Your First DUI Offense: What You Need to Know to Protect Your Privilege to drive a Motor Vehicle
Drinking and driving while operating a motor vehicle can have grave consequences. But at Rohan Law we understand that mistakes can happen. This area of the law can be tricky. We have several articles written on this subject covering a wide variety of scenarios. In this article, we will focus on what to expect with a first offense DUI’s for adult drivers. If you are over 21 and are charged with your first DUI, you need to be aware of the potential consequences so you know what to do.
Is it really your first offense?
If you have never been charged with a DUI before, this charge will be considered your “first offense.” However, if you were charged with a DUI in the past but did not plead guilty and/or were not convicted, but are being charged again, this can also be your first offense. In other words, a first offense is a DUI charge that is actually on your record for the first time. If you are not sure you can check your motor vehicle records with the Georgia Department of Driver Services.
First offenders have less severe consequences
If you are convicted of your first DUI offense and are over 21, you can experience the following penalties that are less severe than repeat offender penalties, but still very serious:
A fine of $750.00 to $1,500.00
Twelve Months of Probation (we can sometimes convert that to non-reporting probation)
120-day license suspension, but with the ability to get a limited permit for work and school
Drug and Alcohol Evaluation
Forty Hours of community service
Repeat offenders have more severe consequences
If you are charged with a DUI and it is not your first offense, you will face more serious penalties. These can include:
A costly fine up to $3,500.00
Jail time between 10 and 60 days
License revocation for one year with no limited permit
Ignition the interlock device once you are allowed to drive again
You may also be ordered to attend a DUI education program and/or seek inpatient alcohol or drug treatment. The severity of your penalties will depend on the facts of your case and your criminal history. According to Georgia Department of Drivers Services you may also be ordered to attend a DUI education program and/or install an ignition interlock device in your motor vehicle. The severity of your penalties will depend on the facts of your case and your criminal history.
What happens if I am pulled over while driving a motor vehicle?
If you are pulled over on suspicion of DUI in a motor vehicle, the police officer will likely ask you to perform a field sobriety test. You will be asked to step out of your motor vehicle and submit to the test. This test is voluntary but if you refuse, you may be subject to license suspension based the laws of implied consent. If you have only had one drink, we think it is appropriate to comply with the officer’s requests to perform subjective tests which he or she can then interpret as they choose. If you have had more than one drink, we recommend you refuse to comply with any request for field sobriety tests or breath samples and blood draws that will provide an alleged specific BAC or Blood Alcohol Concentration.
What if I refuse to take a chemical test?
If you are pulled over and suspected of DUI, the officer will ask you to submit to a chemical or breath test, like a breathalyzer test. If you refuse to take the test, you will be subject to an automatic license suspension for at least one year. In Georgia, you can expect to be detained and to have your license taken away. However, there are way to overcome the license suspension and you will be depriving the police of the evidence they need to make your conviction easier.
Refusing to take a test can buy you time
If you have had two drinks or more, and fear you will fail the test, you can refuse to take it. Taking a test you are likely to fail will only give the police evidence to use against you. Meanwhile, refusing to take the test can give you time to speak to an attorney. An experienced DUI attorney can help you understand your rights and options, and fight for the best outcome possible.
You can get your license back and more
One thing we can do at Rohan Law is to create a defense strategy that consists of examining every aspect of the arrest. Once we have done that, we can work to get the charges against you reduced or even dismissed. We can also help you get your license back, as it is possible to appeal the decision to take your motor vehicle license away.
What should I do if I am charged with a DUI?
If you are charged with a DUI, the best thing you can do is contact an experienced DUI attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can review the facts of your case and advise you on how to proceed. The sooner you contact an attorney, the better chance you have of fighting the charges or minimizing the penalties. A DUI case is really one of the most complex cases to try. Our experience is one of the things that sets us apart. We have been successful in obtaining both pre-trial dismissals and reductions, as well as jury verdicts in favor of our clients.
At Rohan Law, we have experience representing clients who have been charged with first offense DUI’s. We understand that this is a difficult situation and we will work diligently to protect your rights and interests.
Take the charges seriously
If you have been charged with a DUI, even if it is your first offense, you need to take it seriously and seek legal help. The consequences can be life-changing. At Rohan Law, we understand what you are going through and we can help. We are experienced criminal defense and DUI lawyers who care about you and your future. You don’t need to go through it alone. Contact us today for a free consultation.