Scenario: Arresting officer states that the accused has had his or her driver’s license suspended. Accused has not yet gone to trial or even had a hearing. The accused is confused.
What is not made known is whether or not the accused took or refused a breathalyzer or chemical blood alcohol content (BAC) test. If the accused did refuse, it is likely that this decision has caused Georgia’s (GA) DMV to suspend the license. Georgia has an “implied consent” law. This is the law that provides for the text in the driver’s license application that states that the applicant, by signing the application, consents to being tested for BAC at a legitimate police stop or lose one’s driver’s license for one year. This is even before the trial. The accused can contest this but must file within 10 days of the ticket being given, and the accused must now pay a filing fee. The fee is an attempt to cut down on frivolous filings. That the arresting officer made that statement suggests that the accused refused the test, or took the test and the result is clear positive. It could also be a ploy to have the accused plead guilty or no contest at the upcoming hearing. If the accused pleads not guilty then a trial will likely occur. It is also unclear whether or not the accused was given a ticket, often a pink ticket, on which is the statement that the accused has had his or her driver’s license suspended and the pink ticket is a permissions slip to drive until the accused’s hearing. If the accused is found guilty of DUI in GA, the following penalties apply:
- a possible jail sentence of one year;
- a fine that you receive will be from $300 minimum to $1,000;
- driver’s license will be suspended for up to one year;
- receive 40 hours of mandatory community service;
- to have one’s driver’s license reinstated will require a $210 reinstatement fee;
- drivers that are under 21 must wait to get their graduated driver’s license for 12 months;
Another point that several experts made is that there is no allowance for a plea bargain for a conviction of “wet reckless”. “Wet reckless” means reckless driving involving alcohol. It is barred by law in GA. A good experienced lawyer is a key tool in the accused’s repertoire as well as the accused keeping his or her mouth in check. It was well noted in people’s relating of their experiences that there is rarely any statement by the police as to what the accused’s BAC actually was. It does not even come up at the arraignment hearing unless there is some reason that the defense lawyer wants to contend it there. When the case comes to trial the accused will learn everything about his or her arrest from the arresting officer’s point of view. The only way that the accused has a chance of keeping his or her license at this point is to be acquitted. Some experts believe that the situation also needs to have the judge state that the police stop did not have proper basis, meaning that the stop was illegal. This would mean that the breathalyzer test was not evidential.