Free Tips & Advice: 76 Things You Need to Know About Your DUI  Case.

Chris E. Ambrose
Silvis, Ambrose & Lindquist & Coch, P.C.
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5 things the Prosecutor does not want you to know about your Georgia DUI case:

  1. The roadblock in your case was not properly set up.
  2. The arresting officer has left the force and moved out of state.
  3. He has the results of your blood test and it's under the legal limit.
  4. The officer questioned you after you were arrested and did not read your Miranda rights to you.
  5. The Intoxilyzer 5000 breath testing device detected an interfering substance, and the officer did not wait twenty minutes to retest you.

Elements of DUI that the prosecutor must be able to prove at trial:

  1. That YOU
  2. Drove or were in actual physical control of a moving vehicle
  3. In Georgia
  4. While either:

    (a) You had an unlawful blood alcohol level within three hours of driving from alcohol consumed prior to driving;

    (b) You were under the influence of of alcohol or any drug to the extent that you were incapable of driving safely; or

    (c) You had any amount of an illegal drug in your system at the time of driving.

What you must do immediately to preserve your right to drive:

  • If you either refused the test or registered for an unlawful blood alcohol level, you must request an administrative license suspension hearing or exercise options within thirty days of your arrest .
  • Failure to do so can result in a suspension of your driving privileges in Georgia for up to five years, and that's before you even go to court on your DUI..

Information your attorney needs to know.

  1. A detailed account of the 24 hours prior to your arrest.
  2. The type and amount of alcoholic beverage you consumed prior to your arrest.

  3. Over what time period you consumed the alcohol.

  4. Your gender.

  5. Your weight at the time of the arrest.

  6. Whether you had chewing tobacco or dip in your mouth when stopped.

  7. Whether you had bleeding gums when you took the breath test.

  8. If you were in contact with any volatile chemicals prior to your arrest.

  9. Why the officer stopped you.

  10. What questions the officer asked you when stopped and what were your responses.

  11. What roadside tests the officer asked you to do.

  12. How well you performed on any roadside test.

  13. Whether the officer made a video tape of your arrest.

  14. After you were placed under arrest, did the officer read the Georgia Implied Consent Notice to you off of a card.

  15. Whether you took the official test requested by the officer.

  16. What were the test results.

  17. Whether there are any witnesses that can support your version of events leading up to your arrest.

  18. Were there any witnesses to your actual arrest.

  19. Are you on probation or parole.

What are the 3 items crucial to the defense of your Georgia DUI case?

  1. Immediately contacting an attorney who specializes in DUI defense,

  2. Who will assess your case and discover both obvious and hidden defenses, and

  3. Who has the experience to represent you at your administrative license suspension hearing, motion hearing, and, if necessary, at trial.

What is the one thing your attorney must do to raise objections to the admissibility of harmful evidence?

  • Unless local rules of court allow for an extension, he must file motions no later than 10 days after your arraignment in order for a judge to decide whether certain evidence is admissible or not.

Why a jury trial is usually advisable for your Georgia DUI case:

  • At a jury trial, the prosecutor must convince six people that you are guilty. A guilty verdict must be unanimous.

How do you get a jury trial?

  • If your case starts off in Superior or State Court, a jury trial is automatic unless you specifically give up that right in writing.

  • If your case starts of in Municipal Court, you must transfer your case to State or Superior Court in order to have a trial by jury.

How the arresting officer's testimony can be impeached:

  1. He testified one way at the administrative hearing or motion hearing, and changed his testimony at trial. You must have a transcript of the prior hearing to catch him.

  2. His partner has a different recollection of events.

5 requirements which must be followed for chemical and roadside tests to be valid:

  1. In order to stop you, the officer must have either reasonable articulable suspicion or probable cause.
    (a) An example of probable cause is the commission of a traffic offense.
    (b) An example of reasonable articulable suspicion is weaving within lane of traffic. This is not a traffic offense and thus is not probable cause.

