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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
Source: FBI crime statistics
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.
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:
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.
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.
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