I got pulled over for failure to maintain lane and failed the field sobriety tests and the breathalyzer. I blew a .160 and got the intent to suspend notice. I mailed a letter and am waiting to get a date for the ALS hearing.
Do I need a lawyer for the ALS hearing?
I work full time and don't think I can get out of this charge. Is there any way my job could find out about this as long as I don't miss work and have no commercial driving obligations?
Do they typically drug test you at any point?
I've never even got a speeding ticket or been in criminal legal trouble. Should I be doing community service or DUI class or anything before I go to my first court date?
This is the stupidest thing I've ever done and will ever do. I'm thankful no one was hurt. Thank you for your help.
Short answer: You should consult with an attorney on your case. Whether you retain one depends on several factors an experienced DUI attorney can discuss with you.
If you are contesting the administrative suspension or the DUI, you definitely need a lawyer to represent you at the ALS hearing. If you decide to plead guilty to the DUI rather than contest it, you can appear at the hearing and complete a consent withdrawal (whether this is to your advantage is case specific and you should at least consult an attorney before making the decision).
Whether you can "get out of this charge" is fact specific. If you decide to plead guilty without consulting an attorney you are basically deciding to plead guilty before you find out whether you can beat the DUI.
Your arrest and, if convicted, your conviction are public record. Your job could find out about it any number of ways.
Random drug and alcohol screens are a common condition of probation in a DUI.
Whether you do community service or complete DUI Risk Reduction before court will depend on what you are doing and where it ends up. In Gwinnett County, there are judges who do not accept community service and will sentence you to the county work alternative program (which means your community service will not count towards your sentence requirements).
Having an attorney at ANY legal proceeding is a good idea. Lawyers are trained in identifying issues and capitalizing on procedural processes you may not have any familiarity with. Let's consider the ALS hearing, for example: they are very technical matters that the judge and officer will be familiar with, but if it's your first, you may not. A lawyer may be able to have the suspension of your license completely rescinded without a hearing, or at the very least will be able to cross-examine the officer in a hearing, gaining valuable information on your case AND locking the officer into a statement that may benefit you later, should you have a trial. These court procedures are technical and sometimes confusing ("What does the judge consider in an ALS hearing? How will it affect my license? What happens to the DUI charge?), and a lawyer will be able to help you navigate those waters. . . .
As for your job finding out about the DUI, it depends. Does your employer run background checks on employees? Is there a Human Resources policy in effect REQUIRING you to report an arrest? Are you in a position of trust that mandates full disclosure of criminal violations? A lawyer can help you answer those questions.
When you ask if 'they' typically drug test you, are you talking about the court, or your job? If you plead guilty or nolo contendere to a DUI, or are found guilty at a trial, many jurisdictions require random drug screens at your own expense during the time you serve on probation. The law in Georgia requires certain mandatory minimums in sentencing for DUI, including jail time, minimum mandatory fines and community service, as well as a license suspension separate and apart from the ALS you received. Many attorneys (myself included) often counsel clients to complete an alcohol and drug evaluation, a risk reduction driving program, and community service prior to any court appearance as tools in the negotiation process, but it's often unwise to begin such steps without an honest appraisal of the facts of your case.
So, in a nutshell, here's my advice: contact an attorney. There are a number of good attorneys out there who would be willing to help you. Many of them (including me) provide free consultations: meet with as many as it takes to find a good fit for you. An attorney may see something in your case that will truly benefit you, allowing you to keep your license or beat the case entirely. You owe it to yourself to find out. Good luck!
Yes you need a lawyer for the ALS hearing.You sya this is the stupidest thing you've ever done. Do not compound the error by going it alone.
You need a lawyer.
A very solid approach is to talk to friends and trusted persons in your community who have experienced a similar problem you face to get ideas about lawyers. Ask them who their lawyers were and how they rated the lawyer.
Lawyer referral services are another source of information. Many quality lawyer referral services exist to help you sort through all the basics about the lawyer. Those with the highest ratings that are offered can be a good place to start your specific search.
The best way to decide is by talking to the lawyer. The insight into the lawyer's approach can help you decide if the lawyer is right for you. Whether the lawyer is willing to spend a few hours to be your advisor may show you the lawyer will be aggressive in your case later on. Finally, don't make up your mind about hiring a lawyer until you've met him or her.
Click the Lawyer Search tab on Avvo and look for an attorney in your area.
Finally, you might find my Legal Guide helpful "What Do I Tell My Lawyer"?
You might find my Legal Guide helpful "Ethics: Yes I Need a Lawyer!"
Good luck to you.
NOTE: This answer is made available by the out-of-state lawyer for educational purposes only. By using or participating in this site you understand that there is no attorney client privilege between you and the attorney responding. This site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney that practices in the subject practice discipline and with whom you have an attorney client relationship along with all the privileges that relationship provides. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance described in the question.
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