The Atlantic Law Firm: Your Savannah DUI Attorney

Over the course of her career, Stacey has handled HUNDREDS of DUI cases. Relax and call now for a free consultation.

So you’ve been charged with DUI. A few considerations:

 

If You Refuse the Test You Will NOT Definitely Lose Your License for One Year

If you refuse to take a breath or blood test for driving while impaired in Savannah, a license suspension is not automatic. If you send a letter with the $150 filing fee to the Georgia Department of Driver Services within 30 days of your arrest a driver’s license hearing will be scheduled with your arresting officer at the Office of State Administrative Hearings. Only after this hearing can a driver’s license be suspended for refusing a State-Administered Test. In fact, refusal suspensions are rare when represented by a Savannah DUI lawyer who can negotiate the suspension during the drivers license hearing.

You Can Beat a Breath or Blood Test Result DUI – It is Not Hopeless

There are many opportunities for a strong defense in Savannah DUI cases with State-administered results.  DUI cases with blood and/or breath tests as evidence are beaten every day. For one, was the stop legal? Many cases can be dismissed because of illegal stops. Second, was there enough evidence – probable cause – to arrest you for driving while impaired in the first place? If not, Savannah DUI lawyer Stacey M. Goad will file the pre-trial motions and fight to have your case dismissed long before it ever reaches a jury.  Third, did the police officer correctly read you the implied consent rights? This is the most common source of police error in DUI cases.

By law, the law enforcement officers must read your “Implied Consent” rights in the correct manner and at the correct time.  DUI cases across the State of Georgia are thrown out due to the Implied Consent rights not being read in the correct manner or at the correct time. Fourth, were the breath test machine or blood testing records maintained or functioning properly? This is another great way to defeat a driving while impaired case. Finally, there are inherent weaknesses in the science of breath testing to create doubt for jurors.

Field Sobriety Tests Are Not Reliable Indicators of Alcohol Impairment:

The three most commonly used field sobriety evaluations are the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test, or eye jerking test, the nine step walk and turn, and the 30-second one leg stand. These tests supposedly correlate specific clues with blood alcohol levels, but not “impairment” as so often testified to by police on the witness stand.

These tests were validated by NHTSA in the 1970’s in a controlled environment using a cross-section of the population and found that they are reliable around 70% of the time. Other non-controlled studies have been done with higher percentages, but they have been by police and in the field after midnight, which tends to focus on a much narrower cross section of the population.

HGN is naturally present in approximately 10% of the population without the presence of alcohol. Medical disorders such as inner ear infections, vertigo, water in the ear and Meniere’s Disease can cause the eye to jerk or HGN as if alcohol had been ingested. DUI police officers tend to use more than the standardized number of passes for the HGN test and move the pen or target object back and forth several times more. They claim to be making sure they are performing the entire test, but in reality they are actually inducing eye jerking or HGN.

Most police officers can’t even name the muscles of the eye that they are testing during HGN. The HGN tests the lateral and medial rectus muscles as well as the cranial nerves that innervate the muscles. The 6th cranial nerve, or the abducens, is tested by the HGN procedure. These muscles are like “rubber bands” and easily fatigue and begin to spasm or “jerk” when over-stimulated. That, of course, is the same HGN produced by alcohol ingestion.

The Nine Step Walk and Turn and the One Leg Stand are divided attention dexterity tests. These tests are easier to do with practice. The first time you try them, they are often impossible, regardless of whether you have been drinking. Just ask them about how long it took them to learn to ride their bicycles, ice skate, roller skate or perform yoga balancing moves. Many athletic activities require practice and frequent repetition in order to perform fluidly, which has no relation to alcohol consumption.

The Romberg test is another sobriety evaluation that is misunderstood and misapplied by police in DUI investigations. In the Romberg test, the subject is asked to stand with feet together, tilt the head back slightly, close the eyes, and estimate 30 seconds. The Romberg Test is a test for Upper Motor Neuron disease. Many older adults will fall over when performing this test without the presence of alcohol.

We encourage our juries to try these tests back in the jury room so they can see how easy they are to fail.

The State-Administered Breath Test at the Jail or Police Station, the Intoxilyzer 9000, is Not Always Accurate and Can be Beaten in Court:

The Intoxilyzer 9000 alcohol breath test machine is flawed, because it has to make assumptions. It assumes, for one, that your body temperature is normal. If you have a fever, every degree of body temperature variation from normal will cause a 7% change in the breath test result. It assumes your “partition ratio” is 1:2100. This means that for every particle of alcohol in your lungs, it assumes there are 2100 particles in your blood. Human partition ratios can vary from 1:1500 to 1:3400. It assumes that your blood alcohol level has peaked and is decreasing. It generally takes 30 minutes on an empty stomach and 2 hours on a full stomach for your blood alcohol to peak.

If you blow before you peak, then your breath alcohol level can be as much as 50% higher than your blood alcohol level, because breath alcohol comes from your arterial blood system and blood alcohol level is drawn from your veins. Given the same body size, women will have a higher blood alcohol level than men after drinking the same amount of alcohol, so using blood alcohol levels as a per se determination of DUI discriminates against women. Also, the Intoxilyzer 9000 has a margin for error. It can vary as much as .02 between samples because of variations in deep lung air. It can mistake solvents such as acetone and ketones as blood alcohol on the breath.

Radio frequency interference from cell phones can cause errors in breath alcohol readings. It can also mistake residual mouth alcohol from burping and belching as blood alcohol. There is significant room for error.  The Jury needs to know this.

