Savannah DUI Lawyer

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Savannah DUI Attorney

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 less safe
  • Felony DUI
  • DUI Drugs (DUID)

According to the survey by Martindale-Nolo Research, the end results for people who hired private DUI Lawyers have been very favorable. In fact, although a majority of DUI defendants who hired private lawyers were convicted with some form of DUI, whether by a plea bargain or a conviction after trial, the percentage convicted, which was 65%, was the lowest for those who ended up hiring lawyers. Charges were either dismissed or never filed for another 12%, and 1% were not found guilty following their trial.

Also worth noting is that 22% of those who hired private lawyers were able to plea bargain for lesser, non-DUI related offenses. These offenses included reckless driving and impaired driving. As a comparison, only 7% of public-defender clients and 0% of self-represented defendants ended up with those pleas attained by the private lawyers. Even though the benefits of having an attorney is about having a better chance of receiving a favorable plea bargain, the prosecution will sometimes offer a standard deal whether the defendant has legal representation or not.

We realize that you may have a lot of questions after being faced with a DUI. Should you hire a lawyer? Do you try to use a public defender? Can you just represent yourself? How much would it cost me to hire a lawyer? These are all good questions. As we mentioned, hiring a competent lawyer can be the difference between a favorable outcome and an unfavorable one.

Not hiring an attorney can be a gamble so you’d have to ask yourself if it’s worth your livelihood.
According to Martindale-Nolo Research, the average cost of a DUI lawyer for DUI’s range from $4,000-$6,000 and the process can last about 6 months.

We know that’s not pocket change, but this doesn’t just include attorney fees and is different for each client. The best thing you can do is find out what that cost would look like for you during your free consultation with one of your DUI attorneys in Savannah, GA.

Savannah, Georgia DUI Attorney

Millions of people visit Savannah each year to take in the sights in Savannah’s Historic District, which is one of the largest districts of its kind in the nation and was named a National Historic Landmark District in 1966. There is nothing like the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century architecture such as the Juliette Gordon Low Historic District, dedicated to the founder of the Girl Scouts of the United States of America, and 22 shaded squares including Emmett Park, which is by the riverfront.

There really are so many fun things to do for residents and visitors, alike. That being the case, folks tend to have a little too much fun, especially since this beautiful city is an open container town. Despite the large availability of transportation services, DUI’s are still a common occurrence.

Fortunately, we have the best DUI attorneys in Savannah, GA at Jarrett Maillet J.D., P.C. who are eager to help anyone who has recently been charged with a DUI. It doesn’t matter whether it’s your first DUI or not. If you or a loved one suffer from substance abuse and have been arrested for a drug offense, one of our experienced Savannah, GA drug lawyers can do everything possible for you to avoid serving a jail sentence of 12 months or more.

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.

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:

  • Mandatory 90 days in prison
  • A one-to-five-year prison sentence
  • Fines up to $5,000
  • Completion of an alcohol or drug education program
  • Clinical evaluation
  • 60 days of community service
  • Up to five years of probation

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.

We all know that DUI penalties are nothing to take lightly. In Georgia, you have a small window to try to evade having your driver’s license suspended, although most likely the Department of Driver Services (DDS) began the suspension process immediately following your Savannah DUI arrest.

So you ask yourself, “What can a lawyer do for a DUI?” Based on a survey conducted by Martindale-Nolo Research, a lawyer can do more good than if you were to try to represent yourself. It is of course important to note that it would be best for you to choose a Savannah DUI attorney who is well-versed in the law and DUI process and has a reputation for winning more cases than most other DUI lawyers in the courtroom.

DUI Drugs (DUID)

Many people are surprised to realize that the law on Driving Under the Influence not only applies to alcohol, but also applies to drugs. No matter what substance influences you, from beer to wine to marijuana or prescription drugs, you can be found guilty of drunk driving in Georgia as long as your normal faculties are impaired.

DUI drug charges can involve many different substances:

  • Marijuana
  • Cocaine
  • Heroin
  • Prescription anti-anxiety medications, like Klonopin or Valium
  • Prescription painkillers, like OxyContin or Vicodin
  • Prescription anti-addiction drugs, like Suboxone or Methadone

A conviction for DUID carries the same driver’s license penalties as an alcohol based drunk driving conviction. You may also face separate criminal charges such as possession of drugs.

