Criminal Defense Frequently Asked Questions

I Was Arrested for DUI, What Happens Next?

First, you need to take immediate steps to protect your privilege to drive and begin the fight against the Administrative License Suspension Process. Next, at some point in the near future, you will receive a summons to your first court appearance. At this appearance, you will want to have an attorney by your side to guide you through the process and ensure you get the best result possible.

What Is the Implied Consent Law?

The Georgia implied consent law means that you must consent to a DUI test, such as a breathalyzer, when pulled over. While the law indicates that this should be voluntary, an individual can still face penalties for refusing such a test.

Does My License Get Suspended When I Get a DUI?

In short, yes. But there are steps we can take, so that you may be able to keep your privilege to drive.

What Are the Different Types of DUI Charges, and What Do They Mean?

DUI Per Se:
“Over the limit, under arrest.” A slogan on billboards all over the state. This charge must be supported by a Chemical Test of your Breath, Blood, Urine, or Other Bodily Substance, which evidences your BAC at a level of 0.08 or higher.

DUI Less Safe:
A DUI less safe is a combination of physical evidence gathered by and the circumstantial evidence observed by the arresting officer provides enough evidence to charge you , and potentially convict you of DUI Less Safe. The types of evidence relied upon to support a charge of DUI Less Safe includes the manner of driving, speech patterns, your physical appearance, the odor of alcohol, presence of open containers within the vehicle, admissions by you, and results of the field sobriety tests. No chemical tests are required for a DUI less safe. 

DUI Less Safe (Drugs):
This charge can be supported by both circumstantial and physical evidence, such as those described in both DUI Per Se and DUI Less Safe, but ultimately the defendant has been charged with driving while under the influence of a substance other than alcohol.
This can include controlled or illicit substances, prescription medicines/drugs, some over-the-counter medications, and other substances that are not considered controlled substances.

Underage DUI:
If you are under the age of 21 0.02 BAC is the limit for a Per Se DUI. If you are charged with an Underage DUI this can have serious effects on your future and even your present. Many colleges and universities will suspend or even expel a student for a DUI or a charge for Minor in Possession of Alcohol.

Can You Get a CDL with a DUI?

If you are wanting to get a commercial driver’s license, there are certain offenses and felonies that can disqualify you. 

If you already have a CDL and receive a DUI, your license will be suspended for a year. If you receive a second DUI than you face a lifetime revocation of your commercial license. 

Can a DUI Be Dropped to a Lesser Charge?

Technically, yes if a plea bargain is made to reduce the charges to reckless driving. However, it’s best to consult with an attorney to determine if such an option is right for you.

Can a Passenger Drink in a Car?

No. It is illegal for any passengers to drink alcohol while the vehicle is on the road or off on the shoulder. This also pertains to passengers or drivers who have an unsealed bottle of alcohol inside the car. The penalty for an open container charge is a fine of up to $200 and 2 points on the individual’s license.

What Is the Difference between a Felony and a Misdemeanor?

Felonies are typically crimes of a more serious nature and come with more severe penalties. Whereas a misdemeanor may constitute being charged with a minor or less serious offense, with lesser penalties. Regardless, the punishments may vary depending on the type and severity of crime committed.

What Happens If I Was Not Read My Miranda Rights?

If you were arrested, and not read your Miranda Rights, then any statements made while in custody and during questioning, will potentially not be admissible in court. However, in cases where an individual is not in custody, such rights are not required to be read. 

Additionally, in Georgia, not all DUI stops and arrests require the reading of Miranda Rights. That’s why it’s imperative you speak with a lawyer. 

Do You Have to Provide ID to Police?

While you have the right to remain silent when talking to police you must provide your identification to the officer if you are driving. You’ll also need to provide proof of insurance and your car registration. 

What Does It Mean to Plead No Contest?

Pleading no contest (also referred to as “nolo contendere pleas”) means that a defendant doesn’t formally provide an admission of guilt, nor do they dispute the charges. This differs from pleading not guilty, where a defendant denies any guilt of the criminal charges. 

