Posted by Jim Yeargan in Atlanta DUI Law on October 7, 2015
Georgia DUI Defense
The holiday season is here, and DUI arrests are again at an all-time high. Inevitably, many attorneys who do not specialize in DUI law will receive emergency phone calls from their clients who have recently been arrested for a DUI.
While the most important first step in handling a DUI case is to hire an attorney who specializes in DUI defense this article is geared toward the non-DUI attorney so they may properly advise their client until he can retain a DUI specialist to properly prepare his Georgia DUI defense.
Georgia DUI Defense: Protect Your License
Drivers arrested for DUI in Georgia, who are beginning their Georgia DUI defense, have 10 business days from the date of their arrest to file an appeal with the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS) to keep their license from being administratively suspended.
If this appeal is not filed within the proper time frame the driver’s license will be administratively suspended 31 days after the driver’s arrest. This applies to all drivers even if they are licensed in another state.
When calculating the 10 business days do not count the date of your client’s arrest, weekends, or federal holidays. The appeal letter only has to be postmarked within 10 business days; it does not have to be received by DDS within 10 business days. I highly recommend emailing the letter via certified mail with return receipt requested.
This provides proof that your client sent the letter.
The appeal letter needs to include your client’s name, date of birth, date of arrest, license number, mailing address, phone number, whether or not the client submitted to the state chemical test, and grounds for the appeal. Your client must also include a check for $150 made payable to the “State of Georgia Department of Driver Services” or his appeal will not be accepted.
It is very important to file this appeal within the given time frame. Once the initial appeal has been filed a DUI specialist may file an amended appeal laying out the grounds for appeal.
Georgia DUI Defense: Write Your Own Report
The police officer is going to create a police report stating what he observed. This is your client’s opportunity to create his own report, and to aid in his Georgia DUI defense. Your client needs to write down everything he can remember as soon as he can while the events are still fresh in his mind.
Have your client start with everything he did beginning the day of the arrest from the moment he woke up until he got home from jail.
The client should note the time he woke up, what he did at work, when and what he ate, any medications he took, who he was with prior to the arrest, their contact information, all interactions he recalls with the police, and what happened once he was at the jail. Have your client handwrite his report.
It is tempting to type the report because it is faster, but a handwritten account of what happened has more credibility than a laser printed page.
Have your client increase the credibility of this document by signing each page, and including the date and time with his signature. Make sure your client puts the original in a safe place and makes a digital backup as well.
Georgia DUI Defense: Preserve Evidence
Your client needs to preserve any evidence that tends to prove his innocence to help aid in his Georgia DUI defense. Such evidence may include a bar receipt showing he only had 2 drinks, or the names and phone numbers of people who were with him all evening who may testify he was not drinking.
This type of evidence disappears quickly or fades from people’s memories. It is important to preserve this evidence as soon as you can.
When dealing with bar receipts, and other documents, it is important to have the originals, but it is a very good idea to scan these documents onto your hard drive or take a photo and save them in your phone for safekeeping.
Georgia DUI Defense: Check Your PR
Many jurisdictions place the contact information, charges, and mugshots of DUI suspects online. Your client needs to be aware that a Google search of his name may bring this information to the first page of Google.
As if this wasn’t bad enough many extortion websites such as Mugshots.com will duplicate this information, and charge a fee (usually $500) to remove it.
Even though your client has not been convicted of the DUI the second he was fingerprinted at the jail the DUI charge went on his criminal history. If your client is looking for a job or is about to receive a promotion, you need to let him know he needs to be prepared to explain his arrest to potential employers and/or HR.
Georgia DUI Defense: Clean Up Your Social Media
It is important to let your client know he should not post anything about his arrest on Facebook, or other social media sites. Further, your client needs to check his social media accounts from the night of the arrest and remove any photos, tags, or check-ins that reference him partying and drinking.
More and more prosecutors are starting to check the defendant’s social media profiles to find evidence they can use in court. The last thing your client needs during a DUI trial is a photo of him partying, drinking, and checking in at bar after bar on the night of his arrest. Make sure your client sets all of his social media accounts to “private” so they cannot be viewed by the public. This will help in your client’s Georgia DUI defense.
DUI cases are some of the most challenging and difficult cases to handle in Georgia. People arrested for DUI need the expertise and knowledge of a well seasoned DUI specialist. When you receive the emergency DUI phone call you will serve your client well by sharing these tips with him and impressing upon him the importance of hiring an attorney who specializes in DUI Law to prepare your client’s Georgia DUI defense.