DUID Punishment

  • First and second time offenses are misdemeanors, punishable by up to one year in jail, fines up to $1,000, community service, alcohol education classes, license suspension and possible probation.
  • Third time and subsequent offenses may be charged as a felony. Penalties include up to $5,000 in fines, up to five years in prison, community service and alcohol education classes.
  • Under Georgia’s “implied consent” laws, you are required to take a blood or breath test. Refusal to do so will result in police immediately taking your driver’s license. Your license suspension may last for one year or longer, depending on your number of prior refusals.

In alcohol based drunk driving arrests, the driver will be given the option of taking a blood or breath test. However, a breath test does not reveal the presence of drugs in the driver’s blood. For that reason, if the officer suspects that you are impaired because of drug consumption, you will be required to take a blood test.

As in all impaired driving cases, you have the right to refuse to take a blood test. However, it is nearly always in your best interest to agree to take a chemical test, because the consequences regarding your driver’s license are so much more severe, simply for refusing the test. Also, a refusal to take either test may be used as evidence of guilt in the court case against you.

Because there is no established limit for how much drugs you may have in your blood while driving, a DUID case usually depends on the use of other evidence to convict you. The other evidence that the prosecutor will need includes evidence of impairment. This usually takes the form of the officer’s observations of your physical appearance, disoriented behavior, bad driving, poor performance on the roadside tests, or incriminating statements that you make.

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.

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.

DRR Convictions

If you have been convicted in Georgia of an alcohol or drug related driving or boating offense, and had your license revoked, you must complete a DUI, Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction (DRR) course before you can have your license reinstated. The program is regulated by the Georgia Department of Driver Services, but the courses are administered by independent, state-certified “DUI schools.”

The DRR programs are required for those convicted of:

  • Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
  • Possession of illegal drugs
  • Underage possession of alcohol while operating a motor vehicle
  • Boating Under the Influence (BUI)
  • The DRR program consists of two components, an assessment and an intervention. The assessment is a 130-question “comprehensive adult assessment instrument.” This questionnaire is used to assess the individual’s drug or alcohol use.

The intervention portion is a 20-hour course that takes multiple days to complete. This is done in a group setting, and is designed to offer “therapeutic education and peer group counseling” about the effect of drugs and alcohol use on driving.

These courses have strict attendance policies and the DRR course currently costs $292. If you have been convicted of two or more DUI in the last 10 years, in addition to completing a DRR, you will need to provide evidence of having completed a state-approved clinical evaluation to reinstate your suspended Georgia driver’s license or driving privileges.

DUI Intervention Program

The DUI Intervention Program (DUIIP) was designed to help “improve public health and promote greater safety on the highways and streets of Georgia.” The risk reduction course is mandated by law for those convicted of drug or alcohol use involving driving or boating, and is mandatory for drivers who have been convicted of multiple DUIs within a 5-year period. It offers “therapeutic education” for drivers who have made “high-risk drinking choices,” or in other words, they have chosen to drive intoxicated. This part of the program is designed for drivers who don’t suffer from substance abuse or alcoholism.

The program is made of two parts: an assessment component and an intervention component. Both components must be successfully completed in order to obtain the certificate of completion, which is necessary to have a license reinstated. The assessment component consists of a 130-question assessment to measure the extent of drug and alcohol use and help the participant understand how it affects their driving. The intervention component is a 20-hour course given over the several days. It has group sessions offering education and peer group counseling about alcohol and drug use and its effect on driving and is designed to change that behavior.

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.

“I visited Jarrett for a case on my past DUI case. When I arrived he greeted me with open arms and immediately asked me questions about my situation. I did most of the talking of course and towards the end he then asks me what I expect or what the outcome would be. I told him I just want all of this to go away. He proceeded to tell me that he is unable to guarantee me anything or make promises because that isn’t professional to be making statements as such. What he did tell me was that he was confident in reducing the charges and get the most minor outcome possible for my given scenario.” – Herman

About Jarrett Maillet J.D., P.C.

If you are seeking the best DUI lawyers in Savannah, GA, you’ve come to the right place. At Jarrett Maillet, J.D., P.C., we have represented countless clients who are pleased with the way we helped them with their case. Give us a call soon so we may get started on your case today.

Court Offices In or Near Savannah, Georgia

Chatham County Recorders Court
Chatham County State Court
Chatham County Superior Court
Chatham County Magistrate Court