Following a DUI arrest, the State of Georgia has the authority to suspend the driver’s license of the accused in a civil proceeding if one of the following occurs:
- After the accused has been arrested for DUI, the arresting officer read the accused the correct “Implied Consent” notice and he/she refused to comply with either a breath, blood, or urine test in order to determine his/her blood alcohol content, OR
- The accused consented to a breath, blood, or urine test and the results showed that the blood alcohol content of the accused was above the legal limit.
At this time, the accused has a few options. He/she can either appeal the license suspension or install an ignition interlock device in his/her vehicle for the duration of the suspension. However, the accused MUST make this decision before the deadline is up. The deadline to either install an ignition interlock or appeal a license suspension is 30 days from the date of arrest. If this is not done, there will be a license suspension put in place 45 days after arrest.
In Coweta County, if eligible, and if the accused refused to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test, it is usually advisable to go the ignition interlock device route, instead of appealing the license suspension. If the license suspension is appealed, many police officers in Coweta County will require that the accused plead guilty to DUI in order to dismiss the 1-year license suspension. Therefore, if you have been charged with DUI, and refused the breath, blood, or urine test, and you want to fight your case, it is usually a better option to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle rather than appeal the license suspension.
THE OFFENSE/ PUNISHMENT
After either installing an ignition interlock device, or appealing the license suspension, the accused must also be ready to defend his/her criminal allegations. According to O.C.G.A. § 40-6-391, a person commits driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs when it renders them less safe to drive, the person’s alcohol concentration is 0.08 grams or more at any time within 3 hours after such driving occurred, or there is any amount of an illegal controlled substance present in the accused person’s blood or urine.
The consequences of a first DUI conviction in the last ten years are at least 12 months on probation, DUI classes and courses, and community service. For a second DUI, the consequences are more serious. There is a mandatory sentence of at least 3 days in jail, heightened community service, and a requirement for an ignition interlock to be installed in the accused’s vehicle. Lastly, for a third DUI, there is a mandatory jail-time sentence of at least 15 days in custody.
Due to the severity of the consequences following a DUI arrest, it is imperative to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney. At the Law Offices of W. Scott Smith, we understand all the possible options for our clients, we are knowledgeable about all direct and collateral consequences of a DUI conviction, and we work tirelessly to advocate for our clients. Therefore, if you have been arrested for a DUI in Coweta County, please call our office today at 404-581-0999 for a free consultation.