Do I really need a lawyer?

Don: “The best answer to this question is a reference to those who, after the fact, have tremendous regret that they decided they didn’t need – or felt they couldn’t afford – legal representation. The long term consequences – financially and emotionally – always outweigh the expense of legal representation.”

What is the 30-Day Rule?

Don: “By law you have only 30 days from the date of arrest to prevent your license from being suspended – or even revoked. If you are charged with DUI and refused to take a breath, blood or urine test, or if your test results indicated your blood-alcohol level was 0.08 or higher, we must request a special hearing with the Department of Public Safety in order to appeal your automatic license suspension.”

What blood-alcohol level constitutes DUI?

Don: “Under Georgia law anyone 21 years of age or older is considered per se under the influence if they have a blood alcohol content of 0.08 gram within 3 hours of driving.

Don: “It’s 0.02 grams for drivers under 21.”

How accurate is the breath test?

Don: “The Intoxilyzer 5000 and 9000 are simply machines. Variations or outside factors as common as mechanical failure or the presence of even minor chemicals – such as those found in white bread – can affect the test results.”

Do I have to be drunk to be charged with DUI?

Don: “No. A DUI charge simply implies that a driver has consumed enough alcohol or any drugs, making them a less safe driver. A minor traffic infraction such as failure to maintain lane, disregarding a traffic signal, failure to yield, driving too fast or too slow— combined with even a small amount of alcohol, or any amount of drugs—will likely be justification for a DUI charge.”

What does nolo contendere mean?

Don: “A nolo is a plea that allows you to dispose of your case without admitting guilt. As of July 1, 1997, the only benefit derived from this plea is that it cannot be used against you in a subsequent civil action. It no longer prevents license suspension.”

What are my options once I’ve been arrested?

Don: “You have three choices: plead guilty; plead not guilty and take the case to trial; or plead nolo contendere if you qualify and at the court’s discretion, although such a plea is of little benefit.”

What happens if I’m arrested for possession of drugs?

Don: “If convicted of even simple possession, you will lose your driver’s license for six months. This is true even if no vehicle was involved in the offense.”

I didn’t take the test. Will my license be suspended?

Don: “Yes, if you refused to take the test or your test results are 0.08 or higher. This is an administrative suspension by the Georgia Department of Public Safety, and it begins on the 31st day after your arrest. To avoid this suspension, you must appeal it by writing to the DPS within 10 business days of your arrest. The suspension will then be staid until a hearing is held.”

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