City of Milton, Georgia, DUI & Criminal Lawyer
As Milton, GA, Criminal and DUI lawyers, we have helped thousands of people charged with the most serious crimes. Our office has represented numerous high-profile clients and we have gotten successful results in cases that were thought to be impossible to defend.
What makes us different?
What makes our style unique is that we passionately care about our clients and take our responsibility as a defender of their rights very seriously. It is our first priority. This is what separates us from many other criminal law firms and DUI lawyers in Milton.
And importantly, we've served as prosecutors and judges, so we know both sides, and that's critical to getting the best outcome for anyone charged with a DUI.
Here to help you when you need it most
Attorneys Bill Sherman and Valerie Sherman are here to help you when you need help the most. We understand this is a most difficult and stressful time for you and your family and we want to do whatever is necessary to get your life back on track. We work hard for you in defending you against the traffic, criminal or drunk driving charges you are facing.
A long tradition of helping people
We have a long tradition of providing DUI defense to individuals that are charged in Milton. We will explain in detail the entire DUI process, and you will be able to receive the best and most effective legal advice and direction for your particular case. We will use our experience, education, knowledge of the law, and proactive strategies to obtain the best possible results for your DUI case.
What Is Driving Under the Influence?
Georgia is by far one of the toughest states in sentencing driving under the influence (DUI) cases in the nation. We understand that being arrested, handcuffed, and receiving a DUI charge is a terrifying ordeal. If you have been arrested and charged with a crime, the best thing you can do is educate yourself by contacting an experienced Milton DUI lawyer. We will work hard to get your DUI charges minimized, reduced or dismissed against you.
DUI cases are not simple
DUI cases are not simple or easy. And there are real consequences. DUI charges are serious offenses and the courts, like the City of Milton Municipal Court, take them seriously, and so should you.
Driving under the influence is commonly called "drunk driving.” But a person does not have to be “drunk” or “buzzed” in order to be charged with a DUI. Driving skills, especially judgment and reactions, are impaired in most people long before they show signs of actually being drunk.
It is more accurate to refer to driving under the influence as "alcohol-impaired" driving because you do not have to be "drunk" to be impaired in your ability to drive a car. And if you are impaired, the law considers you a less safe driver.
Alcohol or drugs (even prescription drugs!) can cause DUI
A person can be charged with a DUI because they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, including prescription medication. This comes as a surprise to many people.
DUI-Drugs is defined broadly under Georgia law. The term drugs includes both illegal and legal narcotics, stimulants, and over-the-counter drugs, as well as legal prescriptions. But they can all lead to a DUI.
While the prescribed medications are supposed to help, most people do not realize the danger in taking a prescription drug, even as directed by a doctor, and driving. Many physicians do not explain the problems that can arise when someone is driving while using medication.
Not your first DUI?
In Georgia, DUI laws are in place to stop multiple DUI offenders. Being charged with a DUI with an allegation of prior DUI convictions means you were convicted of one or more DUIs within 10 years from the last DUI offense (although for sentencing purposes, prosecutors and judges can look back even longer than 10 years).
Is it a felony or a misdemeanor?
Most DUIs are misdemeanors, unless the DUI involves a serious injury or the defendant has three or more priors, then the case is elevated to a felony under Georgia law.
If this new DUI is a second or third offense, then you are being charged with a misdemeanor. Pursuant to Georgia law, second and third DUIs can require increased penalties, including jail time, a longer term of probation, fines, court fees, license suspension, alcohol-related classes and counseling, AA/NA meetings, ignition locking device, and community service.
Four or more DUI convictions within 10 years and you are facing a felony, and will be looking at state prison time. However, a felony DUI case from Milton would not be handled in the City of Milton Municipal Court. Rather, since it's a felony, it would go to the Fulton County Superior Court. The punishment may include prison, parole, larger fines and court fees, restitution fees, probation fees, license revocation, court mandated counseling and DUI education programs, and other penalties that a judge may feel are appropriate.
What's the legal limit for alcohol?
The per se limit in Georgia is .08. But that doesn't mean you can't get a DUI if you are under .08. If the prosecutor can show that you were a less safe drive because you drank alcohol, you can be convicted of DUI even if you are under .08.
Do I need to "drive" a moving vehicle to be charged with drunk driving?
No. Georgia law prohibits operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated or with a prohibited alcohol concentration. Turning the key in the ignition, even if the car does not move, amounts to operation under Georgia's drunk driving law.
Can the police stop my car for any reason?
No, they can't. In most cases, to stop your car, the police either need a warrant, or they must have a reasonable suspicion that you committed or are in the process of committing a criminal or traffic offense.
The stop of the vehicle must be legal. Since every case depends on unique facts, it is impractical to list all of the possible reasons why the stop of a vehicle may be illegal. However, if you were charged with drunk driving after the police stopped your vehicle, you should contact a Milton DUI lawyer to analyze your matter.
