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I just got charged for a DUI. My first offense. What are my chances of getting it knocked down to a Reckless Driving Charge?

Jackson, GA |

I was stopped at a roadblock. I had drank two or three beers several hours earlier in the night. The officer asked me to submit to multiple field sobriety tests. I agreed. I feel I performed the tests with little to no struggles or stumbles. However, when given the eye movement test, the officer seemed unsure whether I was under the influence. I refused the Breathalyzer test. After confirming with another officer, they decided to charge me with a DUI. It's my first ticket, other than a couple of seat belt violations. I kept a respectful and courteous demeanor through the entire night. What are my chances of getting the charge reduced, and what kind of punishment and penalties should I expect?

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Attorney answers 5


The punishments and penalties for a DUI are severe and last long after the technical fine, probation, etc. Roadblock cases are generally more easily reduced, but it really depends on all the circumstances surrounding the arrest. Many people arrested with DUI say that they think they did fine on the field sobriety tests, only to have the officer say that they failed every test.
Do yourself a favor and get an attorney right away who can look at the State's evidence and start working to protect you and your rights. Also, if your license was taken, you need to address that within 10 days, or your license will be automatically suspended for a year.
Please let me know if I can be of assistance. I would be happy to help.
M. Jason Rhoades


The key to your defense is to have your case properly investigated to see how you actually did on the field sobriety testing. There is an objectives scoring methodology to the tests. A skilled DUI lawyer will understand how to re-score the test to make sure the officer's scoring was accurate. Once the testing is evaluated your attorney will then see if the officer did not follow all the correct rules and procedures in your case. A police officer has to investigate your case in a proper and legal way or the evidence gathered cannot be used against you. This is the value added by having good representation in your case. Once the field sobriety tests are reviewed as well as the officers arrest procedures, only then can your lawyer provide you with the chances or a reduction or dismissal.


I am in agreement with the other Lawyers that have provided commentary. Of utmost importance is whether the officer initiated an administrative license suspension based upon the refusal to submit to chemical testing. If so, you will have 10 business days from the incident date to request a hearing, there is a required $150.00 fee payable to DDS, if the hearing is not requested timely, your license or privelage to drive in GA will be suspended without any permit.

You should consult an Attorney that handles Traffic cases in the jurisdiction you received the citation to evaluate your options.


You already have answers from four fine Georgia lawyers. However, you cannot hire me, and I agree with them. You need to take action quickly and any chance you have of a reduction or even avoiding conviction depends on having a good lawyer.

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.

If any answer on AVVO helps you, mine or someone else’s, please mark it as "helpful" or "best answer" to help AVVO know which answers to show others.
Thank you.

--- Experienced DUI/DWI/OWI/Drunk Driving Lawyer in Madison, Wisconsin

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--- Ten Days to Save Your License - Administrative Suspension and Refusals in Madison (Dane County) Wisconsin


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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.

This AVVO Answer is provided for general educational purposes only.

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Confidential information should not be disclosed in this Internet forum. Click on the "More..." link for IMPORTANT INFORMATION about this AVVO Answer. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I am an experienced Wisconsin lawyer. 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. You should NOT assume or otherwise conclude that there is an attorney -client relationship between any reader and this writer or his firm. These comments are only guideposts. They are not subject to any privilege protections. Indeed, these internet communications are neither privileged nor confidential. Accordingly, those using this form of communication need to be guarded in what they write. Because of the nature of these communications the information is general only and should not be relied upon in any specific case. This internet site is public forum, where the communications are not confidential or privileged. There may very well be merit to your defense or position in this type of situation. However, there are hardly sufficient details for an attorney to provide you with some path to follow. It is imperative that ALL of the facts in a particular situation be examined. No conclusion can be drawn from the communication that you have provided. There are some matters that are just better handled by an attorney familiar with the procedures of the courts in your area. Most, if not all, legal matters should not be handled via internet communication. At best, the responders on this site can give you a few hints and guidance. 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. For a definitive answer you should seek legal advice from an attorney who (1) is licensed to practice in the state which has jurisdiction; (2) has experience in the area of law you are asking about, and (3) has been retained as your attorney for representation or consultation. Your question and the attorney’s answer may be used for promotional or educational purposes.


You may have numerous legal defenses to the DUI charge pending against you. Based on the information in your question- a detailed investigation of your case by a qualified and experienced DUI Defense Attorney could result in several powerful defenses to the DUI charge. This is the key information that you need --- if you try to do this by yourself or just use an attorney that handles all kinds of legal matters ( wills, estates, real estate, divorce and some criminal defense as well) you will be at an extreme disadvantage. DUI is a very serious charge and you should take it very seriously! The Best defense that you have is to retain the most qualified and experienced DUI Defense Attorney that is available to you! If you don't you may very well find yourself looking at the strong possibility of a DUI CONVICTION! I hope that this information is helpful. Good Luck!! George McCranie IV

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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