If you’ve been arrested for DUI in Georgia, Mo Wiltshire
is your attorney. With over 20 years experience on both sides of the prosecution/defense line, including several years serving as Assistant District Attorney and as Solicitor-General for Athens, Ga., Mo Wiltshire is more than a little familiar with the law and how the legal system works. As a prestigious DUI attorney in Athens
, Mo Wiltshire is one of the very few Georgia lawyers to have been nationally ranked as Superb, or a perfect 10, by Avvo.com.
Mo Wiltshire is also rated as possessing “Very High Ethical Standards” by Martindale-Hubbell the peer review attorney ethics rating guide. Mo is ranked as a “Top 10 Defense Attorney” in the State of Georgia by The National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys. Mo was also selected as one of the “Top 100 Criminal Defense Lawyers” in the State of Georgia by The American Society of Legal Advocates and as a “Top 100 Trial Lawyer” in the area of Criminal Defense by the National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 Lawyers group. Mo has also been recognized as one of the top DUI Defense Attorneys in the state by the National Advocacy for DUI Defense. Mo Wiltshire was selected for a “Client’s Choice Award” in 2013 as a result of outstanding client service.
Loss of your driver’s license and the “Ten Day Rule”.
Mandatory jail time and lengthy probation time.
Mandatory substance abuse evaluation, and mandatory treatment if recommended.
Heavy fines, surcharges, and probation fees in addition to drastically increased insurance costs.
Loss of job/career/future employment opportunities and loss of peace of mind and prestige.
Are you looking for the best lawyer available to help you with your case… a lawyer who really can help you? You need to ask any lawyer you are considering some tough questions.
Your attorney must have a long history of securing favorable results for many hundreds of clients in Georgia courtrooms, and to maximize your chance to achieve a favorable outcome in your case, the lawyer needs to be a former DUI prosecuting attorney with prosecution experience in the exact type of case you are facing.
When you meet Mo Wiltshire you will know that he is the right attorney for you.
As a former prosecutor, and the former Solicitor-General for Athens in charge of all DUI prosecution Mo Wiltshire occupies a unique position with regard to understanding DUI prosecution and defense. Not only did he prosecute DUI’s personally, he supervised a whole office of prosecuting attorney’s and mentored them as they evaluated, prepared and prosecuted each DUI case. Since he knows exactly how the prosecution works, he can exploit any weaknesses in DUI cases and use those weaknesses to your benefit.
To make matters more complex, Georgia DUI laws are constantly changing. Penalties are getting more harsh. While the legal blood alcohol content, or BAC, was once 0.15, today it has decreased to 0.08. Additionally, DUI laws do not apply to clear cases of drunk driving only. You can be arrested for DUI if:
It is important to note that, except in cases where above-limit BACs are clearly and legally established, conditions can be subjective. It is not illegal, for instance, to have prescription pain killers in your system and operate a vehicle, provided that you do indeed have a prescription. However, it is illegal to do so if you are under the influence to the extent that driving is less safe. In many situations, whether or not you were less safe is determined entirely by a jury.
Repercussions of Georgia DUI Convictions
A DUI charge is quite serious, make no mistake. Even first time offenders can face steep penalties and repeat offenders, steeper still. It is vital that you retain qualified legal representation quickly, as soon as you are charged with DUI. The first few days after an arrest are the most crucial, and failure to comply with the proper legal procedures could result in severe consequences.
If convicted for DUI in Georgia, you could face a number of penalties depending upon your record and the evidence against you. These may well include:
If you are convicted and placed on probation, there will be a list of probationary requirements that you must follow in order to successfully complete your sentence. Failure to comply with just one of these requirements could prolong your probation or deepen the severity of your sentence, and ignorance of the requirement will be no justification.
DUI convictions have lasting effects beyond the sentence of the court. It will follow you around for the rest of your life as part of your permanent criminal record. It can make it exceedingly difficult, and sometimes impossible, to get certain jobs. If there is any hope of keeping a conviction off your record, it is definitely worth trying.
It is just as important to understand your rights as it is to understand what the law is. If you are wrongfully arrested or any of your rights are violated, the court must dismiss all charges against you as they pertain to those rights.
In order to be a lawful arrest, a police officer must have a justifiable reason for pulling you over in the first place. In other words, the officer must have seen you break a law or have probable cause to believe that a law is in the process of being broken. If there was no legal justification for pulling you over, you cannot be convicted of DUI, even if you were over the legal limit. The only exception to this is in the event of a sobriety checkpoint where all drivers are screened for intoxication.
You have the right to deny a search of your vehicle unless you have been formally arrested. If you do not explicitly grant permission for a search and have not been arrested at the time the search takes place, any evidence gained from the search will be inadmissible in court.
You have the right not to incriminate yourself. You do not have to answer any questions that you do not want to answer, or don’t feel the officer has a right to ask. Furthermore, you cannot be legally arrested for refusal to talk alone; there must be other evidence present that a crime has been committed.
You are not required to submit to a breathalyzer test, although failing to do so upon request usually will not end in your favor. Field sobriety tests must be administered properly in order to be admissible in court.
You have the right to know what your rights are. If you are not adequately informed of your rights at the time of your arrest, the arrest may be found to be illegal and your case will be dismissed.
You have the right to contest any charges that are brought against you. If you feel for any reason that you are not guilty of DUI, it is imperative that you challenge the charge sooner rather than later. Your DUI attorney can help you with this process. You may be able to avoid suspension of your license or other penalties until such time as a hearing takes place, but only if you act quickly after your arrest.
