Category Archives: DUI

Georgia’s Operation Zero Tolerance for DUI Creates Felony Level DUI Charge

According to the Chattanoogan.com, there has been a statewide DUI crackdown in Georgia. The Georgia DUI crackdown called “Operation Zero Tolerance,” was created when House Bill 336 was passed adding a felony level DUI charge for repeat offenders. This Georgia DUI bill was an important change in Georgia law where multiple Georgia DUI arrests can now lead to strict punishments and felony convictions for high-risk violators. A felony level DUI charge can be leveled against an offender who accumulates up to four drunk-driving convictions during a 10-year driving record.

Georgia DUI Statistics

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) reports that Georgia DUI currently ranks 7th in the nation, with 45,598 3rd time offenders, 5,782 5th time offenders, 298 Georgia DUI fatalities and 24% of total traffic deaths DUI related. MADD continues to report that Georgia DUI state subsidy of drunken driving fatalities is $1.46 Billion dollars. With almost one out of every three traffic deaths involving drunken driving, the problem of Georgia DUI is a serious one. In the U.S. someone is killed in a drunken driving crash every 52 minutes, or 10,228 people a year. Every 90-seconds someone is injured in a preventable event.

Georgia DUI Felony Law

Under Georgia DUI law, felony level charges can be charged against a driver with prior DUI convictions. Expert legal counsel is necessary immediately after your traffic stop, charge and possible arrest. Under the new Georgia DUI law convictions add up over a 10-year period and with an experienced Georgia DUI attorney your conviction may be dismissed or reduced to a lower level. Having immediate legal consultation can mean the difference between a felony conviction or a much lesser charge. The Georgia DUI convictions are as follows:

  • 1st and 2nd Georgia DUI convictions are misdemeanors
  • 3rd DUI conviction are treated as high and aggravated misdemeanors
  • 4th and further convictions within a 10-year period are treated as felonies

The fines and penalties for each of the convictions are as follows:

  • 1st Georgia DUI carries a fine up to $1,000, jail time from 10-days to 1-year, minimum of 40 hours of community service for those with DUI at .08 BAC or above, or minimum of 20 hours of community service for DUI below .08 BAC, completion of a DUI alcohol or drug use risk reduction program, a clinical evaluation and any prescribed follow up treatment, 1-year of probation.
  • 2nd Georgia DUI carries a fine up to $1,000, jail time from 90-days to 1-year, with a minimum of 72-hours of actual jail time, minimum of 30-days community service, the completion of a Georgia DUI alcohol or drug risk reduction program, a clinical evaluation and completion of necessary treatment, 1-year probation.
  • 3rd time Georgia DUI carries fines up to $5,000, jail time from 120 days to 1-year with a minimum of 15 days of actual jail time, minimum of 30 days community service, completion of Georgia DUI alcohol or drug risk reduction program, a clinical evaluation and completion of necessary treatment, 1-year probation.
  • 4th time and further Georgia DUI convictions carry fines up to $5,000, jail time from 1-year to 5-years with minimum of 90-days of actual jail time, minimum of 60-days of community service, completion of Georgia DUI alcohol or drug risk reduction program, a clinical evaluation and any necessary treatment, 5-years’ probation.

Georgia DUI Defense Can Reduce Penalty Charges

An experienced Georgia DUI attorney can often have your case dismissed or penalty reduced. The State of Georgia has two ways to convict someone for DUI – one way is to show 0.08 grams or more of blood alcohol concentration within three hours of driving a vehicle which is called the “per se” provision under Georgia DUI law. The other way to convict is to show that the driver is “less safe” to drive a vehicle – even with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05 grams or less, the State can try and convict under the provision you were “less safe” due to alcohol or other intoxicants. Having an Atlanta DUI attorney on your case from the beginning can very often rebut all inferences being made against you as well as attacking the accuracy of any field hand-held breathalyzer and field sobriety tests administered.

A good Georgia DUI defense can not only save you money in fines and insurance costs, but an expert in Georgia DUI legal provisions can also save you jail time, your driving license, and even your ability for a future job; a Georgia DUI charge goes on your permanent record. Get the Georgia DUI attorney you need to help reduce or clear your charges before you are faced with a felony record that will follow you wherever you go for the rest of your life – call Lisa Wells, Attorney at Law for the expert you need now.

