Drug and alcohol-related DUI charges often bring with them serious consequences that affect all aspects of your life. If you were pulled over or arrested for driving under the influence of either drugs or alcohol, seek legal advice immediately. Your rights and freedom are at stake.
At Schnipper Law, P.C., we have extensive experience in a wide range of drug and alcohol-related cases, including DUI. Contact us today at (404) 545-5845 to learn about how can help you.
The Penalties for Drug and Alcohol-related DUI Charges
Obviously, possession or distribution of drugs carries serious penalties. But, did you know that simply driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can put you at risk of severe, long-lasting consequences? Potential penalties for drug and alcohol-related DUI charges may include:
- Losing your license. In Georgia, you can lose your license for up to one year for your first DUI offense and up to three years for your second DUI offense. By the time you reach your fourth DUI within a ten-year period, you may have your license revoked entirely. Not having your license can make it incredibly difficult to get to work, transport your children, and even take care of court-assigned tasks like meeting your probation officer or taking care of community service. If you have your license suspended as a result of your DUI or drug charges, you can request a driver’s license suspension hearing. At that hearing, you may receive a limited permit that will allow you to drive to take care of those important activities. Working with a lawyer, however, can help you more effectively limit the restrictions on that license if you qualify for one.
- Jail time. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can lead to substantial jail time. Jail time can derail the course of your life, resulting in job loss as well as time away from your family and loved ones.
- Fines and penalties. In addition to losing your freedom, a conviction for a drug or alcohol-related DUI can cost you lots of money in fines and court costs. These fines and penalties can add up fast, especially if you have drug charges on your record. You may need to install an ignition interlock on your vehicle that tests your BAC before allowing you to drive, which can add substantial expense.
- Losing your job or difficulty getting a job. Many employers will check your driving record and perform a background check before hiring you. In many cases, having a DUI conviction on your record, especially a conviction for driving under the influence of drugs, can decrease your odds of getting the job you want. In others, DUI charges may take you out of the running for the job entirely.
- Increases in your insurance premiums. In addition to other penalties associated with drug and alcohol-related DUI convictions, you may suffer substantial increases in your insurance premiums or struggle to get insurance coverage at all.
Defending Against Drug and Alcohol-related DUI Charges
At Schnipper Law, P.C., we have substantial experience building strong defenses against drug and alcohol-related DUI charges, and negotiating favorable resolutions to those charges with prosecutors. Sometimes, we are even able to get prosecutors to drop charges entirely, such as when we can demonstrate that our clients did not drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol, but instead suffered from:
- Anxiety: In many cases, the anxiety rising of getting pulled over and accused of drug or alcohol use can cause erratic behavior that the police mistake as signs of intoxication. A panic reaction, in particular, can lead to sharp behavior and rude responses even when the individual wants to cooperate.
- Sleep deprivation: Sleep deprivation symptoms often mimic the symptoms of drug or alcohol use. While sleep deprived, individuals may struggle to stay awake, drive erratically, and even engage in irrational or seemingly “drunk” behavior. Sleep deprivation may also leave sufferers struggling to explain themselves or to think rationally when they get pulled over.
- Depression and mental health problems: In many cases, depression can leave sufferers struggling to respond appropriately. They may appear disconnected to the world around them. Other mental health problems may manifest as hallucinations or struggle to control a vehicle in spite of no actual inebriation.
- Sickness: While driving under the influence of cold medications that cause adverse side effects can qualify as a DUI, driving-while-sick does not. Sick individuals may have slowed reaction times or fail to take in everything going on around them. They may suffer higher levels of distraction due to runny noses, sneezes, or dry or itchy eyes. The more ill a person is, the more they may struggle to drive normally.
In many cases, the prosecution will use blood or urine tests to help prove intoxication at the time of arrest. But, those tests are not always fool-proof. Sometimes, labs mishandle these tests or fail to properly maintain the chain of evidence. We have succeeded in having test results thrown out in some cases, and in others we have challenged their accuracy. Our highly qualified defense can help explain other reasons you might have displayed erratic driving behavior, which can help you to avoid some of the penalties associated with driving under the influence.
At Schnipper Law, P.C., we do not rely on the word of the arresting officer alone. Instead, we often conduct our own investigations into the allegations against you, including determining how the arresting officer administered the field sobriety test and whether the police maintained the right chain of evidence for your urine tests and other chemical analyses.
Are You Facing Charges of Driving Under the Influence in Atlanta? Call Schnipper Law, P.C.
Our experienced criminal attorneys will fight tooth and nail to protect your future, your freedom, your family, and your finances. While we cannot guarantee results for any of our clients, we have an extensive past history of successful resolutions for our clients.
Do you need an experienced attorney for drug or alcohol-related DUI charges in Atlanta? Contact us today at (404) 545-5845 or use our online contact form to schedule a free case and to discuss your legal options.