It is possible that this case could be dismissed, or reduced to Reckless Driving. The prosecution may still have other evidence on you such as any performance you may have done on field sobriety tests, whether the officer noted you had slurred, mumbled, or thick speech, glassy or bloodshot eyes, and a "strong odor of an alcoholic beverage" coupled with any driving manifestations that the officer observed. It is good that they don't have any chemical test results in your case, but that does not mean your case is going to be automatically dismissed or reduced. Your license is not automatically suspended for a year either. You need to file a 10 Day Appeal Letter to make sure your license doesn't go under an administrative suspension which in your case would be a year because they are most likely alleging that you refused testing. If your license was suspended because you did not file the appeal letter in time, and you did beat the charges, then you could get your license back.
James L. Yeargan, Jr. is licensed to practice law in the State of Georgia. All information given is based only on Georgia law, and is not directly applicable to any other jurisdictions, states, or districts. This response, or any response, is not legal advice. This response, or any response, does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information. Any state specific concerns should be directed to an attorney who is licensed to practice law in that respective state.
If you refused the breath test then they would not give you a blood test. Why did you refuse the breath test? Why were you stopped in the first place? Did you do field sobriety evaluations? Were you drinking alcohol? I would need the answers to these questions and many others before I would be able to give you an opinion about your case.
As to your license, you have 10 days to submit a request for an administrative hearing or your license will be automatically suspended for one year (or until the case is dismissed, reduced or you win at trial).
You should consult with a few lawyers and hire the one with the most experience you can afford.
CAN it be dismissed? Sure. Is it LIKELY that it will simply be dismissed? No. A “dismissal” is generally indicative of the prosecutor dropping the case or otherwise choosing to not move forward with it. The State of Georgia takes DUI very seriously, and, as such, a straight out dismissal almost never happens.
When an officer stops you and suspects that you are DUI, the officer immediately begins working on building a case against you. He (or she) is paying attention to how you look, how you smell, how you sound, how you act, etc. They are looking to see if you have glassy or bloodshot eyes, disheveled clothes, if there is an odor of an alcoholic beverage, if your speech is slurred, mumbled, or incoherent, if you are confused, uncoordinated, or if you seem to be impaired, etc. (This list is not exhaustive, rather just a few examples.) Officers are also trained to administer Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs) to BUILD A CASE AGAINST YOU. All of these things are potentially evidence of DUI.
So, as previously stated, it’s very unlikely that the case will simply be dismissed.
However, the GOOD news is that, generally speaking, the less evidence you GIVE them – i.e. not taking any SFSTs, refusing the State’s chemical test of your blood, breath, or urine, keeping your mouth shut and not saying much – the easier it is for a skilled attorney to BEAT the case! So, your refusal to take the State’s test of your breath may be very helpful to your case. However, your refusal does not come without consequences.
In exchange for the privilege of driving on the roadways of Georgia, Georgia law requires you to take a blood, breath, or urine test if you are arrested for a DUI. Georgia’s “implied consent” law says that if you are lawfully arrested by an officer who has probable cause to believe that you have been driving under the influence, then you consent to taking a chemical test of your blood, breath, or urine for the purpose of determining your blood alcohol content (BAC).
Once you are arrested the officer must read an implied consent notice to you that says if you refuse to take a chemical test, then your license will be suspended for one year and your refusal may be used against you in court. He or she must also explain that if you decide to take a test, then you have the option of asking for another test and you can choose who gives it, at your expense. Finally, the officer must ask you whether you are willing to take a chemical test under the implied consent law.
If you refuse the State’s test (which it appears you did), the officer will issue you a Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS) Form 1205 (in addition to any citations). The DDS Form 1205 operates as a 30 day temporary driver's license. However, it is also a notice of intention to suspend your driver's license for refusing to take the State’s chemical test.
The back of the DDS Form 1205 contains a notice that you have ten (10) business days (week days, not weekends or holidays) to request a hearing to appeal the administrative suspension of your driver's license. If you send a hearing request letter to the DDS with the fee of $150.00, a hearing will be scheduled with the Georgia Office of Administrative Hearings to determine if your administrative license suspension should be affirmed or withdrawn. This means that you will have fight your DUI in an administrative court to prevent a pre-DUI conviction license suspension, AND in criminal court where a DUI conviction can result in a different DUI license suspension.
