ARRESTED FOR DUI IN GEORGIA? Avoid the 10 Biggest Mistakes Most People Make.

Chris E. Ambrose
Silvis, Ambrose & Lindquist & Coch, P.C.
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How to Avoid the 10 Biggest Mistakes Most People Make After Being Arrested for DUI

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1. Do not ignore your DUI case. You not only risk loss of license and jail time, but you will also pay higher insurance premiums, risk losing your job, jeopardize your credit, and can even be refused a car rental.

2. Do not represent yourself thinking "I really wasn't drunk and the truth will win out." The officer is trained to testify to get a conviction. The prosecutor is probably more educated than you and certainly more court-wise than you are. Representing yourself virtually ensures a conviction.

3. Do not wait until the day before you are scheduled for court to contact a DUI specialist. He might be in court and unable to discuss your case with you. Moreover, the attorney will want to be paid before making an entry of appearance in your case (an entry of appearance binds him to make court appearances on your behalf). If you talk to an attorney right after you were arrested, you will at least have some time to come up with his fee. Keep in mind that hiring a DUI defense specialist will not guarantee a win, but will substantially increase your probability for an acquittal.

4. Make sure you request a hearing from the Georgia Department of Driver services within 30 days after your arrest if you either refused to take an alcohol test, or took the test and had an unlawful blood alcohol level (.08 or higher if age 21 or older, .04 if operating a commercial vehicle, or .02 of under age 21). This is explained more fully here.

5. Not hiring a lawyer who specializes in DUI cases. DUI law is the most complicated area of criminal law and you must hire an attorney who knows all the ins and outs of DUI practice.

6. Never take legal advice from a friend or acquaintance who has had three prior DUI cases. 'Nuff said.

7. Do not miss a court appearance unless your lawyer tells you that you are excused. Not only will the judge issue a warrant for your arrest, but the bond you posted will be forfeited and you will most likely sit in jail until your case is called. Furthermore, your license may be suspended for your failure to appear in court.

8. It's highly unlikely that "your mother's friend who knows a judge who can get your case dismissed" routine will work - believe me.

9. Never try to save money by negotiating your own plea. Although this sometimes works, other times what seems like a good deal is a prescription for disaster. For example, if you get tickets in addition to your DUI ticket, one or more of the other charges could also be a license suspension violation on top of your DUI. Even worse, depending upon your record, one or more of the other charges could make you an Habitual Violator. Saving all that money could result in the loss of your drivers license for five years.

10. Were you in an accident? Your insurance policy requires that you inform the company immediately. However, any conversation you have with a company agent IS NOT a privileged communication. In other words, it could be used against you in court. What should you do? Contact the company immediately as you a supposed to do, but do not give a statement until you have consulted with an attorney first.

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