DUI | WHAT TO DO NEXT?
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You only have 30 days to fight suspension!
After you have been arrested and charged with a DUI offense, you have thirty days to decide whether to appeal your license suspension or in some cases apply for an ignition interlock device with a limited permit. These are difficult decisions and you should contact Jeff as soon after your arrest as possible so that we can begin the process of gathering facts and discussing how to advocate for you. Jeff wants to help you keep your license. If you've been arrested for DUI, you may already feel defeated; the administrative process for pre-court license suspension probably sounds hopeless – even intimidating. An arrest and a conviction are two different things. At The Law Offices of Jeff Wolff, we want to help you fight for you rights and your freedom. You license can be suspended for years if you plead guilty to your charges and don't schedule a hearing.
Length of Suspension
Several factors determine the length of your license suspension. In a first DUI offense, your administrative suspension will be determined by whether you took the state requested test of your blood, breath or urine. If you took the test, your maximum administrative suspension before your license may be reinstated is 30 days. If you refused to take the test, your maximum administrative suspension is 1 year, however, if your criminal case is reduced or you are found not guilty at trial this will then dismiss your suspension. In addition, on a first administrative suspension you are entitled to an ignition interlock device with a limited permit which avoids the administrative license suspension process entirely. In order to secure these rights, you need to act quickly. You have a maximum of (30) thirty days but Jeff encourages you to contact him as quickly as possible so that we may discuss your options and gather evidence. An attorney can represent you at the hearing, speak on your behalf and present evidence in your favor.
Factors Considered at ALS Hearings
There are several legal issues determined by the ALS Hearing:
Whether the arresting officer had reasonable grounds to believe that you actually drove while impaired;
Whether or not your driving caused and accident resulting in a serious injury or fatality;
Whether you were informed of your implied consent rights/ the consequences of refusing to be tested;
Whether or not you refused the BAC (breath) test;
Whether or not you BAC test registered at .08% or above if an adult, .02% or above if less than 21 years old, or .04% or above if the holder of a commercial driver's license
Whether the tests were administered correctly and by a qualified person;
Whether you knew of your right to an independent BAC test by a qualified person of your own choosing.
After these issues have been settled, a decision will be made regarding your driver's license suspension. During the hearing, an attorney may be able to demonstrate that police did not have reasonable grounds to arrest you. Even if you lose the hearing, you have the right to appeal the decision.
Suspension vs. Revocation
License suspension and revocation are not the same. When your license is revoked, you are no longer allowed the privilege of operating a motor vehicle. Once the revocation expires, Department of Driver Services (DDS) will allow you to apply for a new driver's license and the revocation is withdrawn. On the other hand, license suspension only withdraws your driving privileges temporarily. After your suspension has expired, it will be reinstated; you do not have to apply for an entirely new license.
Other Reasons for Losing Your License
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is not the only reason your license can be taken away; many other crimes, misdemeanors and situations may result in suspension or revocation. For example, if you are convicted of vehicular homicide, your license will be suspended. Additionally, any felony involving a vehicle constitutes a suspension. If you are convicted of street racing, hit and run, attempting to the flee a police officer, felony forgery relating to an identification document, or driving without motor vehicle insurance, the court may decide to suspend your driving privileges.
License suspension issues were discussed above but what about your criminal case? DUI convictions come with a number of serious consequences. The big three are: going to jail; having a DUI on your permanent record; and, losing your license. Yes, even if you successfully negotiated the administrative process without losing your license, a conviction for DUI will cause you to lose your license at this point. A number of other collateral consequences flow from a DUI as well: job loss or difficulty finding a job; insurance loss or rate increases; inability to travel or rent a car; large expense for fines, fees and conditions of probation; time loss for conditions of probation.
This is not an exhaustive list but some of the most common consequences for a DUI conviction. Not every client of mine avoids a DUI or all of these consequences – Jeff would never make such a silly promise and hope you would not engage a lawyer that would make a promise along those lines.
What Jeff will do is:
Listen to what you have to say
Find out what happened in your case
Work hard to determine what law applies to your case and make sure the prosecutor and judge also understand this
Fight for you in court
If it comes to resolving your case without a trial – try to get a sentence that works for your needs
Work hard for you and keep your best interest in mind always
Be available to you during this stressful and difficult process
Hernandez v. State, 348 Ga. App. 569 (2019) –
The Georgia Implied Consent Warning is misleading; however, most courts will not agree and rule that it properly informs your client. If the arresting officer changes or adds anything significant fact then the trial court should throw out the blood or breath test. In this case, the trooper told my client that if she refused the blood test her home state would suspend her license. That was simply not true. While the trial court did not say this was misleading, we appealed to the Georgia Court of Appeals and they said it was and threw out the blood test.
This case came at an important time, as all Georgia trial courts are unsure how to interpret the Georgia Implied Consent Warning.
State v. Warren, 338 Ga. App 849 (2016)-
The government was attempting to improperly introduce a preliminary breath test in a DUI case. Jeff was able to convince the trial court to not allow the government to do so. The government appealed the trial court and we backed up the trial court in their correct ruling and the Georgia Court of Appeals did as well and found that the trial court correctly excluded the preliminary breath test. While this is not a monumental appeal it shows that Jeff is willing to fight hard for his clients – no matter the issues if it helps achieve their goals.