  2. The officer must have your consent, either verbal or tacit,  to take roadside tests. Roadside tests are voluntary. You have a right to refuse them prior to an arrest. After an arrest, if the officer wants you to take any of these tests, he must first read the Miranda warnings to you, and you still have a right to refuse to take them.
    (Hint: Some officers have a difficult time testifying as to the proper method of administering and scoring these tests).

  3. The officer must have probable cause to arrest you. Keep in mind that the purpose of the roadside tests is to help establish probable cause to arrest you.

  4. In order for any state test to be admissible at trial,
    (a) The officer must read to you the proper Implied Consent Notice (there are three different ones),
    (c) he must read it correctly,
    (d) and he cannot say anything else that would confuse you and cause you to make an improper decision regarding your rights..

  5. In Georgia, after you've been arrested, if the officer wants to interrogate you or conduct any roadside tests, he must first advise you of your Miranda rights.

What are the key pieces of information that must be determined in deciding to go to trial?

  1. How would a DUI conviction and loss of driving privileges affect:
    (a) Your ability to drive
    (b) Your job
    (c) The cost of insurance premiums
    (d) Your credit
    (e) Possibly even your marriage.

How to determine if you can plea bargain, and at what step you should do it.

  • It's simple. Taking into consideration the effect a conviction would have on your job, insurance, credit, ability to rent a car, etc., you must determine:
    (a) Whether it is worth it to plead guilty and be assured of a DUI conviction, or
    (b) Whether it is worth it to fight and at least have a chance of having your charges reduced or dismissed.

What effect will this arrest have on your license and when will you be able to drive?

If your blood alcohol was over the legal limit or you refused a test, you may not be able to drive at all for up to five years, depending upon your record.

For a first offense within a five-year period, you are entitled to a limited driving permit for 120 days after which you can have your license reinstated if you comply with certain requirements

 For a second offense within a five-year period, you will have an eighteen month suspension with no limited driving permit for the first twelve months. After that, usually you can obtain an ignition interlock permit for the remaining six months.

For a third offense within a five-year period, your license will be revoked for five years.  After two years, you may get an ignition interlock permit for six months, and then a probationary license for two and a half years.

Failure to file the following motions could be fatal to your case.

  1. Standard discovery motions, including:
    (a) A demand for any scientific reports, which include any test reports of you blood, breath or urine as well as the results of certain roadside tests you were given..
    (b) A demand for any custodial statements you might have given.
    (c) A motion to inspect and examine certain physical evidence in the custody or control of the State.
    (d) A motion to reveal the deal the prosecutor might have made with any co-defendant.
    (e) Demand for a copy of the charges and a list of witnesses the State intends to use.
    (f) A demand for any and all evidence favorable to your case in the custody or control of the prosecutor.

  2. Motion to suppress evidence on any of the following grounds:
    (a) The officer did not have articulable suspicion or probable cause to stop you.
    (b) The officer did not have probable cause to arrest you.
    (c) The roadblock was improperly established.
    (d) The officer's request to search your vehicle exceeded the permissible scope of the initial stop.
    (e) Your post-arrest statement was given without the proper Miranda advisements
    (f) The State did not comply with the statutory or procedural requirements to allow in the results of your breath or blood test.

Your lawyer will file these and perhaps other motions to protect your rights and give you the best chance of winning your case.

Procedures your defense lawyer will use:

  1. Give you a thorough assessment of your case and discuss with you all applicable defenses.

  2. Request an Administrative License Suspension Hearing to try to save your license from being suspended before you even go to court.

  3. Waive your arraignment and plead Not Guilty on your behalf so you do not have to appear at the arraignment.

  4. File motions and have a hearing to exclude evidence as discussed in the section immediately preceding this section.

  5. Try to negotiate a deal to lesser charges.

  6. In the event that plea negotiations are unsuccessful, and if you the client believes it is in your best interest, proceed to trial.

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