in need of criminal defense counsel that you can trust.

Our firm has developed strong professional ties with prosecutors, court officials, and law enforcement officers throughout Lumpkin County, meaning we can approach your court proceedings with confidence. When you choose our firm to defend you in a DUI case, you can expect close attention to detail, rapid responses to your questions, and careful preparation for each new phase of your case.

Understand Your Rights After Arrest for DUI

The Constitution guarantees specific rights in certain situations, and two amendments apply directly to your situation after an arrest for any criminal offense. The Fifth Amendment protects against self-incrimination. You are not required to act as a witness against yourself, so you have the right to remain silent as soon as you are placed under arrest. Do not say anything once you have been arrested, even if you know you did nothing wrong and want to explain the situation.

The Sixth Amendment applies to your right to legal counsel. Every American charged with a crime has the right to legal representation, a speedy trial, and the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses. Once you have been arrested, you must exercise your right to remain silent until you are able to exercise your right to legal representation. Your attorney can ensure that due process has been followed for your arrest and booking.

When a police officer conducts an arrest for any criminal offense, they are required to read the suspect their Miranda rights, which is a brief explanation of their Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights as they apply to the situation. If the police do not read you your Miranda rights, it is a major due process violation. Tell your attorney what happened, and they can advise you as to how this could impact your case.

Understanding DUI Charges in Lumpkin County

DUI can apply to any incident of a driver operating their vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including prescription drugs, if they interfere with the driver’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. DUI testing for alcohol is typically performed with a blood test or breath analysis, while DUI testing for drug use is done using blood samples. Blood or breath samples may be taken only with consent or with a judicial search warrant, and they must be conducted under specific conditions.

A police officer may conduct a chemical test only after they establish probable cause, meaning they must observe signs of the driver’s intoxication. Police check for DUI with alcohol by measuring blood-alcohol concentration (BAC), typically with a breathalyzer device. The legal limit for most drivers is .08% BAC, but the legal limit for commercial drivers is .04%, and any detectable amount of BAC over .02% can lead to a DUI charge for a driver under 21.

When it comes to testing for drugs, any number of illegal drugs in the driver’s system can lead to a DUI charge, and it is also possible to test for prescription drug concentrations that cause impairment. These cases are inherently complex as some drugs will remain detectable by blood tests long after their impairing effects have subsided. If you believe any such issues are present in your case, a Lumpkin County drunk driving attorney will know how to address these problems.

It is important to remember that if you are convicted of DUI in Lumpkin County, there is no way to remove the record of your conviction in the future. Your DUI conviction will lead to many penalties and significant expenses, and some of the effects of the conviction may not be immediately noticeable. You could face fines and other financial penalties, such as DUI school at your own expense, along with losing your job and facing higher auto insurance premiums.

Testing for DUI in Lumpkin County

Being arrested for any criminal offense is a harrowing experience, especially if it is the first time you have been arrested for anything. The emotional tension of the situation can make it easy for the average person to overlook crucial details of their case, such as the arresting officer’s handling of the situation and what they state provided probable cause for the arrest in the first place.

Police officers in Lumpkin County must have reasonable cause to conduct a traffic stop for suspected DUI. For example, they may observe a driver commit a moving violation, such as running a stop sign. This does not automatically mean that the driver is impaired; they may have simply made a mistake or were distracted behind the wheel. However, this incident does form reasonable cause for the police officer to conduct a traffic stop.

Once stopped, the police officer may then observe other evidence that establishes probable cause to check for DUI. For example, they may see empty alcohol containers inside the vehicle, smell alcohol on the driver’s breath, or observe physical signs of impairment when speaking with the driver. A police officer may ask the driver to perform a field sobriety test, but the state’s implied consent law does not apply to these tests, only a chemical test.

The state’s implied consent law applies to lawfully administered chemical tests. Once a police officer has established probable cause for a chemical test, refusal of this test will lead to an automatic administrative license suspension (ALS) with the Department of Motor Vehicles. The driver then has 30 days to file an appeal and request an ALS hearing to preserve their right to save their license.

