Georgia College Student DUI Lawyer

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Georgia College Student DUI Attorney

Georgia is home to many leading universities, and college students throughout the state sometimes get themselves into trouble making poor decisions. Driving under the influence (DUI) is one of the most common examples of this, and a DUI conviction for a college student can have dramatic consequences on their life. A Georgia college student DUI lawyer is an essential resource to consult in this situation.

The team at Teague Law has years of professional experience providing criminal defense representation to clients throughout the state, and we know what could be at stake if you were arrested for DUI as a college student. Our team provides aggressive and results-driven legal representation for all types of DUI cases, including those involving college students. Our team can provide comprehensive defense counsel for your DUI case.

Know the Importance of Defense Counsel You Trust

Do not make the mistake of thinking you can explain your way out of an arrest for DUI or that you can handle representing your own defense in any criminal case. Every American citizen has two very important constitutional rights that come into play when they are arrested for a crime, and you must know, understand, and exercise these rights upon arrest for DUI. Failure to do so could lead to severe consequences that may have otherwise been avoided.

Silence After Your Arrest Doesn’t Mean You’re Guilty; It’s the Smart Choice

The Fifth Amendment of the Constitution protects against self-incrimination. You are not required to act as a witness against yourself in any criminal case, so you are not required to answer any questions from the police when you are arrested for DUI. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that remaining silent makes you look guilty; the reality is that anything you say will be included in the police report and could be used against you in court.

The Sixth Amendment of the Constitution preserves your right to defense counsel when you have been charged with a crime. You have the right to an attorney, and after you are placed under arrest for DUI, it is vital that you remain silent until you are able to make your phone calls. At this point, reach out to an experienced Georgia college student UNG DWI attorney as quickly as possible so they can begin building your defense.

Quickly Hiring Legal Counsel Gives Your Attorney Time to Make Your Case

The faster you secure legal representation, the easier it will be for your attorney to respond appropriately to the situation, inform you of the next steps to take in your defense, and begin helping you build the foundations of your defense. Teague Law has cultivated a strong reputation as a leading choice for criminal defense counsel, and we have strong local ties that we can leverage on behalf of our clients.

Our team knows the local prosecutors, court officials, and judges who may play key roles in your upcoming case. We know how prosecutors tend to seek convictions in their cases and the tactics you might face as your case unfolds. No defense attorney can ever guarantee a specific result in any given case, but we can promise close attention to detail and unwavering support through all of the difficult legal proceedings ahead of you.

Understanding State Laws for DUI

In Georgia, there are various types of DUI charges one might face depending on the circumstances of their arrest. Most DUIs qualify as misdemeanors, but a defendant could face a felony DUI charge under certain conditions. It is also possible for an individual to be charged with DUI while operating a boat, not just a land vehicle. Penalties for DUI can vary widely from case to case based on multiple variables.

The baseline definition of DUI in the state is operating a vehicle while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol. A DUI case will typically begin once a police officer conducts a traffic stop with a driver suspected to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. They may notice the driver behaving erratically behind the wheel or witness them commit a moving violation, prompting the traffic stop.

At this point, the police officer may see signs that the driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The driver may have bloodshot eyes, slur their speech, or the officer may smell alcohol on their breath, smell signs of drug use, or visually identify drugs or open alcohol containers inside of the vehicle. The officer must establish probable cause before conducting a lawful arrest for DUI.

Georgia enforces an implied consent law that applies to all drivers. Implied consent allows the Government to place an Administrative License Suspension (ALS) on your license if you refuse to submit to a State Administered test of your blood, breath, or urine. This law does not pertain to preliminary alcohol screenings prior to arrest or to field sobriety tests However, you may file an appeal or apply for an interlock permit within 30 days after your arrest to attempt to prevent a suspension from an ALS. You are not under any obligation to agree to a field sobriety test, and doing so could provide the police officer with the probable cause they need to conduct an arrest.

Field sobriety tests involve specific movements and exercises that may be difficult for even a sober person to perform. If you make a mistake, the officer will use your failed test as grounds for probable cause, and you will likely be arrested for DUI. At this point, you will be compelled to submit to a chemical test for DUI under the implied consent law. If you refuse, you face an automatic administrative license suspension (ALS) for one year.

You could also face ALS immediately after an arrest for DUI, even if you comply with testing. You only have 30 days in which to request an ALS hearing if you wish to have your license reinstated on a limited basis so you can still drive to and from work after your case, and failure to submit your request within the 30-day limit will mean you lose your right to request a hearing and will have no chance of appealing the ALS.

