Drunk Driving Arrests Per Year in Georgia and Process

Each year, people of all ages and walks of life are arrested for violating Georgia’s DUI laws. Often times, these people are law-abiding citizens who merely had too much to drink and made the unfortunate decision to drive a car. A DUI arrest can impact your life for many years to come. This is especially so if you are convicted of drunk-driving. Many times people who are arrested for drunk-driving have a clean criminal record. In any event, it’s important for anyone charged with drunk-driving to understand the legal process as it relates to DUI arrests.

Traffic Stop

In order to arrest you for DUI, a police officer must have a valid reason to pull you over for a traffic stop. If you’ve been drinking, the chances are that your driving will be erratic or you will violate one of Georgia’s traffic laws. If you’re pulled over for a traffic stop and the police officer suspects that you’ve been drinking, you may be asked to perform field sobriety tests such as the walk and turn test, the one-legged stand test or the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test. You may also be asked to take a breathalyzer test.

Arrest

If a police officer is able to establish probable cause that you’ve been driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs during a traffic stop, you can be arrested and charged with violating Georgia’s DUI laws. You will be arrested at the scene of your traffic stop and transported to your local jail in the back of the police officer’s car. You will be photographed, fingerprinted and interrogated at the jail.

Arraignment, Preliminary Hearing and Trial

The legal process for a DUI arrest has three primary components. At the arraignment hearing, the charges will be read aloud in open court and you will be asked to respond with either a “guilty” or a “not guilty” plea. At the preliminary hearing, the prosecuting attorney will present the evidence against you, and a judge will decide if there is sufficient evidence to take your case to trial. After the preliminary hearing but before the trial of your case, you will have the opportunity to enter a negotiated guilty plea. If you decline to enter a guilty plea, you case will go to trial.