According to Georgia code §17-7-95, nolo pleas can be entered for misdemeanor and felony charges, but not capital felony charges. However, it’s important to note that it is up to the judge whether just a plea is approved and admissible. That’s why it’s crucial you consult with an attorney for your defense following criminal charges.

What Is an Arraignment?

An arraignment is a hearing where the prosecutor declares the charges against the defendant and the defendant enters their plea. It’s best to already have a criminal defense lawyer before arraignment. 

Can You Go to Jail at an Arraignment in Virginia?

It is possible to be taken into custody at an arraignment in Virginia, but it is not a common occurrence. An arraignment is a court proceeding at which a criminal defendant is formally charged with a crime and asked to enter a plea. 

  • If the defendant pleads guilty or no contest to the charge, the judge may sentence them at the same hearing. 
  • If the defendant pleads not guilty, the judge will usually set a date for a trial.

In some cases, a judge may decide to detain a defendant at an arraignment if they believe that the defendant is a flight risk or poses a danger to the community. This is more likely to happen if the defendant is charged with a serious crime, or if they have a history of failing to appear in court or violating the terms of their release. In such cases, the judge may order the defendant to be taken into custody until their trial.

It is important to note that an arraignment is just one step in the criminal justice process. If you are facing criminal charges in Virginia, it is important to seek legal representation as soon as possible to protect your rights and help you navigate the legal process.

Is Domestic Violence a Felony?

Not necessarily. The laws surrounding domestic violence can vary by state and the circumstances involved in the case. In Georgia, most simple assault and battery charges are misdemeanors, while aggravated battery or assault could be charged as a felony. The penalties may also change depending on whether it is a first or second offense.

Do Domestic Violence Cases Get Dismissed?

Yes, domestic violence cases can get dismissed. Not having enough evidence or a history of making false accusations are possible reasons it can get dismissed. 

What Constitutes an Illegal Search and Seizure?

An unlaw search and seizure can occur if there is no warrant, a lack of probable cause, or the warrant is illegal or invalid. According to Georgia code § 17-5-30, if evidence was obtained illegally through a search and seizure you can petition a “motion to suppress”.

Note: Some searches and seizures can be performed without a warrant. For example, if drugs are visible or in “plain view” then law enforcement can seize it. To better understand your rights, contact the criminal defense lawyer from The Law Office of Kurtis C. Bronston, LLC

What Is Probable Cause?

Probable cause essentially means that there are justifiable grounds for arresting, charging, and searching or seizing property. These grounds are typically influenced by evidence or facts law enforcement has surrounding a crime and are cause for a warrant.

This is different from reasonable suspicion, which occurs when police have reason to believe that a crime is, has been, or will be perpetrated.

Do You Have to Let the Police Search Your Car?

No! You have the right to refuse officers a search of your car. However, if police have a warrant, probable cause, or you’ve been arrested and the search is related to that offense, they may be able to search your vehicle without consent.

Have a case? Contact our Savannah lawyer today to schedule a consultation

  • Supreme Court of Georgia
  • Georgia Court of Appeals
  • US District Court for the Southern District of Georgia

Dedicated Savannah Criminal Defense Attorney Who Genuinely Enjoys Helping People

When you work with Attorney Kurtis C. Bronston on your legal issue, you can expect the informed and knowledgeable guidance of an experienced leader. With a variety of legal experience in the DA’s office, as a prosecutor, and experience training other prosecutors and law enforcement officers, Savannah Attorney Bronston is well-prepared to handle your case. 

Offering Experienced Legal Representation

During his time as a prosecutor he has tried several jury and bench trials while handling over 1,000 DUI's, several hundred domestic violence cases, and hundreds of complex drug cases. Every case is unique, and Attorney Bronston will develop personalized strategies for each situation. Our Savannah lawyer will orient your case based on your goals, and will take an educational approach to inform you of your situation every step of the way so you can feel confident about your choices.

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