Chemical Testing for DUI

It is possible to be arrested for DUI with drugs, alcohol, or both. Chemical testing for DUI with alcohol requires a breath or blood sample, while testing for drug use requires a blood sample. However, the police may only take a blood sample with a judicial warrant or with the consent of the suspect. Testing for alcohol use requires measurement of a suspect’s blood-alcohol concentration (BAC).

The legal BAC limit for most drivers in the state is .08%. Any BAC over this limit will result in a DUI. The legal BAC limit for commercial vehicle drivers is .04%, and the limit for drivers under the age of 21 is .02%. Many college students are under the age of 21, and college life is notorious when it comes to underage drinking. This means it would be very easy for a college student under the age of 21 to be arrested for DUI with a seemingly minimal BAC reading.

There are very specific rules the police must follow when it comes to administering chemical testing for DUI after conducting lawful arrests. Any mishandling of the test compromises the result and could form an essential component of the suspect’s defense. If you are tested for DUI, pay close attention to how the test is handled and report anything odd that you experience to your Georgia college student DUI lawyer right away.

Possible Penalties for College Students Charged With DUI

Penalties for a DUI conviction can vary greatly based on multiple variables. Every DUI case will involve mitigating and aggravating factors that influence the final outcome. Mitigating factors work in the defendant’s favor and may encourage leniency in sentencing. Aggravating factors work the opposite way, encouraging a judge to enact harsher penalties on the defendant.

The standard penalty for a first-time DUI for a driver under the age of 21 is a twelve-month driver’s license suspension, with no limited permit for the 1st 6 months if the defendant’s BAC is between .02% and .08%. However, certain factors can result in a 12 month hard suspension with no limited permit for dirvers under the age of 21. Fines can range from $300 to $1,000, and the defendant may face a minimum of 24 hours in jail up to 12 months in jail. The defendant will also be required to perform 20 hours or more of community service and complete a substance abuse treatment program and/or DUI education course.

If the underage driver has a BAC level above .08%, they face harsher penalties. Fines will increase, and they will lose their driver’s license for a year. They will be required to complete at least 40 hours of community service, and the judge handling their case may assign additional penalties that they believe to be suitable based on the facts of the case. When a college student is charged with an adult DUI, penalties will increase with multiple offenses.

If a driver under the age of 21 is convicted of DUI and later commits another DUI offense, their penalties will escalate just as would apply to an adult DUI case. A first-time adult DUI in Georgia usually results in a maximum fine of $1,000, a minimum of 24 hours in jail (unless certain exceptions apply), and a one-year driver’s license suspension.

If a driver is convicted of a second DUI within five years of their first conviction, penalties increase significantly. Their fine may be $600 to $1,000, they could be required to serve a minimum of 72 hours in jail up to one year, and their driver’s license suspension will extend to two years. Additional penalties that could be assigned can include community service, mandatory DUI school, or completion of a substance abuse treatment program at their own expense.

When a driver commits a third DUI within five years of their second conviction, penalties increase again, and the defendant will be legally classified as a habitual offender. Their fine can be $1,000 to $5,000, they face a mandatory minimum of 15 days in jail, and their total jail sentence could extend from 120 days to one year. They will also lose their driver’s license for five years, and the details of their arrest will be published in local newspapers.

A habitual DUI offender will also be required to undergo clinical evaluation to determine whether they have a substance abuse disorder, and they may be required to complete a substance abuse treatment program. If they are then convicted of a fourth DUI within 10 years of their third conviction, they face an automatic felony DUI charge, resulting in prison time, 10 years of driver’s license suspension, and further penalties assigned by the sentencing judge.

Aggravating Factors in a College Student DUI Case

When a driver is arrested for DUI, and it is their first offense, they did not cause an accident, and they demonstrate genuine remorse for their actions, these are important mitigating factors that may have positive effects on their sentence. However, if any aggravating factors are present in the case, these will work against the defendant and will drastically increase their penalties in most cases, potentially even qualifying them for felony prosecution.

Some of the most commonly cited aggravating factors that can increase the severity of a convicted defendant’s sentence include:

  • Excessive BAC. Drivers under 21 already face increased penalties if their BAC is measured above .08%, but an excessively high BAC can be a major aggravating factor in their case that could increase their penalties in sentencing.
  • Causing an accident. This is one of the most serious aggravating factors that could be present in a DUI case. Causing an accident resulting in great bodily harm or death could qualify the defendant for felony prosecution, and they could also face a personal injury suit from the victim or a wrongful death claim from a deceased victim’s family.
  • Additional charges. It is possible for a defendant to face multiple charges on a single indictment. In many cases, it happens as a result of the defendant’s behavior during arrest. Resisting arrest, assaulting a police officer, or failing to comply with the arresting officer’s instructions can easily lead to additional charges and increased penalties.
  • Combination of drunk and drugged driving. Similar to an excessively high BAC, if a defendant has been tested to have had alcohol and drugs in their system while operating a vehicle, the judge handling sentencing will consider this a major aggravating factor in the case.
  • Reckless endangerment of a child. If a driver is arrested for DUI with a child in their vehicle, they are likely to face an additional charge of child endangerment. This is typically a misdemeanor that entails its own penalties, including a fine and jail time.