Savannah DUI Lawyer

In Georgia and other US states, it is a crime to drive or operate a vehicle while drunk or under the influence of any substance.

If you have been charged with a DUI in Savannah, GA, it is important that you understand your rights, the charges against you, and the potential penalties you may face. While the information here can provide some insight, you may need an experienced DUI attorney to provide more personalized information for your unique circumstances.

DUI lawyers are criminal defense lawyers who represent those charged with DUIs and related crimes such as reckless driving and sometimes boating under the influence (BUIs).

They understand the laws and technicalities that apply in DUI cases and can put this knowledge to use while working to ensure a positive outcome for you and minimize the consequences of your charges.

Elements of Georgia DUI Crimes

Contrary to popular opinion, a DUI is more than just a drunk driving offense. There are several important aspects of this crime under the Georgia Code, and it is important to understand each one to help you prepare for your defense.

The Georgia Code prohibits driving:

  • Under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Under the intentional influence of any glue, aerosol, or toxic vapor
  • Under the combined influence of any of the above substances
  • With a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 grams or more ( or 0.02 grams for minor drivers)
  • After consuming marijuana or any other controlled substance.

The law recognizes that alcohol or drug consumption in small quantities might not affect a person’s ability to drive, so for the first three points above, the code creates an additional requirement.  For DUI charges brought under those heads, the prosecution would need to show that the accused person’s consumption of drugs or alcohol impaired their senses and made it unsafe for them to drive. An accused person may also be able to establish a suitable DUI defense if they can show that their consumption of those substances did not affect their driving in any way.

Also, if you’re on any prescription medication that dulls your senses or leads to intoxication, you might need to avoid driving until its effects wear off. This is because the fact that you’re legally entitled to take those drugs is not a recognized defense under the code. So, you could get arrested and charged with a DUI if your medication interferes with your driving abilities.

Classification of Georgia DUI Offenses

DUI charges or crimes are generally classified as misdemeanors and felonies depending on the accused person’s criminal record.

A first or second DUI is classified as a misdemeanor, while a third DUI is charged as a high and aggravated misdemeanor. A DUI becomes a felony if the accused has three or more prior DUI convictions.

The punishment for these offenses increases progressively with each prior conviction, with felony DUI punishments being the most severe.

    Penalties for DUI Offenses

    There are serious consequences for DUIs if you’re found guilty. The criminal penalties for DUI offenses include the following:

        • Payment of fines
        • Imprisonment
        • Community service
        • Completion of an approved alcohol or drug use risk reduction program
        • Mandatory clinical evaluation
        • Probation

    You could also face several administrative DUI penalties from the Georgia Department of Driver Services that could affect your driving privileges. Your driver’s license could be suspended or revoked. You may also be required to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle.

    It is important that you fight your DUI charges regardless of how minimal they might appear. While you may get off with little or no jail time, especially with misdemeanor charges and convictions, you’ll still have to bear the convict tag even after serving your sentence, which could affect the quality of your life.

    How Savannah DUI Lawyers Can Help

    If you’re dealing with a DUI arrest or charges, it is important to have a DUI lawyer to defend you to increase your chances of escaping your trial unscathed.

    Your DUI defense attorney can evaluate the facts of your case, beginning from your DUI arrest and the prosecution’s evidence against you, while looking out for any irregularities that could strengthen your defense.

    They can also help to ensure that you’re not bullied into accepting a plea bargain even when you have a good case. In appropriate circumstances, your lawyer can negotiate a more agreeable plea deal with the prosecutor when the outcome would benefit you more than going through a full trial.

    At all times, your lawyer will ensure that your constitutional rights are not violated and that all parties follow the proper criminal procedure. So, you can rest easy knowing that you have a formidable ally at your side throughout this difficult time, working to ensure a positive outcome for you.

    Contact an Experienced Savannah, GA DUI Attorney at The Atlantic Law Firm”

    At The Atlantic Law Firm, we understand the anxiety that comes with facing criminal charges, and we’d like to support you legally through this challenging time.

    Contact us if you have questions about your DUI defense or if you’re dealing with Savannah Criminal Charges. Let us help you as you fight your way out of the criminal justice system.

    Common Questions on Georgia DUI Law

    What Is the Look-Back Period for Georgia DUIs?

    The look-back period for Georgia DUI crimes is ten years. This period determines the class of offense and punishment for an accused person with a prior DUI conviction.

    For instance, if you’ve been found guilty of three DUIs within ten years, the fourth DUI within that time frame will be charged as a felony. But if your previous conviction(s) occurred over ten years ago, then a subsequent DUI may be charged as a misdemeanor.

    Can a DUI Conviction in Georgia Be Expunged?

    DUI convictions cannot be expunged under Georgia law, so your DUI criminal record remains open to the public forever. Hence it is important that you fight your DUI charges legally with all the resources at your disposal and with the help of your skilled Savannah Criminal Defense Attorney.

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    What Our Satisfied Clients Say About Us

    “Great!!”
    I was charged with four charges that I could possibly face jail time,Stacey strived to get all charges dropped and I received reckless driving instead of a DUI charge. She also got me off from doing community service, and probation once fines were paid, I would definitely recommend her to anyone who’s going through any DUI issues.Stacey M. Goad is absolutely the best!!!

    POSTED BY SPRADLEY ON JUNE 28


    See All of Stacey M. Goad’s Reviews on Avvo