Getting arrested for DUI can be a very stressful situation. Very often, individuals arrested for DUI have had no previous contact with the judicial system. But, even before getting to court, there are certain steps to take right away. Here are few steps to take after being arrested for DUI:
1. Keep A Copy of All Of Your Paperwork:
– CITATIONS: Uniformed Traffic Citations are used by all arresting agencies throughout Georgia. The citations received from the officer contains a vast amount of information pertaining the DUI charge and any other traffic violation you may be charged with. Often, individuals charged with DUI will have multiple citations. These citations can include other alleged traffic violations such as: speeding, failure to maintain lane, improper lane change, etc.. The citation should include the name of the arresting agency, the name of the arresting officer, the charges the officer has taken against you and the relevant dates and times pertaining to the incident. Additionally, towards the bottom of your citation may list your first court date and the location of the court.
– DS 1205 – In Georgia, when you’re arrested for DUI you likely have a criminal case pertaining to the citations issued by the officer and a civil case pertaining to your driver’s license. After a DUI arrest, police officers are trained to seize your driver’s license and complete a DS-1205 form. A DS-1205 form is essentially a petition to the Department of Driver Services to suspend your license. On the back of the form, you’ll see the process to appeal any suspensions. The form is often yellow or on glossy printer paper. Keeping a form on your person while driving is important to avoid any confusion should you get pulled over while your appeal is pending.
– See information about the appeal process below.
– COURT DATE – Occasionally, the jail will draft a separate form detailing your first court date, the time of the court date, and the address of the courthouse. It’s important to keep a copy of this form. It’s also a good idea to make copies or take pictures with your phone so that you have a backup.
– BONDING INFORMATION – Some people pay the entire bond with cash or debit. It’s important to keep a receipt of the payment so that you can have the funds refunded to you at the close of your case. Some jurisdictions will not return funds paid unless you have the receipt. Additionally, the person who actually paid the bond is usually required to apply for the refund, not the person arrested.
2. Appeal License Suspension Within 30-days Of Your Arrest
– As mentioned above, the police officer will likely submit a DS-1205 form to the Department of Driver Service’s to suspend your driver’s license. The type of suspension and the length of the suspension depends on whether the driver refused or consented to take the State administered test of their breath/blood/or urine. Submitting a timely appeal will stop any immediate suspensions and your case will be scheduled for an Administrative License Suspension hearing. At that hearing, there will be an opportunity to reach a resolution short of a license suspension or have an evidentiary hearing where an administrative judge will determine if a suspension is authorized under Georgia law.
– For some drivers, there is an option to seek an ignition interlock permit, instead of going through the traditional appeal process. The ignition interlock permit requires the driver to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle and obtain the appropriate limited permit from the Department of Driver Services. There are benefits and disadvantages to taking this option that a lawyer can help explain.
3. Save Any Court Dates
– Saving your court date in a safe place is probably the most important step you should take. You want to make sure that you are on-time for court, dressed appropriately, and attentive. Missing a court date can result in the Judge issuing a warrant for your arrest, a license suspension, and having the bond you previously paid revoked.
Additionally, your case will not proceed or go away by skipping court. We always suggest saving your court date in several different places. Set reminders so that you don’t forget. Even tell a trusted friend or family member to remind you in advance of your court date so that you can take appropriate steps to take time off-of work or school.
4. Prepare For Your First Court Date
– Knowledge is power. Understanding the charges pending against you and knowing the legal process moving forward can be helpful in managing the stress of a DUI arrest. While it’s a good idea to get an overview by reviewing legal websites or news articles, it’s best to consult with a lawyer prior to court so that you have an idea of what you’re looking at.
– What should you wear to court? You also want to make sure that you’re dressed appropriately for court before appearing. While some people will wear the nicest clothes they have, others will come in gym shorts and a tank-top. Don’t be the gym shorts and tank-top guy. Business casual is generally appropriate attire for court. The Judges and their staff notice everyone who walks in the courtroom. It’s best to make a good first impression by dressing appropriately for court.
5. Contact a Lawyer
– A lawyer can assist in all of the steps listed above. In many cases, the lawyer can handle several of the steps without you having to do anything. The benefits to having a lawyer on a DUI case far outweigh an perceived disadvantages. Having a lawyer on your case can help with recognizing legal issues, navigating your license state, and even preventing or limiting time in jail.
Everyone’s case is different. It’s important to note that just because someone else’s case worked out in a certain way doesn’t mean it will be the same for you. A lawyer can assist in analyzing the facts of your case to put you in the very best possible position. We encourage everyone to discuss your case with a lawyer.
– Your comfort level with your lawyer is critical. Ask questions like:
o How long have you been practicing?
o Do you handle a lot of DUI cases?
o Do you go to this jurisdiction often?
Your lawyer is someone that is going to be helping you with your case and will have your best interest in mind. It’s important to be open and honest with whoever it is you decide to represent you.
is an Atlanta based criminal defense firm handling cases throughout Georgia. Our office offers free consultations to all individuals charged with a crime in the State of Georgia. We strive to use our experience to assist in fighting our client’s cases.