Your Georgia college student DUI lawyer can help you discern all the aggravating and mitigating factors that are likely to come into play in your sentencing. Additionally, you are likely to face a host of other effects outside of the criminal court system that may not be immediately apparent.

Other Penalties for College Student DUIs

It is important for all drivers to remember that the potential consequences of a DUI conviction can extend far beyond what the court assigns in sentencing. The driver could have problems with their auto insurance policy following a DUI conviction. They may be dropped from coverage if they have broken the terms of their policy or their insurer could increase their premium rate, resulting in significantly higher insurance costs for the future.

A college student charged with DUI can face disciplinary action from their school. If they are attending on a scholarship, many college scholarships have good behavior clauses that will revoke funding if the student breaks the law. Many colleges also enforce strict codes of conduct, and a student may be suspended or expelled if they break the law. This could result in a college student being forced out of school, significantly interfering with their future plans.

A criminal record for DUI will also interfere with their future job prospects. In Georgia, DUI records cannot be expunged, so the record of the conviction will appear on the student’s future background checks, likely discouraging some employers from hiring them. The penalties for a DUI outside of a criminal case can also increase significantly if the student causes an accident while under the influence.

Civil Liability for DUI Accidents

Unfortunately, DUI is a leading cause of auto accidents throughout the state each year. If you have caused an accident while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you not only face criminal prosecution for breaking The state’s DUI law but also civil liability for any damages you caused to the occupants of another vehicle. This could mean the victim will file a claim against your insurance as well as a personal injury lawsuit.

The state follows the fault rule for vehicle accidents, meaning the driver at fault for causing an accident absorbs liability for the resulting damages. When a personal injury results from illegal misconduct, the at-fault driver faces not only liability for the victim’s damages but also punitive damages and/or restitution that can significantly increase their total financial liability for the accident.

How Your College Student DUI Lawyer Can Help

Securing defense counsel as quickly as you can after an arrest for DUI is one of the most effective ways to protect your future as much as possible. If you are a college student who has been arrested for DUI, you could face not only severe penalties in sentencing but also many other detrimental effects that can change your life in various negative ways.

Teague Law has the skills and experience necessary to help you reach the most positive outcome for your case. If you did not commit the DUI, we can help you dismantle the prosecution’s case against you. Successful defense in a DUI case may require proving a mistake of fact, such as that you were not actually intoxicated when you were arrested, a mistake of law, such as a failure to establish probable cause, or a due process violation.

If you did commit the offense, all hope is not lost in this situation, and your Georgia college student DUI lawyer can still be an invaluable asset when it comes to mitigating your penalties in sentencing. Prosecutors are sometimes willing to offer plea deals to defendants under certain conditions. If they believe they have more than enough evidence to secure a conviction, they may offer a plea deal to streamline proceedings and preserve court resources.

It is also possible for a prosecutor to offer a plea deal in the hope that the defendant will accept the deal if they are uncertain whether they can secure a conviction. A plea deal may entail reduced charges and/or lighter sentencing if the defendant meets certain conditions. However, it is important to remember that plea deals are not always offered, and a prosecutor is unlikely to extend a plea deal to a habitual offender or a defendant who has committed a felony DUI.

Successful defense may also require proving that your rights were violated in some way by the police. For example, if they did not read you your Miranda rights upon arrest or if they used excessive force during the arrest, the judge handling your case must take these factors into consideration.

Ultimately, you have the greatest chance of avoiding a conviction for DUI when you have trusted legal counsel defending you. Even if you did commit the offense, legal representation is invaluable for the help they could provide in potentially assisting you in securing a more favorable sentence. Teague Law can assist our client with plea bargaining, but we can seek case dismissal if this is possible.

During your initial consultation with Teague Law, an experienced college student DUI lawyer can listen to your side of the story and help you understand the legal mechanisms in play in your case. You can get the answers you need to your most pressing legal questions and approach your case with greater confidence when you have an experienced defense attorney representing you.

Contact Teague Law today and schedule your free initial case review with a trustworthy Georgia college student DUI lawyer.


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