Driving Under the Influence (DUI's)

Some helpful information regarding Driving Under the Influence:

Georgia DUI law is very complex. Pursuant to OCGA 40-6-391, there are five types of DUI: A person shall not drive or be in actual physical control of any moving vehicle while:

1. Under the influence of any drug to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive;

2. Under the intentional influence of any glue, aerosol, or other toxic vapor to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive;

3. Under the combined influence of any two or more of the substances specified in paragraphs (1) through (3) of this subsection to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive;

4. The person’s alcohol concentration is 0.08 grams or more at any time within three hours after such driving or being in actual physical control from alcohol consumed before such driving or being in actual physical control ended; or

5. Subject to the provisions of subsection (b) of this Code section, there is any amount of marijuana or a controlled substance, as defined in Code Section 16-13-21, present in the person’s blood or urine, or both, including the metabolites and derivatives of each or both without regard to whether or not any alcohol is present in the person’s breath or blood.

Time is of the essence: once your case makes it to court, you’ll notice that the prosecution will rely heavily on the testimony of the arresting officer. If you were arrested for DUI because of a “less safe” violation this means that the prosecution will have to prove that you were incapable of driving safely as a result of alcohol and/or drugs in your system. However, alcohol and drugs are not the only reasons that your driving could have been affected on the day in question. During your court case, the police may also testify that they noticed physical signs of alcohol and/or drug consumption. Typically, bloodshot eyes, pupil enlargement, and nervousness can be attributed to alcohol or drugs. Yet if you have allergies, were wearing contacts, or were simply stressed out about the police stopping your vehicle, these symptoms can also occur. If you were given a blood, breath or urine test, your attorney should review the facts surrounding such testing. Police, medical personnel, and the state crime lab must follow certain protocols when conducting their tests. If machines are not working properly, the person administering the test is not trained, or if your sample is tainted, this can affect your blood alcohol content test result. So before you throw in the towel and think of pleading guilty to your DUI charge, contact team Nicola Cummings Law Firm. We can help, 470-222-2222. We look forward to hearing from you.

Administrative License Suspension (ALS)

Some helpful information regarding Administrative License Suspension:

We all know that a DUI arrest means going to criminal court where you’ll face a judge or jury and potentially lose your driver’s license. But did you know that before you have to appear in court, your driver’s license can already be taken away by the Department of Driver Services? Don’t let this “hidden law” take away your right to drive. Time is of the essence! It is now the 30-day rule which means that you have thirty (30) actual days (starting with the day after your DUI arrest) to request an administrative hearing with the Office of Administrative Hearings. When you were arrested, the officer should have read and explained the Georgia Implied Consent Notice to you. This is a notice to warn drivers that refusing to take a chemical test can result in serious penalties. Whether you refused to take a chemical test or the result exceeded the per se limit, the officer should submit his or her report to the Department of Driver Services. Don’t let these 30 days pass without requesting your hearing!

What happens if I miss the 30-day mark for requesting a hearing? If you refused to take a chemical test and you didn’t request a hearing within 30 days, your driver’s license will be suspended for one year starting on the 46th days after your DUI arrest date. It is NOT possible for you to get any limited permit during an administrative suspension for refusing the state test. When you are administratively suspended due to a “per se” violation for the first time within five years, you are eligible for a 120-day ALS limited permit. Upon payment of the reinstatement fee and providing proof of completion of DUI School, you can reinstate your license after 120 days. The amount of time that your license was administratively suspended will be credited against any license suspension you receive later in criminal court if you are convicted of DUI.

So, before you throw in the towel and think of pleading guilty to your DUI charge, contact team Nicola Cummings Law Firm. We can help, 470-222-2222. We look forward to hearing from you. Team Nicola Cummings Law Firm

Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (SFST)

What do you really know about field sobriety tests?From making you recite the alphabet backwards to other silly tasks, police officers use field sobriety tests to help determine whether or not a person is under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol while driving. While there is a plethora of field sobriety tests police officers give, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration has approved three: the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN), the Walk and Turn, and the One Leg Stand. Georgia police officers often use these three field sobriety tests when DUI is suspected.Before a police officer can ask you to perform a field sobriety test, there must be a reasonable, articulable suspicion of wrongdoing to stop your vehicle. If the officer suspects you of drinking, he or she may ask you to perform a field sobriety test. You do not have to perform this test; it is optional. However, as a practical matter, if you refuse field sobriety testing, you WILL be arrested and your license will be suspended for a period of one year. If you agree to take the test, the officer should make sure that you are physically able, are under 65 years of age and you are not more than 50 pounds overweight. The officer must also ask you to perform the test in a safe, well-light area on a hard, dry surface. If you are wearing heels more than 2” high, you should be allowed to remove them before taking the test.The HGNDuring this test, the officer will ask you to follow a stimulus (such as a lighted pen) with your eyes in order to detect nystagmus (involuntary jerking of the eyes). He will look for three clues – lack of smooth pursuit, nystagmus at maximum deviation, and onset before 45 degrees. Nystagmus can be brought on by alcohol consumption. However, many people suffer from a natural nystagmus, and there are dozens of other causes, which is why the HGN test is not scientific proof that you were under the influence.The Walk and TurnIn this type of test, you’ll be asked to follow an imaginary line or the white line on the shoulder. You’ll have to walk nine heel-to-toe steps, then turn around, and walk back in the same manner.The One Leg StandThe officer will ask you to raise one foot six inches off the ground and count out loud for 30 seconds. Like the Walk and Turn test, you cannot use your arms for balance or sway side to side. Police must follow protocol when administering your field sobriety tests!