If a driver is confirmed to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they will be arrested and booked. If you are arrested, say nothing during your arrest. Do not attempt to explain your side of the situation, as anything you say can be taken out of context in the police report. Even if you are certain you did nothing wrong and are not under the influence, remain silent until you can speak with a Dahlonega DUI lawyer.

Potential Penalties for DUI Conviction in Dahlonega

In every criminal case, the prosecution faces the burden of proving the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a relatively high bar of proof, and the prosecution will leverage various forms of evidence against the defendant, including the police report from their arrest, toxicology reports from their chemical test, and testimony from arresting officers. If convicted, it is possible for the defendant to face a wide range of penalties.

Generally, penalties for DUI conviction in Georgia function on a scale that increases with severity based on several factors. Primarily, the number of prior DUI convictions the defendant has will significantly impact the severity of their sentence. Other aggravating factors can include excessive speeding while under the influence, reckless driving, and causing an accident resulting in injury or death.

A first-time DUI offense can include penalties such as a minimum $300 fine that can rise to $1,000, a minimum of 24 hours in jail (with a maximum of 1 year), and a driver’s license suspension for up to one year. The defendant may also be required to perform up to 40 hours of community service, complete a substance abuse treatment program, and attend DUI school at their own expense. Many first offenders who do not cause injury or death may be issued probation in lieu of jail time.

If the defendant commits a second DUI offense within five years of the first, the penalties can increase substantially. Fines will range from $600 to a maximum of $1,000, and they can spend anywhere from 72 hours to one year in jail. Their driver’s license will be suspended for up to two years, and the judge may also order the defendant to complete DUI school, a substance abuse treatment program, and perform a minimum of 30 days of community service.

For a second DUI, the defendant could also be required to have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed on their vehicle following reinstatement of their driver’s license. The IID will require the driver to deliver a breath sample into the device before the vehicle starts and at random intervals while the vehicle is in use. If the driver does not provide a sample quickly enough, the IID will shut off the engine, and the device records all testing results.

If the defendant commits a third DUI within five years of the second, the fine escalates to between $1,000 and $5,000. Their other penalties will increase significantly as well. They could go to jail for 120 days to one year and will face a mandatory 15 days in county jail at minimum. Their driver’s license will be revoked for five years, and they will be forced to surrender their vehicle’s license plate to the Department of Motor Vehicles.

After a third DUI conviction, the defendant will be formally recognized as a habitual offender, and the information regarding their arrest will be published in county newspapers as they will be seen as a threat to public safety. They will also be required to complete a formal clinical evaluation. If the evaluation determines that they have a substance abuse disorder, they will need to complete a treatment program at their own expense.

A fourth DUI conviction within 10 years is an automatic felony under Georgia law. The defendant could face up to five years in state prison rather than county jail, up to 10 years of driver’s license suspension, heavy fines, and more penalties assigned at the discretion of the sentencing judge. It is also possible for a defendant to face a felony DUI if they caused an accident while under the influence, resulting in great bodily harm or death.

Possible Defenses to Your DUI Charge in Lumpkin County

In every criminal case in Lumpkin County, the prosecutor has the burden of proving the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, which is a high standard of proof that requires careful leveraging of evidence and testimony. It is your Dahlonega DUI lawyer’s job to prevent them from meeting this burden of proof by calling the prosecution’s evidence into question.

If you did not commit a DUI and were wrongfully arrested, your defense attorney can help determine the most viable defenses available to you. This could involve a review of the circumstances of your arrest and booking, an examination of whether the arresting officers followed due process, properly established probable cause for your arrest, and read you your Miranda rights as the law required.

It is also possible for a defendant to have a medical condition that would cause a false positive to appear on a chemical test. While rare, these conditions can confuse breath and blood testing procedures and show the defendant to be intoxicated when they are not. Individuals with these conditions generally have medical documentation to prove the truth of their situations, and their defense attorneys can help them leverage this exculpatory evidence appropriately.

