DUI FAQ – Fleming And Nelson Addresses Questions About DUI Process
If you or someone you know has been arrested for a DUI (Driving Under the Influence), then you probably want to learn about DUI arrest consequences and what you can do to avoid or minimize them. The DUI attorneys at Fleming & Nelson Law Firm in Evan GA are ready to help with clear answers, years of experience and intricate knowledge of the DUI process and system in Augusta GA.
One of the most negative things you’ll learn about DUI arrest consequences is that just for getting a DUI arrest your license can be automatically suspended soon after arrest. This might seem unfair, but there’s actually a law called the implied consent law that means that when you get behind the wheel of a car, it is implied that you’ve consented to drive without being over the legal influence of alcohol. This means that even if you don’t agree to submit to a blood alcohol content (BAC) test when you’re pulled over, you’ll still face having your license suspended just for the DUI arrest.
What Constitutes a DUI?
DUI stands for driving under the influence, but at what point are you considered to be driving under the influence? Most states don’t consider you legally intoxicated until your BAC level reaches 0.08% or higher. However, scientific studies have shown that impairment can actually set in even below that limit. Still, a basis for you to be arrested for DUI is that your BAC be over that level.
Additionally, even if your BAC is not over the legal limit or you refuse to submit to the state’s official test you may still be arrested for DUI to the extent that it is less safe for you to drive. Pay special attention to that phrase. That means that if the arresting law enforcement officer believes you have been driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs such that you driving doing so is less safe you may still be arrested. An arrest for driving under – less safe does not require that the law enforcement officer or prosecutor prove that you actually committed a less safe act.
Consequences of a DUI Conviction
Some of the consequences of a DUI conviction include the following:
- Jail or Prison
- Fines and statutorily imposed surcharges
- License suspension
- Ignition interlock device requirement
- DUI school
- Abstinence from alcohol
- Alcohol dependency evaluation
- Increased insurance rates
What If You Don’t Submit to a BAC Test?
There used to be a loophole that could help you beat your DUI charges, and that was by not submitting to a BAC test. Nowadays, though, there are new laws set in place, like the implied consent law, that state that if you don’t submit to a BAC test, then your driving privileges will be automatically suspended by the state DDS. Prior to the passing of this law, if you didn’t submit to a BAC test, you’d be able to keep your license, and there wouldn’t be any chemical evidence to prove that you had indeed been driving under the influence. Now, though, if you want to retain your license, you’ll have to submit to the BAC test, proving that you were under the legal limit.
What Should You Do After Being Arrested For DUI?
After you’ve been arrested, the first thing you should do is contact a DUI attorney. A DUI attorney who is experienced at DUI defense can provide you with the best legal advice concerning how to deal with your charges. Generally, you won’t want to speak about your case to anyone, especially law enforcement offices, prosecutors or the DMV since anything you say can be used against you later.
Should You Apply for an Administrative License Suspension Appeal Hearing?
Regardless of whether you refused to submit a BAC sample or you submitted one and it was over the legal limit, your license may be been immediately suspended upon your arrest. Until your case is settled, though, you could be able to get a restricted driver’s license or have your current driver’s license temporarily reinstated. After being arrested, you’ll have 30 days to appeal the Department of Driver Services’ decision to suspend your license. It is best if you have a lawyer to represent you at this administrative hearing in addition to providing your criminal DUI defense.
It’s important to note that the administrative hearing at the DDS isn’t the same as your criminal DUI case. This is a separate civil proceeding, not criminal. The burden proof for the state is much lower at the administrative hearing as well, which only further necessitates the need for you to have an attorney who can convince the administrative law judge that you shouldn’t have your driver’s license suspended until you’re proven guilty in a court of law. While the outcome of the administrative hearing isn’t supposed to have any bearing on any criminal proceedings, it certainly doesn’t hurt your case if you can show that you won your administrative hearing and was allowed to continue to drive while your case was ongoing.
How Can a DUI Attorney Help?
There are numerous things an attorney can do to help you fight your DUI charges. Usually, the first thing he or she will do is to try to determine whether the stop and arrest was legal in the first place. If it wasn’t, then your charges could end up being dropped completely. Even if your attorney can’t prove that the arrest was illegal, he or she can at least help you mitigate the damages of a conviction.
This is why it is critical that you contact the attorneys at Fleming & Nelson that specialize in defending against DUI arrests and charges. Contact us today at (706) 434-8770 for a free consultation.
Call the law offices of Fleming and Nelson today if you have been arrested for DUI in Augusta, Georgia at 706-434-8770.