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Frequently Asked Questions

If I lose my license, I lose my job. How can I avoid losing my license?

Everyone who is found guilty, or pleads guilty, will lose their driver's license. If this is your first DUI, you can get an emergency driving permit to drive to and from work, during daylight hours, or for emergency purposes. If you have had prior DUIs, you may be eligible for an emergency driving permit, depending upon your record.

If I plead guilty, will I go to jail?

That depends on your record. All first time DUI offenders are required to serve a minimum of 24 hours in jail. If you have prior DUI's the amount of jail time will vary depending upon your record, where the offense occurred, the judge, the solicitor, and your attorney's ability to negotiate a favorable plea bargain.

I have a commercial driver's license and drive for a living. How can I avoid losing my license?

The only way to avoid losing your license is to get a good attorney to represent you and fight your case. The prosecutor is not going to drop the charges just because you drive for a living. An attorney can help you challenge the arrest and point out the weaknesses in the state's case. You may have to file motions to suppress evidence, and have a motions hearing. You may have to go to trial in order to keep from losing your license. Many people find themselves in this position and don't have any choice but to fight the case.

I wasn't read my Miranda rights when arrested. Does that affect my case?

Yes, it could. It depends on the facts in your case. Usually, Miranda rights are not read to a person arrested for DUI. However, there are circumstances when Miranda rights must be read and, if not, can result in the exclusion of harmful evidence and affect the outcome of the case.

Do I have to have an attorney to handle my case? Can't I handle my case without an attorney?

Absolutely, everyone has the right to handle their case without an attorney. You can even represent yourself in a murder case. It is not recommended, though. I represented a resident from Oklahoma recently, who first went to court to handle his case without an attorney. The solicitor recommended that he go to jail for thirty (30) days. His father called and hired me to represent his son and we finished his case with no jail time and his son didn't have to go to court again to finish his case. He stayed in Oklahoma, where he was going to school.

I have heard that the Intoxilyzer 5000 is biased against women. Is that true?

Yes, the Intoxilyzer 5000 is biased against women. When they were calibrating the Intoxilyzer 5000, they used males for calibration subjects. They average male anatomy and average female anatomy is very different. Females have more water on the average than men and because of that their test results from the Intoxilyzer 5000 will be much higher than the test results for men of the same weight who have consumed the same volume of alcohol. The State of Georgia recognizes this in their Intoxilyzer 5000 Operator's Manual and makes reference to this very issue and gives credibility to the criticisms from the public that the breath test machine used in the State of Georgia is not fair to women. In fact, when the operators are setting up the machine preparing it for a test, they do not input whether or not the test subject is a male or female, their size, or their weight. Chemistry experts that we have used on many occasions have been successful attacking the results given by the breath test device used by the State of Georgia. Contact us to discuss how this might apply to you.

When I was arrested, I got a temporary driver's license, along with my tickets. What does that mean?

The temporary driver's license is Form DPS 1205. That document is a thirty (30) day driving permit. It also puts you on notice that you have ten (10) business days to write a letter requesting a hearing on your case. If you do not request a hearing within ten (10) business days, your license will be suspended thirty (30) days after the date on which you were arrested for DUI. The driver's license suspension is for one year.

If I plead guilty, can I serve my jail time on the weekends?

This depends on the jurisdiction where you were arrested. Some courts allow serving jail time on the weekends, others do not. It also depends on your record. If you have a record of multiple DUI offenses, the chances of your being allowed to serve your jail time on weekends is not likely to receive the judge's approval.

If I plead guilty, can I serve my jail time though an in-home incarceration program?

Yes, many people elect to serve a period of incarceration by serving it in-home. This depends upon the jurisdiction. Some judges do not like in-home incarceration. Many judges feel that in-home incarceration is not the same as jail time and will require you to serve two or three times more time on an in-home incarceration program instead of straight jail time. An in-home incarceration program requires that you go to work and go straight home after work. You are not allowed to leave your house after you return home. While you are at home, you will be called by the in-home incarceration monitor, who will require you to blow into a breath testing device, which will record whether or not you have consumed alcohol. Of course, if you consume alcohol, while you are on an in-home incarceration program, that would be a violation of the program and the monitor will report that violation to the judge. The judge will likely revoke the in-home incarceration program and require you to serve jail time.

