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DUI Charges: What You Need To Know

A large percentage of attorney William D. Healan III’s practice is devoted to the field of DUI defense. This is an especially complicated and changing area of the law that takes years of practice to master. Mr. Healan is a member of the Georgia D.O.D.D. (Defenders of Drinking Drivers) group. This group consists of a handful of the most experienced DUI lawyers in Georgia. Its members have regular meetings and use a computer list server to share information and ideas. Thus, D.O.D.D. members are always ready with cutting-edge strategies and defenses in DUI cases.

Mr. Healan has tried numerous DUI cases in front of juries. He regularly uses expert testimony to discredit field sobriety testing as well as breath and blood test results. Through the use of expert witnesses, Mr. Healan has had many jury acquittals in cases where a test indicated that his client was over the legal limit. His strategies in DUI cases are often new and innovative. There are multiple reported decisions in the Georgia Supreme Court and Court of Appeals addressing arguments by Mr. Healan that had never been made by another attorney. In two cases, King v. State and Cooper v. State, the Georgia Supreme Court declared Georgia laws unconstitutional after Mr. Healan had challenged these laws.

Useful Information If You Have Been Arrested

Thirty-day letter: The law has changed, and you now have 30 days instead of 10 from the date of your arrest to address a potential driver’s license suspension. If you have been arrested for DUI and either refused blood, breath or urine testing or submitted to testing and tested above the limit, your license can be administratively suspended even before you are convicted of DUI. To challenge this suspension, you must submit a letter to the Georgia Department of Driver Services within 30 calendar days of arrest. As of 2010, the state of Georgia charges a $150 fee to file these letters. Healan Law Offices, P.C., will give you one of these letters FOR FREE if you come in for a FREE consultation with Mr. Healan. (You will still have to send the filing fee with the letter.) At this consultation, Mr. Healan will discuss your case and review incident reports, breath test printouts, and any other information that you bring to give you an idea of your chances of contesting your charge.

Ignition interlock device: If you are facing an administrative suspension for refusing testing or testing above the limit, you now have the option of obtaining a limited permit by agreeing to have an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle instead of sending the 30-day letter. You must make this election within 30 days of arrest. This option does not make sense for everyone, and you should consult with an attorney immediately after your DUI arrest to make sure you are aware of all the risks and benefits.

Chemical testing: Georgia law enforcement has recently changed from the Intoxilyzer 5000 breath machine to the Intoxilyzer 9000. All breath testing right now is subject to challenge, as the law is constantly changing due to appellate court decisions. In February 2019, the Georgia Supreme Court decided Elliott v. State, which held that the refusal to take a breath test cannot be admitted into evidence in a DUI trial. This decision will have a far-reaching impact, leading to arguments that Georgia’s implied consent warning is misleading and therefore blood, breath and urine tests are also inadmissible. Thus, there are many avenues to attack breath tests in particular but also possibly blood and urine tests. If your test result was fairly close to the legal limit, your case is generally defendable simply because the machine is subject to a margin of error. Furthermore, there are often mistakes made by the officer administering the test, which can be used to discredit the machine. Other times, the breath machine just doesn’t work properly. The fact that you have tested above the limit does not mean that you will automatically be convicted of DUI if your lawyer knows how to challenge the breath machine or blood and urine testing.

We Are Ready To Listen; Call Today

There are many DUI attorneys; however, Mr. Healan is highly experienced in this area of law. Healan Law Offices, P.C., provides services across northern Georgia. Fill out our contact form or call our office at 678-661-3318 today.