A Cobb County DUI Defense Attorney Offers A Word of Caution to Spring Breakers

Spring Break is a rite of passage for many high school seniors and college students, a time to celebrate after months of hard studies. It can be a great memory of bonding with fellow classmates or a heartbreaking and life changing catastrophe for those who lose focus and drive drunk in the midst of the revelry, since DUI charges are taken seriously in Georgia courts.

Students, underage partiers, and parents should take such charges seriously, as well. A DUI conviction may result in loss of driving privileges, possible jail time, heavy fines, hours of unpaid community service work, legal expenses, cost of counseling, and may affect ongoing education or future employability.

Don’t leave your brain at school. Common sense and some pre-planning can ensure a fun and safe break from the schoolwork grind. Those who manage their alcohol intake rather than letting it manage them, know this and use these tricks to party safely, slow their alcohol intake, and act responsibly:

1. Select your designated driver before heading out. Show your appreciation by picking up the cost of parking, gas, or food and non-alcoholic beverages, if you can afford it. Other ways to show your appreciation are detailing the driver’s car afterward or volunteering to be the designated driver for the next time. A simple thank you on a social media website costs nothing and is always appreciated.
2. Designated drivers can sometimes prove unreliable. No matter how much you trust your DD, make sure you have a back up plan, such as writing down the number of a taxi company before heading out for your celebration. As a last resort, those who are too inebriated to drive during the holidays and have no other way to get home safely, should contact a reliable towing service, such as the AAA/Budweiser Light Beer Tow-to-Go program, who will transport the driver (whether member or non-member), a second person, and their car to their home free of charge, within a ten mile radius.
3. While food helps the body absorb alcohol, thus slowing the process, it does not prevent inebriation. Smart Spring Breakers know that food is only one part of the equation.
4. Be slow to start drinking and quick to stop. Responsible adult drinkers set a cut-off point and adhere to it.
5. Sip your drink slowly. Go light on the portions.
6. Alternate alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic drinks.

Drunk driving accidents can result in catastrophic injuries or disfigurement than can last a lifetime. If you caused an accident or injury to an innocent passenger, bystander, other driver, or pedestrian, your rights and interests need to be protected. Don’t trust this important task to an untried lawyer. Lisa Wells, Cobb County DUI defense attorney, has the experience and skill you need.

An Atlanta Drunk Driving Lawyer Urges Those Involved in an Accident to Call Her Office Before Speaking to Others

Too often, a drunk driving accident ends up in wrongful death charges, altering the lives of everyone involved in the accident, as well as their families. When you’ve been charged with DUI injury to others, call an experienced Atlanta drunk driving lawyer before talking with anyone about the accident. How you answer may affect final settlement. No one sets out on a Spring Break week to be involved in a drunk driving accident, but if charges are filed or catastrophic injury occurs, an impaired driving attorney will work hard to protect your rights and interests.

Best Friends Forever? Make it last by doing what you can to keep yourself and your friends safe from the dangers of alcohol, but when you need an experienced Cobb County DUI lawyer, contact criminal defense attorney Lisa Wells for the best in legal representation involving DUI charges.

False Imprisonment is a Violation of Your 4th Amendment Rights

In the State of Georgia, the law dealing with false imprisonment has been changed so that those who are falsely imprisoned may now hold the business or person responsible for violation of their constitutional rights. False imprisonment includes the arrest, confinement or detainment of a person without legal authority.

Georgia False Imprisonment Charges May be Made Against Anyone

False imprisonment charges can be made against anyone who illegally detains or confines you. The person being charged does not have to be a police or security officer. The law applies to anyone who stops or detains you, including a business owner, a debt collector, an employee at a public or private business, a grocery store manager or even a taxi cab driver. While a police officer may make a false arrest for DUI or theft and confine you in a holding cell, a business owner may confine you in an office against your will.

Time Limit Restrictions for Atlanta False Imprisonment Charges

According to Black’s Law Dictionary Atlanta’s false imprisonment or false arrest charges have a limited time frame in which to file a claim or forfeit their right to any type of compensation or award. The false imprisonment charge is generally made against the specific person or people that illegally detained you. In a false arrest or imprisonment charge the typical conclusion results in monetary compensation.

