First Time DUI
21 of age
Without knowing any of the facts of your particular case, it is next to impossible to answer the question, “What is my possible outcome?”
However, IF you plead guilty or are convicted, you can expect something like the following:
You will receive a minimum sentence of 10 days with a maximum sentence of 12 months in jail. If you register over .08%, all but 24 hours of “actual incarceration” may be suspended at the judge’s discretion. If you register below .08% or if you refuse the State’s test, jail time is not required by law.
There will be a one year suspension of your driver’s license. However, you are eligible to apply for a work permit immediately. After 120 days on the wok permit, you may apply for early reinstatement by paying a $210 reinstatement fee and providing proof that you attended DUI school.
ADMINISTRATIVE LICENSE SUSPENSION
This is different than the license suspension in the criminal case against you. If you refuse the State’s test OR if you register above .08%, the Department of Driver Services will attempt to suspend your license immediately. You may appeal this suspension within 10 business days of your arrest (known as the 10-day letter). If this suspension is upheld on a refusal case, your license will be suspended for 12 months without a work permit. The only way to get your license back early is to win your criminal case. If you registered greater than .08%, your license will be suspended for 30 days (work permit available).
You will have twelve months of probation, minus any days actually spent in jail. Georgia requires that misdemeanor probationers be supervised by a private probation company. These companies usually charge between $35 and $44 per month to supervise probation.
The minimum fine is $300 and the maximum fine is $1,000. Most judges fine first time offenders somewhere between $700 and $1000. However, additional court surcharges add approximately 35% to the fine.
You will receive at least 40 hours of community service. Some courts require that your community service be served in the Sheriff’s Work Detail, or on the Work Alternative Program. These programs require you to perform community service in the county where you received your DUI while dressed in a jail uniform.
Completion of a DUI Alcohol or Drug Risk Reduction Program (DUI School) approved by the Department of Driver Services. Although the law does not require it, judges will often require an Alcohol & Drug Evaluation plus any follow-up treatment as required by the evaluator. Another requirement that judges often add is the Victim Impact Panel. This is a presentation by MADD, where victims of DUI accidents share their experience regarding how DUI affected their lives.
Ultimately, Judges have a great deal of leeway in determining sentences. As such, they usually take into account your blood alcohol level, your number of DUI convictions (and often other criminal records), your behavior toward the officer, and the proactive and constructive steps that you have taken since your arrest, such as completing DUI School.
It is imperative to hire an experienced DUI attorney.
You have been given some very good answered already. You can see from these that outcomes can vary greatly depending on testing or lack thereof, the jurisdiction where your case is pending, prosecutorial or judicial terperment, and whether or not you are represented. As the others ha e told you, being represe Ted or even sitting down with a qualified DUI lawyer famiar with the court where your case is pending can go a long way to getting you out of this as painlessly as possible, or even a kidding a DUI conviction altogether.
Mr. Sieg gave a very thorough answer about possible outcomes. I agree with the Georgia lawyers who said your best outcome will come with a lawyer. You can't hire me.
Often people think that because it isn’t a murder case, a drunk driving case is simple. Nothing could be further from the truth. These cases can be among the most complex a criminal defense lawyer handles. The government is willing to spend an incredible amount of money to convict you though. They will have expert witnesses available for consultation and trial.
That you have been charged or that some contraption says your alcohol level was at a certain level does not mean that you are guilty. It certainly does not mean that you can be proven guilty using competent, valid evidence.
Field sobriety “tests” are designed to give police a reason to arrest. You cannot “pass” them. The police will admit that almost a third of healthy young adults who take these tests without any alcohol will be judged to be “under the influence” – and that assumes they are properly administered!
After even a first drunk driving conviction, you may face employment discrimination. You will certainly be charged higher for insurance. Having such a conviction will also make you a target for drunk driving arrest in future interactions with police. You will automatically become a suspect.
You will want a lawyer who is familiar with field sobriety “tests,” perhaps one who is certified to administer these tests. You will want a lawyer familiar with the weaknesses of the contraptions that are used to report alcohol or drug levels. You want an experienced trial lawyer, used to cross-examining police officers. Police officers are practiced, experienced witnesses.
That is, you want an experienced drunk driving defense lawyer, whether you call the offense DUI, OWI, DWI, OUI, or drugged driving.
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I am an experienced Wisconsin drunk driving (DUI/OWI/DWI) defense lawyer practicing in Madison (Dane County) Wisconsin. The laws in each jurisdiction can be very different. I cannot give legal advice over the Internet nor can I establish an attorney client relationship with you.
If something I say disagrees with what your own lawyer is telling you, you should rely on your lawyer who is familiar with you, your entire case, the local courts and practices.
To deal with a legal problem, nothing is better than to consult with a lawyer who will give you some time and advice. If you cannot afford an attorney, there should be agencies in your area that can provide discounted, or even free, legal services.
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Your possible outcome could be anything from dismissal to a 48 month sentence with some jail time, a fine and other conditions. The outcome is largely driven by the strength of the evidence against you. Some DUI's are very defensable. Others are not. It all depends upon the particular facts and circumstances of your case. You will need a lawyer experienced in DUI to help with your defense. DUI law is full of highly technical legal issues. Unless you are a trained lawyer, you may miss one or more defenses that are available to you. Hire a lawyer.
Allen R. Knox
125 TownPark Drive, Suite 300
Kennesaw, GA 30144
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