The Social Stigma of DUI in Georgia
Because drunk driving claims the lives of so many every year, there is an extreme social stigma attached to DUI. Part of the reason why DUI laws have become so strict is because of organizations such as MADD. While trying to reduce the number of drunk drivers on the road is a very noble cause, and something that should be done, it has made DUI synonymous with drunk driving and drunk driving only.
For anyone arrested for DUI who was not actually driving drunk, the societal pressure for harsh consequences can be overwhelming. Law demands that individuals are treated as innocent until proven guilty, but for those facing DUI charges, it rarely feels that way.
It is possible to successfully defend a DUI case, however, no matter what the circumstances are. It is rarely possible to do it alone. That is why it is so very important to retain a DUI attorney specializing in criminal and DUI law. It’s even better if you can find one who has worked on the prosecution side and understands how prosecutors think.
Defending a DUI in Georgia
Depending on the circumstances surrounding the event, a skilled DUI attorneymay defend a case in any number of ways. A few of them may include:
It is possible to display these signs without being intoxicated. For example, a person with allergies might exhibit red or bloodshot eyes. Someone who is very tired may slur his or her speech. Someone with a medical problem or recent foot injury may stumble when walking. Simply being nervous or frustrated by being pulled over could cause suspicious behavior.
There are any number of innocent causes for any one of these signs. Even the odor of alcohol alone is not justification enough for a DUI conviction. Having one drink a few hours before driving does not necessarily equate to intoxication. Being the victim of another person’s accidental drink spill certainly does not.
It is possible to finish a drink, drive immediately afterward, and not be intoxicated at the time of driving. It is also possible to not qualify as intoxicated at the time of driving, but to have a BAC over the legal limit at the time the test is given. This is called BAC on the rise.
To be clear, a person’s BAC must be over the legal limit at the time of driving in order to qualify as a DUI. If your attorney can prove that the BAC was higher at the time of testing, which can take place significantly later than the time of being pulled over, than it was when the person was actually in control of the vehicle, the case may be defeated.
For example, BAC results may be inadmissible if the machine was not calibrated properly or was in known need of maintenance at the time of use. Even if the results of a blood test were accurate, they may not be used if a blood sample did not conform to the proper chain of custody or if there are defects in the testing and handling of the sample.
Other factors might include if your personal breath temperature is not within the normal range of temperatures. This could cause a functioning machine to reject a sample. Someone who is on a low-carb diet could have inaccurately high BAC results as well.
Mental alertness will decrease before physical impairment occurs. If an arresting officer testifies that the defendant was able to follow standard procedure for pulling over, carry on a conversation normally, and follow all instructions put to him or her, then an attorney can argue that the physical symptoms were the cause of something other than intoxication.
To start, speeding is not a sign of DUI. Furthermore, the vast majority of traffic violations are committed by people who are perfectly sober. To use this defense, it’s important to establish that the driving pattern prior to and after the person being pulled over was otherwise unremarkable.
A lawyer will need the testimony of the arresting officer for this. If the officer will agree that the driving was within normal expectations up until such time as the vehicle swerved or committed whatever other suspicious act, then the attorney can discredit the idea of intoxication, so long as no other incriminating evidence exists.
This is not, of course, an exhaustive list of all possible DUI cases, but only a small sample to illustrate why all DUIs are not automatically a lost cause. Even in cases that seem to be open and shut, it is well worth having a skilled DUI attorneyexamine all aspects of the case. The end result may still be conviction, but that will be the definite result if you fail to contest it at all.
The Effect of DUI Convictions on Friends and Family
DUIs are often very public, very embarrassing charges—not only for the defendant but also for that person’s friends and family. This is even more true for those who live in small communities and neighborhoods where everyone knows everyone else’s business.
School-aged children may be ridiculed by their classmates. Spouses may be eschewed and ostracized by their circle of friends. This goes back to the social stigma that accompanies DUI; it doesn’t matter what the circumstance were surrounding the case, only that there was a case.
In addition to social rejection, family members and friends of people convicted of DUI may be called upon for various tasks. For example, if a person loses his or her license, he or she will require transportation to get to and from work, probation appointments, and other obligations.
A DUI conviction is inconvenient and can be totally unfair to everyone connected to the case. Far too often, innocent people are ridiculed and judged for the actions of another. This alone is reason enough to retain the best DUI attorney you can find, even if you don’t care what happens to you personally—those you love also stand to lose something.
Why You Need a DUI Attorney
As you’ve probably inferred by now, to say that Georgia DUI law is complex is a great understatement of fact. DUI law is intricate and dynamic. Even some lawyers have a hard time keeping up with all of its aspects at times.
If it is challenging for lawyers to stay abreast of the law, then imagine what it would be like to face a DUI on your own. The outcome almost definitely would not be favorable. Considering all you’ve learned about the consequences of a DUI conviction, is that really a chance you’re willing to take?
A DUI chargedemands the expertise of a renowned DUI attorney. It demands the experience of someone who understands both sides of the law and how to make it work in your favor. It demands the skills and services of Mo Wiltshire, Attorney at Law. Don’t leave your DUI case to fate. Call Mo Wiltshire immediately and give yourself a fair chance at justice.
Georgia DUI Law
Many aws in Georgia pertain to DUI; including:
Administrative Georgia Code, Volume 1-State Court Benchbook– http://www.georgiacourts.org/councils/state/benchbook/State%20Court%20Benchbook/Chapters/1%20DUI.pdf
Wikipedia, “Driving Under the Influence”– http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Driving_under_the_influence
O.C.G.A. § 40-2-136– http://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/gacode/Default.asp
D-U-I.org, DUI Probation– http://www.d-u-i.org/duiprobation.html
Georgia Department of Driver Services– http://www.dds.ga.gov/faqs/index.aspx?faqcategoryid=13