I admit that I have a drinking problem. Should I begin an alcohol treatment program?

Alcohol counseling and treatment is frequently required on DUI cases. Many courts require it on the first DUI arrest, especially if the blood alcohol reading is high. On all subsequent DUI cases, alcohol counseling and treatment will be required and made a part of the court order as your sentence. If you fail to comply with the required treatment program, that would constitute a violation of probation and would subject you to having your probation revoked and possibly serve time in jail. We frequently recommend alcohol counseling and treatment prior to negotiating a guilty plea. This helps us to negotiate a favorable plea bargain with the prosecutor.

Will I have to go to DUI school if I enter a guilty plea?

Yes, all people who enter a guilty plea, or are found guilty, are required to go to DUI school. It is an absolute necessity that you complete DUI school before you have your license reinstated. When you enter a guilty plea, your license will be suspended and you will not have a valid license to drive away from the courthouse. After your first conviction, upon leaving court, you are eligible to get a temporary driving permit.

If I plead guilty, will I have to perform community service?

Yes, everyone who enters a guilty plea, or is found guilty after a trial, must perform community service. Community service must be performed on behalf of a non-profit, public service institution. Examples are the Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, MUST Ministries, working through your church or some other similar public service, non-profit institution. Upon completion of your community service, you will be required to get a letter on the letterhead stationery of the institution for whom you performed the community service, certifying that you have completed a certain number of hours of community service.

When I was arrested, I refused to take a blood alcohol test of my blood, breath or urine. How will that effect my case?

The fact that you refused to take a blood alcohol test of your blood, breath, or urine is only one factor that has to be considered when deciding how to handle your case. The fact that the state will not have a measurement of the quantity of alcohol in your blood, when you were arrested, could make it easier to win your case. However, juries will be allowed to infer that the reason you refused to take a blood alcohol test is because you knew that the test results would show that you were DUI. On the other hand, most jurors appreciate the fact that you have a right to refuse to take a blood alcohol test, and may not hold it against you. If the state does not have the blood alcohol test to prove that you were over the DUI limit, they will use other facts surrounding your arrest to try and prove your guilt. Other factors that will be taken into consideration are how you performed on the field sobriety exercises, your manner of driving, your physical appearance, speech, bloodshot eyes and ability to follow instructions.

How long does a DUI stay on your record?

DUI is a serious misdemeanor and will stay on your criminal record for the rest of your life. Each state has a local crime information center and the US has a National Crime Information Center. Traffic violations are reported to each state's crime information center and to the National Crime Information Center. If the prosecutor in your case wants to get your record from other states, they can contact the National Crime Information Center to get that information.

Listen to Attorney Guy Sharpe Answer Your Questions About Georgia DUI Laws

If someone calls you after being arrested for DUI, what do you tell them?

Do you always lose your license if arrested for DUI?

Is there any way to challenge a breath test?

What does it mean to be legally intoxicated in Georgia?

Can someone be convicted of DUI for using marijuana or prescription drugs?

What if I refuse the portable breath test or the field sobriety tests?

Can you explain about the different machines used to test intoxication?

What is the worst that can happen to me if I am convicted of DUI?

What is a "nolo plea" and can I enter a nolo plea for a DUI charge?

What is "first offender treatment" and can I use it for a DUI charge?

Guy Sharpe

We have 34 years of trial experience in Georgia DUI, Murder, Illegal drugs, Aggravated assault and other serious criminal cases. We have trial experience in wrongful death, catastrophic injuries, brain damage, hazardous machinery injuries, neck and back injuries, broken bones, and physical disfigurement.

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Don't try to represent yourself. The consequences are too serious, loss of license, jail time, and damage to your reputation and ability to get a job. Call Guy Sharpe and get an attorney with extensive experience winning Marietta, Cobb, and Atlanta DUI cases.