The easiest way to avoid getting pulled over for drinking and driving, is to NOT drive after consuming any amount of alcohol. While we do not want you to drive after drinking, if you do get pulled over for driving under the influence (DUI), be sure to follow our guidelines laid out below. Being forewarned will help prevent a DUI ruining the start of your new year.
However little you consume, it's best to avoid drinking and driving. If you do drink, it's important to know your limit. If you know you've had too much, and don't have a designated driver who hasn't been drinking, then call a cab or an Uber.
In any case, unless you're drinking on private property, always keep copies of receipts and bar tabs as a record of how much you have had to drink.
What You Should Always Do if Pulled Over
We realize that it's not always possible to judge for yourself when your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is over the legal limit, which is why more than 30,000 people get pulled over for suspected DUI every year in Georgia. So if you get pulled over this holiday season, always:
- Pull over immediately and safely.
- Be polite and respectful; don't resist or argue.
- Have your drivers license, as well as registration and proof of insurance documents available and easily accessible.
- Exercise your right to remain silent.
- Only answer questions relating to your name and address.
- Have your lawyer's number – 770-594-1777 – and other important numbers with you just in case you are arrested.
What You Should Never Do if You're Pulled Over
You should never:
- Get out of your vehicle unless you are directed to do so by a law enforcement officer.
- Lean against a car.
- Answer questions about where you have been and whether or not you were drinking.
- Blow into a hand-held Alcosensor unit.
- Agree to perform field sobriety exercises like following a light with your eyes, walking heel-to-toe, or standing on one leg – even if you believe you are sober. All these exercises are voluntary and are evidence that can and will be used against you.
What to Know About the Breathalyzer and other Chemical Tests
Georgia law requires drivers to submit to chemical testing of blood, urine or breath when they have been arrested for DUI. If you refuse, you risk the penalty of a one-year license suspension. Remember, you have the right to a test of your choice, at your own expense, after you have submitted to the test the officer requests.
The most commonly requested test is of a driver's breath. This test is done on the state-administered machine, the Intoxilyzer 9000, usually at the police station or jail, after the individual has been arrested. If you refuse to submit to a test, the Officer may obtain a warrant for your blood. This has become more common in GA and is a heavily litigated practice.
You have 10 days from the date of your arrest to appeal the Officer's decision to suspend your privileges to drive. It is extremely important that you contact an experienced and knowledgeable attorney to assist you as soon as possible in order to avoid severe ramifications to your ability to drive.
Don't Let a DUI Cost More than Your New Year's Party
We know it's party time, and you want to socialize and have fun after a hard year's work. But, if you are arrested for and subsequently convicted of a DUI, you could end up with costs that could total $20,000.00 or more when you factor in attorney's fees, court fines, DUI School, State mandated evaluations and treatment, etc. It's not just about the money a DUI conviction could cost you, it's also about the many consequences that could impact your life, your family's, and possibly even your profession. In short, a DUI charge and conviction can greatly impact your entire life.
How a DUI Conviction Might Affect You
The financial implications of a DUI conviction are relatively obvious. You'll face court related fines, license reinstatement fees, and more than likely hefty bail costs. Increased insurance premiums are very common with a DUI conviction – they can double, triple, or even quadruple if your insurance company classifies you as “high-risk.” In addition, GA law requires individuals to complete a Drivers' Risk Reduction Program ($355.00) and an alcohol and drug evaluation and any recommended treatment – depending on the evaluation and whether or not treatment is recommended, the costs of this could range from $150.00 – to thousands of dollars. All these additional costs mount up very quickly.
In addition, a DUI conviction includes 12 months of probation (with monthly supervision fees), community service hours, and license suspensions – sometimes with no eligibility of a limited driving permit.
Even if you are not convicted, a DUI arrest alone can be disastrous and debilitating:
- You are arrested and spend several hours, at a minimum, in jail
- You will have to post a bond – either cash or through a bonding company – and usually with the assistance of a friend or family member
- You will have to hire an attorney to represent you, as soon as possible and pay a retainer
- You will likely have to appear in court soon after your arrest – which can be very intimidating and frightening
What to Do If You Are Arrested for DUI
Being arrested is humiliating for any law-abiding citizen. If it happens to you, act immediately. You have 10 business days to save your driver's license, and you're going to need a reliable, well-qualified, experienced and sympathetic Atlanta DUI attorney on your side.
The Don Turner legal team has the knowledge and experience to fight for you and ensure that you have the best support and representation. Don't let your holiday festivities cost you more than they should – call us today for immediate legal advice and assistance.