How to Handle DUI Cases in Gwinnett County

Johnnie Pratt
How to Handle DUI Cases in Gwinnett County

Unless there are injuries or accidents involved, most DUI cases in Gwinnett County will be handled by the county state court. An individual facing DUI charges should hire a local attorney as soon as possible to get the case in motion.

An experienced attorney can challenge evidence based on police reports, witness statements and BAC blood test results. A good DUI lawyer can also negotiate for lesser charges or a dismissal of the case altogether.

Field Sobriety Tests

During DUI stops, officers will often ask drivers to perform field sobriety tests. These are tests administered to suspects outside of their vehicles, and they are designed to check for signs of impairment such as slurred speech or red eyes. These tests are often inaccurate, however, and can be influenced by a number of factors including age, weight, medical conditions, and prescription medications.

One of the most common is the walk-and-turn test. The suspect is asked to take nine steps, placing the toe of each foot behind the heel of the other while looking for any swaying or hopping. Similarly, the officer may ask you to repeat a series of numbers or recite the alphabet.

While you do have the right to refuse these tests, it is important to understand that refusing does not protect you from an arrest if the officer suspects you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. A Gwinnett County DUI attorney could help you challenge the results of these tests and other police procedures.

Chemical Tests

All drivers in Georgia agree to submit to a chemical test of their blood, breath, or urine when a police officer has probable cause to believe that the driver has committed DUI. The result of this test can be used against the driver in criminal court.

A chemical test can be administered at a Gwinnett County DUI stop by an officer who believes that you have committed a serious traffic violation such as speeding, failing to maintain your lane, making an illegal U-turn or driving while under the influence of drugs (illegal or prescription), or alcohol. The state’s standard for BAC (blood alcohol content) is 0.08% for adults and 0.02% for commercial drivers.

A Gwinnett County DUI lawyer can help you fight the results of these tests. There are a number of reasons why these tests can be inaccurate. We can challenge the test and if necessary, request an administrative law judge (ALS) hearing. These hearings are conducted by the Office of State Administrative Hearings and are heard before a different judge from the trial court.

Refusal to Take a Chemical Test

If the officer believes you are under the influence of alcohol or another drug, they will ask you to take a blood, breath, or urine test. These tests will determine whether the amount of the drug or alcohol in your system is above the legal limit. Many officers have specialized training as Drug Recognition Experts (DRE) to screen drivers for drugs that can impair driving, such as legally prescribed sleeping aids or anti-anxiety medications.

A Gwinnett County DUI lawyer can defend you from this charge by challenging the police officer’s reasons for requesting or taking your chemical test and by reviewing the results of your test. The result of this review can often be used to negotiate with the prosecutor for a reduced charge or favorable plea deal.

A good Gwinnett County DUI lawyer can also protect your right to a jury trial for both misdemeanor and felony charges. Many DUI cases are heard in the Gwinnett County State Court where the prosecutors and judges are known to be tough, but fair.

Underage Drinking

A teen who is arrested for underage drinking and DUI in Gwinnett County may face a criminal record that will follow them throughout their life. If parents see warning signs that their children are drinking too much, they should seek treatment options for their adolescent immediately.

A person who is convicted of DUI-drug will have their license suspended for 12 months. These people must attend DUI school and undergo counseling. They must also install an ignition interlock device in their car for 12 months.

DUI cases that occur in city limits of Gwinnett County usually have their initial arraignment in the municipal court where the arrest took place. For example, Loganville is split between Walton and Gwinnett counties, so a DUI case that takes place in Loganville begins in the City of Loganville Traffic Court with Judge Brownlow presiding. All other Gwinnett County DUI misdemeanor arrests start in the Recorder’s Court, a special non-jury court authorized by state law.

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