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Savannah DUI Lawyer

The law offices of Jarrett Maillet J.D., P.C. can defend you when you have been charged with a DUI.  With years of experience handling DUI cases, our Savannah DUI defense attorneys are prepared to take on any case, no matter how challenging.  We will stand by you as the case progresses and throughout the court process to the DMV hearing to defend you against a driver’s license suspension.  In most cases, an attorney from the firm can appear on your behalf before the judge, saving you time and embarrassment of a courtroom appearance.

Because a conviction could have serious consequences for your reputation, your job, and your family, you will need a DUI attorney who will go the distance to fight your charges with a focused plan of action and support.  Our Savannah DUI attorneys take the time to explain to our clients’ DUI charges to them.  Together, we will develop a defense strategy that gets you the best outcome possible.  Our attorneys represent clients charged with the following DUI offenses:

  • First, second, and third time DUI
  • DUI drugs
  • DUI less safe
  • Felony DUI

Savannah, Georgia DUI Law

The state of Georgia prohibits drivers from operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or above.  The .08 BAC limit is standard throughout the United States.  In addition to this law, there are also separate, lower BAC limits for drivers under the age of 21, and commercial drivers.  Georgia also has an “Open Container Law.”  The open container law prohibits an alcoholic beverage container that contains any amount of alcoholic beverage in it from being inside a moving vehicle.  This includes containers with broken seals or containers that have had the alcohol partially removed in a vehicle on the roadway or shoulder of any public highway.  The fine for violating the open container law is $200.

The first DUI conviction in Georgia you will receive a possible jail sentence of one year.  The fine that you will receive will be from $300 minimum to $1,000.  Your driver’s license will be suspended for up to one year and you will also receive 40 hours of mandatory community service.  To have your driver’s license reinstated you will need to pay a $210 reinstatement fee.  Drivers that are under 21 must delay obtaining their graduated drivers license for 12 months.

A second DUI conviction in Georgia will be a mandatory jail sentence minimum of 48 hours, however you could receive from 90 days to 1 year in jail.  The fine you receive will be from $600 minimum to $1,000.  You will also receive a driver’s license suspension for a period of 3 years and a minimum 30 days of community service.

The third time you are convicted of drunk driving in Georgia you will receive a mandatory 15 days in jail.  The fine that you receive will be from $1,000 minimum, up to $5,000.  Your driver’s license will be revoked for 5 years and you will serve a mandatory 30 days of community service.  The violators name, photo, and address will be published in a local newspaper at the violator’s expense.

DUI Less Safe Charges

Many people mistakenly believe that their blood alcohol level must be above .08 before they can be charged with a DUI. This is not the case. In Georgia, driving with any amount of alcohol or drugs — prescription or illegal — in your system can expose you to criminal liability under the state’s “DUI Less Safe” laws. A DUI Less Safe charge is just as serious as a regular DUI. The only difference is in how the state proves its case. If convicted, you face many of the same criminal penalties associated with a traditional DUI, including jail time, fines, license suspension, community service and alcohol education classes.

After being charged with a DUI Less Safe, you only have 10 days to request an administrative license hearing. Failure to do so will result in the suspension of your license for one year.

To prove your driving was impaired, the state does not need to have a breath or blood test. Instead, the case can be proved based on the police officer’s observations such as blood shot eyes, slurred speech, confusion and the smell of alcohol on your breath.

Unlike other defense attorneys, we don’t roll over and accept plea deals because it is easier. We go to court and fight to obtain the best results possible.

The first step in your defense is to examine the circumstances surrounding your arrest. If police lacked probable cause to pull you over, failed to follow DUI checkpoint guidelines or ignored your constitutional rights, we will fight to have your case thrown out. We then attack the state’s evidence and build strong defenses that show you were not impaired.

Felony DUI

In Georgia, DUIs may be charged as felony-level offenses. If you have multiple prior offenses, or caused an accident that resulted in serious bodily injury or death to another — also known a vehicular homicide — or caused property damage, you can be charged with a felony DUI.

The penalties associated with a felony DUI are serious and long-reaching. Penalties include:

Even after serving your time and paying your fines, a felony DUI conviction will impact your life for years to come. As a convicted felon, you may struggle to find a job or housing and may be stripped of your right to vote or possess a firearm. Students may face disciplinary action at their college or university, and military personnel may have trouble obtaining needed security clearances.

Look Back Periods

Law enforcement can also ‘look back’ at a driver’s DUI record up to 10 years in the past for repeat convictions. The law in Georgia does not allow an attorney to talk a DUI/DWI charge down to a “wet reckless,” as is possible in many other states. A wet reckless charge is a reduced plea arrangement, typically for first time offenders, that carries fewer penalties and repercussions than a DUI or DWI. However, an attorney may be able to reduce DUI penalties without changing the conviction.

DUI Arrests in Georgia (2000-2015)

Source: FBI crime statistics

DUI vs. DWI in Georgia

In Georgia, the term “DUI” typically refers to incidents where drugs and/or alcohol impair the driver – including prescription drugs in some cases. DWI refers to drivers under the influence of alcohol. Some states differentiate between the penalties for DUI and those for DWI. In these states, DUI is generally a lesser charge due to a lower blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level. The courts may not penalize a DUI as harshly as a DWI. Georgia, however, does not differentiate between the two.

Law enforcement will charge a driver with DWI in Georgia if he or she is over the legal BAC limit of 0.08%. This limit drops to 0.04% in Georgia for commercial drivers and 0.02% for drivers under the age of 21 (zero tolerance). Being over the legal alcohol limit while driving is immediate grounds for a DWI charge. However, an officer can charge a driver with DUI in Georgia even if he or she is under the legal limit if the officer believes a substance has impaired the driver enough to be unfit to drive safely.

Sobriety Checkpoints

Under state and federal law, Georgia is one of 38 states in America where sobriety checkpoints are legal (see 318 S.E.2d 693 (Ga. App. Ct. 1984)). The location for these stops are temporary, but there are websites that track where they have already and might occur. Even though many believe that probable cause under the Fourth Amendment is needed for a traffic stop, sobriety checkpoints are an exclusion to this rule since the Supreme Court ruled in 1990 that the dangers of drunk driving outweigh the intrusion caused by checkpoints. However, any suspicious behavior, car damage, or traffic violations may attract even more attention to yourself. If you are detained after being pulled over at a sobriety checkpoint, ask to speak with your lawyer and see how they can help resolve your situation.

Don’t Surrender Your Rights

Way too many people who are arrested and charged with DUI surrender their rights way too easily by automatically pleading guilty.  The reality is that being arrested does not necessarily mean you are guilty.  Many people are wrongfully charged with DUI’s.  An experienced Savannah, GA DUI attorney will be able to analyze your case and implement an effective defense strategy given the individual facts of your case. Let us analyze your case and assist you in defending yourself to ensure that you are not unfairly convicted of a DUI.

If you have been arrested for a DUI contact the attorneys at Jarrett Maillet J.D., P.C. today at (912) 713-3426 for a free consultation.