DUIs are serious, and this is just a portion of what to expect. Each DUI case is different, and there are lots of subtle nuances that can affect your case. The bottom line is that you need to hire an experienced DUI attorney IMMEDIATELY.
Please feel free to give me a call if you’d like to discuss your case.
Paul J. Sieg
Potter Sieg, LLC Phone: 404-270-9289 Fax: 404-935-9308 email@example.com Paul J. Sieg is a criminal defense and entertainment law attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Georgia. All information provided is based on Georgia law and federal law, where applicable, and is not necessarily directly applicable to any other jurisdictions, states, or districts. This response is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. Rather, this response is in the form of legal education, and is intended to provide general information. Any specific concerns should be directed to an attorney who is licensed to practice law in your respective jurisdiction.
If you did not submit to any test, there is a good chance your case might be one an experienced DUI lawyer could get reduced to a lesser charge. You need to speak to someone who practices regularly in the jurisdiction where you were charged and who knows DUI law very well. The legal limit for someone under 21 is a meager .02 which doesn't leave much room for error. However, a good lawyer will know what evidence the police have that is and is not truly useful to them.
My office is in Lwrenceville rit next to the courthouse. If you would like to come in for a free consultation and discuss your case in depth I would be happy to make an appointment today or tomorrow. Feel free to give me a call at 678-636-9224.
The others have given you very good answers. The only thing I would add is that, should you plea or are found guilty of DUI, the consequences of the conviction to your license are harsher than if you were over 21. If you are close to 21, you may want to discuss with the lawyer you hire to put the case off until after your 21st birthday, which will lessen these consequences.
The above information is general in nature. In order to obtain more specific and legal advice upon which to base your important decisions, please contact our office directly for a free phone or in person consultation. Robert M. Gardner, Jr. Hicks, Massey & Gardner, LLP firstname.lastname@example.org 53 W. Candler St. Or 718 Oak St. Winder, Ga. 30680 Gainesville, Georgia (770) 307-4899 (770) 538-0555 gadebtlaw.com hicksmasseyandgardner.com serving metro Atlanta and all of Northeast Georgia Bankruptcy, Divorce, Personal Injury, Worker’s Compensation, Medical Malpractice, Adoption, Civil and Criminal Litigation
Generally speaking prosecutors get fewer convictions on refusal cases compared to breath test cases, but every case is unique. If you refused the officer will seek to suspend you for a minimum period of one year. This kind of suspension does not allow for a work permit. You may appeal that suspension within ten days of your arrest so it is important to hire a lawyer familiar with Gwinnett County and Lawrenceville to protect your driver's license.
Yes, if you win your case, your license suspension will be reinstated. In fact, the suspension will be deleted off your record. Take a look at my website to learn more about license suspensions in Georgia. http://www.goodbyedui.com/what-you-should-know/license-suspensions/
You seem to have done most things correctly.
Yes, your license will be reinstated if you are not convicted of DUI.
Can the case be dismissed? Anything CAN happen, but it is highly unlikely that the case will be dismissed. It is easier for a prosecutor to hear "not guilty" from a jury than to hear "dismissed" from their own lips.
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I would advise you to retain an experienced DUI Defense attorney - ASAP. Without being represented by a qualified DUI defense attorney your chances are EXTREMELY SLIM that you will not be CONVICTED of DUI. You made some wise choices when you were arrested, i.e. not admitting to drinking alcohol and not taking a preliminary breath test (PBT). In my experience, prosecutors have less success prosecuting a "refusal" case than a DUI "Per Se" case. However, you should make another wise choice and retain the best DUI Defense Attorney that is available to you. If you win the DUI case or have the charges reduced your license should not be suspended. You may have a very good defense to the charge, but that can only be determined after you consult with a DUI attorney. Because you are under 21 there are special considerations that need to be addressed and you should ask your attorney to explain the differences between a DUI over 21 and a DUI under 21. I hope this information has been helpful.
George McCranie www.mccranielawfirm.com
The information provided in this response to a question is not legal advise and is provided only for general information purposes. My response should not be taken as legal advise as no attorney / client representation exists. Additionally, the information given in this answer is specific to the State of Georgia only and should not be applied to any other state.
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