A defendant could also avoid conviction by proving that the arresting officers violated their rights in some way, failed to establish reasonable cause for the traffic stop in the first place, or otherwise failed to perform a lawful arrest for DUI. The average person may not know how to identify evidence that can support this type of defense, which is another reason it is so crucial to have trusted defense counsel immediately after arrest and booking for DUI.

Civil Liability for Drunk Driving Accidents

It is important to remember that if you caused an accident with another party while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the state will file a criminal case against you for breaking the law, and the victim of the accident will have grounds to file a personal injury claim for the damages you caused.

The criminal case from the state and the civil claim from the victim are entirely separate, and the standard of proof required to establish liability in a civil claim is much lower than the standard of proof required to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in a criminal case. This means that a defendant may avoid conviction in their criminal trial but still be found liable for the damages they inflicted on the party filing the civil claim.

Georgia’s personal injury statutes enable the plaintiff in a personal injury claim to seek full repayment of the damages the defendant caused. Recovery from a vehicle accident typically starts with an auto insurance claim, as state law requires all drivers to have appropriate insurance coverage. If you cause an accident and another driver claims against your policy, your premium rate is likely to increase, and a DUI conviction could also cause it to increase.

A plaintiff in a personal injury claim can seek compensation for their vehicle repair costs, other property damages, medical treatment costs, long-term medical expenses for a serious injury, lost income, and compensation for lost future earning capacity if they have been permanently disabled by the accident. State law also enables them to claim as much pain and suffering compensation as they believe to be appropriate to reflect the severity of the harm done to them.

Causing an accident while under the influence of drugs or alcohol in Lumpkin County not only increases the likelihood that you will be convicted of DUI but also that you will face a civil claim from the victim. If you cause a fatal accident, it will increase the chance of you facing a felony DUI charge, and the victim’s family is likely to pursue a wrongful death claim. Ultimately, conviction of DUI in the state can be incredibly costly in several ways.

What to Expect from Your Dahlonega DUI Lawyer

It is vital that you take full advantage of your right to legal counsel after an arrest for DUI in Dahlonega. Even if you think your situation is hopeless, the right attorney can potentially help mitigate your penalties significantly or even avoid conviction entirely under certain conditions. If you did not commit the offense, reliable defense counsel is your most effective asset for proving the truth of the situation.

When you choose Teague Law to represent your defense, we can immediately review the details of your arrest and booking. We can verify that the arresting officers met the requirements for reasonable cause to initiate your traffic stop and that they fulfilled the requirements of probable cause for your arrest. We can also look at how they handled the chemical test and ensure that there was a proper chain of custody of the test sample.

There Are Usually a Number of Defense Options Available When You Have the Right Lawyer

You could have more defensive options available than you initially realize, especially in light of the emotional strain that your arrest has likely caused. This is why it is so important that you exercise your right to remain silent until you can speak with an attorney and that you reach out to a Dahlonega DUI lawyer as quickly as possible after arrest and booking. This ensures ample time for your defense team to review the details of the situation and begin formulating your defense.

The prosecution has the burden of proving your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and we will do everything we can to prevent them from meeting this burden of proof. Our goal for every criminal case we represent is to help our client avoid conviction if possible or mitigate their sentence if necessary. If a plea bargain is your most viable option, we can explain the benefits of accepting the deal and help you understand the implications of the conviction.

Teague Law is transparent when it comes to our billing policy, typically billing in flat fee rates for criminal cases – foregoing the expensive hourly rate some firms use, and we can explain our costs after discussing the relevant facts of  your case so there are no surprises when it comes to your attorneys’ fees. We make optimal use of all time spent working on a case and allocate resources carefully to ensure maximum value for our clients in Lumpkin County.

Find Your Defense Team in Lumpkin County Today

Time is a critical factor in any criminal case, so it is vital that you connect with a trustworthy Lumpkin County drunk driving attorney as soon as you can after your arrest. Teague Law is ready to provide the guidance and support you need in this difficult situation, so contact us today and schedule a free consultation with a Dahlonega DUI lawyer to defend you.


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