Gathering Evidence Quickly is Critical to Prove False Arrest

In any false arrest or imprisonment claim retaining an Atlanta false arrest attorney immediately is necessary to successfully make the charge stand up under legal scrutiny. Evidence and witness statements need to be found or discovered to back up your claim. With changes in Georgia law the accuser or the one who falsely detained you must prove reasonable cause and proper behavior for their actions.

The authority or person who falsely imprisoned you does have the right to briefly detain you, however they do not have the right to physically detain you, threaten you with harm or public embarrassment, subject you to emotional distress, confine you or refuse to call the local authorities who would have precedence in that matter. Acting quickly to retain a well qualified Atlanta criminal lawyer in false arrest cases increases the ability to find and gather needed evidence to prove your claim.

Criteria for Legal Georgia Arrest and Imprisonment

An experienced criminal attorney knows how to prepare for a case where compensation for violation of your 4th amendment rights has occurred. Evaluating the evidence for a legal detainment or false arrest includes whether the accuser personally observed you take an item and leave the store without paying for it. The person detaining you must have personally seen you take the item or used store security cameras to “catch” you in the act; you cannot be detained because you are suspected of theft or other crime.

When you are charged with DUI specific criteria must be followed or the case can be dismissed in court. False imprisonment can be made for theft, DUI, violence, damage to property, use of illegal substances and the like. All detainments need evidence to be supplied or a false imprisonment charge can be made.

Atlanta False Imprisonment Attorney

In the State of Georgia, false arrest and imprisonment is a criminal offense. If you have been falsely accused of a crime and feel your rights have been violated, call the expert in Atlanta false arrest – Make your first call to Lisa Wells, the Georgia false imprisonment attorney with a long history of successful criminal litigation and compensation awards.

Cobb County BUI Levels Must be Calculated Scientifically

Jury Finds that Cobb County BUI Levels Must be Calculated Scientifically

After acquittal of eight counts of Homicide by Boat due to Boating Under the Influence (BUI), the lead defense attorney for Paul J. Bennett commented that “retrograde extrapolation has not been widely accepted”. He was referring to the weaknesses in the State’s method of calculating blood alcohol concentration (BAC) after the fact.

When Paul Bennett’s fishing boat collided with the Prince family’s pontoon on Lake Lanier in Cobb County last June, charges of BUI, reckless operation of a vessel, failure to render aid, and eight counts of homicide by vessel quickly followed. At the time of the accident, the legal BAC for boating was 0.10, higher than the State’s 0.08 legal limit for driving on roadways.

The Lake Lanier accident led to legislature known as the “Jake and Griffin Prince BUI Law” named for the young brothers killed in the horrific crash. The law lowers the blood alcohol levels for boating to match that of other motor vehicle operators.

A major point of contention was the State’s calculation of Mr. Bennett’s BAC at the moment of impact because of the delayed timing of the test itself. The State calculated backward, based on the reading taken much later. The defense argued that the State’s ex-post-facto assessment (after the fact estimate) of Mr. Bennett’s BAC levels was flawed, since height, weight, and other factors, such as medical conditions and metabolism rates, could create enough variable to render questionable results. Therefore, while there certainly was some alcohol impairment, the State was unable to accurately prove that Mr. Bennett’s BAC was greater than 0.10 at the time of the accident.

The jury agreed, convicting Mr. Bennett on lesser charges, resulting in a sentence of 2 ½ years in prison with 18 months probation.

Charged With BUI in Georgia? An Skilled Atlanta Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help to Minimize Charges/Punishment

If charged with BUI or other serious crime in Georgia, contact an Atlanta criminal defense attorney right away. Without an experienced, skilled BUI attorney, boaters charged with crimes involving impairment while operating a vessel may face severe consequences. When choosing the best lawyer for defense representation, look for someone who is not only qualified, but also fully experienced in defending similar cases. Don’t wait. Retaining the right legal counsel and allowing your team time to research your case is in your best interest. Hiring a Georgia criminal defense lawyer who has a proven record of successfully representing clients in impairment cases may result in reduced or dropped charges. Georgia’s BUI laws are strict and punishment may have lifelong consequences. Taking early action is key to minimizing charges.