Can the police require a breath or blood test for any reason?
No. Under Georgia's implied consent law, to demand a breath or blood test, a police officer must have probable cause to believe that you violated one or more driving related offenses and must have arrested you for that offense. In some cases, the police may also force a blood test if they have probable cause to believe that there is evidence of a crime in your blood. But to force you to take a blood test, the police need to get a warrant.
If I was previously convicted of drunk driving, will a new offense for drunk driving count as a second offense?
Not necessarily. In Georgia there is a “10-year” look-back period. And the 10 years is calculated from the date that the offenses occurred, not the dates of conviction.
The officer never read me my rights. Can I get the case dismissed?
Probably not. Most people think an officer is required to inform them of their rights before their statements can be used against them. However, even though you always maintain your right to remain silent, you do not need to be informed of this right until the officer makes the decision to arrest you.
Up until the point of arrest, however, the officer is free to ask you questions. So, for instance, the commonly asked question of have you been drinking is perfectly legal.
Once you answer that you were drinking, though, you have now given the officer potential cause to arrest you. The statements you made prior to being arrested will likely be admissible and used against you.
Am I required to participate in field sobriety tests?
No, you are not. You can refuse all testing, without penalties except for the “official” chemical test involving your breath or blood. Unless the officer informs you that you will lose your license for a year by refusing, it is not the official test and there is no penalty for refusing.
What can I do if I'm arrested for a Milton DUI?
The most important thing to remember, if you have been arrested for DUI in Milton, is that you have the same rights as if you were arrested for any Georgia crime. You have the right to remain silent, and you have the right to an attorney. Make sure you use those rights!
Can I choose which type of BAC testing I perform?
No, unfortunately in Georgia it is at the discretion of the arresting officer which type of chemical BAC testing is administered. Most common are breath, blood, and urine. A urine test is usually only used if the officer has suspicion of other substances being present in your body at that time. You are, however, allowed under Georgia law to obtain an independent test if you request one. But before you can get an independent test, you must take the test the police officer requests.
What happens if I am involved in an accident while driving under the influence?
Most likely, you will face more severe penalties if you are involved in an accident while DUI, but certainly not always. The severity of these penalties will depend, generally speaking, upon whether anyone was injured in the accident and how much property damage was caused.
What should a person expect if he or she is arrested?
You will be brought to the jail or police station and "booked." This procedure in Milton and elsewhere will include fingerprinting and photographing and obtaining your personal information. You will be able to make a telephone call, and you should make it either to a lawyer or a family member who can call a lawyer. The procedure can take anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of days. The City of Milton, however, is usually pretty fast in their processing procedures.
Can I Refuse a Field Sobriety Test?
Yes, you can. Field sobriety tests have not been proven to be 100% accurate. There are only three standardized tests and even these can lead to false results if other factors are involved, such as exhaustion or prior injury.
What factors will prosecutors and the court take into account when analyzing your case?
There are a number of factors that are taken into account when analyzing a DUI case:
- Your driving record including any history of DUI
- The level of your intoxication from a blood, breath or urine test
- If a car accident occurred
- If the other driver was injured in the car accident
- If there was a child or passenger in your car
- If the judge believes that you have fully accepted responsibility for your actions.
- These factors will all be taken into consideration by the prosecutor and the judge.
I was arrested on Friday night for driving under the influence. Do I have to submit to the Breathalyzer test?
Georgia's implied consent law means that all individuals who drive on Georgia roads automatically must consent to a chemical test of their blood, breath, or urine. While you do have the right to refuse that test, you can face harsh penalties for refusing, like a license suspension for a full year without a permit.
What should someone do if the police want to question or arrest him or her?
Always be polite and cooperative. Arguing or fighting, even if you didn't do anything wrong, will never help or make the situation better. Don't say anything to the police except your name and other identifying information.
DO NOT discuss the situation with them. Many convictions result from statements made to the police. Whether the officer speaking to you is nasty or nice, he or she is looking for evidence that can be used against you. That's how they are trained. The Georgia police sometimes will attempt to lie or trick you in order to get you to talk. That's perfectly legal. You should tell the police that you want to speak to a lawyer, and that you do not want to speak to them until you have spoken to a lawyer.
I have an excellent Georgia driving record; will that help me avoid a DUI charge?
An excellent driving record is merely one factor that can help the defense in a DUI case, particularly when negotiating a plea agreement. But, of course, the most important factors are related to the specific situation, like blood test or breath test results, how you looked on the field sobriety tests, was the stop of your vehicle legal, etc.
When you need a Milton DUI lawyer, contact attorneys Valerie Sherman and Bill Sherman at 678-215-4106. Let our experience and knowledge of the system help you!