DUI

Can I Have My Georgia DUI Expunged?

A DUI conviction isn’t a good thing to have on your record. Therefore, it’s only natural for a person who has a DUI arrest or conviction on his or her record to want to have it removed. The removal of a DUI conviction or arrest from one’s record, also known as expungement, is a court-ordered process by which an arrest or criminal conviction is erased from a person’s record. Some states allow for the expungement of DUI convictions if certain conditions are met. In this article, we examine the issue of DUI expungement in Georgia. 

DUI Expungement in Georgia

Unfortunately, Georgia does not allow DUI expungement. If you get a DUI in Georgia, you face serious penalties. In addition, a DUI on your record can make it difficult for you to get a job, obtain certain loans, or even find adequate housing. 

DUI Expungement Alternative

If you are arrested for DUI in Georgia but aren’t convicted, you can apply for a record restriction. However, it’s important to keep in mind that a record restriction is not the same as expungement. Even after your record is restricted, your arrest may still be viewed by: 

  • Boards of realtors
  • Judges 
  • Nursing boards
  • State bars 
  • Medical boards
  • Prosecutors
  • Police officers

In addition, a record restriction doesn’t automatically occur when your Georgia DUI case is dismissed. Rather, your criminal record will reflect that your Georgia DUI case was dismissed.  In order to have your record restricted, you must apply with the state. However, the only way that the prosecution will consider restricting your record is if your DUI charge is completely dismissed. 

If your record restriction is successful, private businesses will not be able to see your DUI arrest.  However, police officers, prosecutors, and government agencies will still be able to see the offense. In fact, if you have a subsequent DUI arrest, the prosecution and the judge can use it against you during sentencing

The Bottom Line

If you take away anything from this article, it should be this: you should avoid a Georgia DUI conviction at all costs. You cannot expunge a Georgia DUI conviction from your record. In other words, a Georgia DUI conviction will follow you around for the rest of your life. Therefore, if you are facing a DUI charge in Georgia, you should contact a Georgia DUI attorney immediately for assistance.

Contact a Georgia criminal defense attorney

If you’re facing a DUI charge in the state of Georgia, you need an experienced Georgia criminal defense attorney in your corner. When you bring your DUI case to Carter Pilgrim Stroud, we’ll review your Georgia DUI case and formulate an effective legal strategy. Our attorneys are well known in Georgia for aggressively defending clients in the courtroom and obtaining favorable results at the negotiating table. So, if you’re facing a DUI charge in Georgia, please contact us today to schedule an initial consultation.  

accident scene

Is It Illegal to Leave the Scene of an Accident in Georgia?

If you leave the scene of an accident in Georgia, the consequences can be significant. In fact, in some situations, leaving the scene of an accident can result in jail time. Therefore, as a driver in Georgia, it’s important that you understand the consequences of leaving the scene of an accident. Below is an overview of what can happen if you leave the scene of an accident in Georgia. 

Collisions Involving Two Vehicles

In Georgia, it is illegal for a driver to leave the scene following a collision with another vehicle that results in vehicle damage or bodily injury. In this type of situation, a driver must remain at the scene and: 

  • provide his or her name, address, and registration to the other driver;
  • show the other driver his or her license upon request; 
  • offer help to anyone injured in the accident, including providing transportation to the hospital if necessary; and 
  • call for help if someone involved in the accident appears to be seriously injured.

Penalties 

There are serious consequences for leaving the scene of an accident that results in vehicle damage or bodily injury. Penalties include:

  • an automatic license suspension, 
  • a fine of up to $1000, and
  • up to 12 months in jail.

Collisions with Parked Vehicles

It is also illegal in Georgia to leave the scene after colliding with a parked vehicle. A driver who hits an empty, parked vehicle in Georgia must provide his or her name and address to the vehicle’s owner. In addition, if the driver doesn’t own the vehicle involved in the accident, he or she must provide the owner’s information to the owner of the other vehicle as well. If the owner of the other vehicle cannot be located, the driver who caused the accident must leave a note in a conspicuous place on the parked vehicle containing this information.

Penalties

A driver who fails to adhere to the above requirements after hitting a parked car may be charged with a misdemeanor. Since this crime doesn’t involve another driver, the penalties aren’t as severe as leaving the scene of an accident after hitting an occupied vehicle. However, they are by no means insignificant: this offense is punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $1000. 

Contact a Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney 

If you’ve been charged with a crime in Georgia, you need an experienced Georgia criminal defense attorney on your side. At Carter Pilgrim, our experienced and talented Georgia criminal defense attorneys will review your case and determine the best legal strategy for your Georgia criminal case. We have a strong reputation in Georgia for our success in both litigation and negotiations. Therefore, if you need the assistance of a criminal defense attorney in Georgia, please contact us as soon as possible to schedule an initial consultation.  

woman sat a traffic stop

What NOT to Do When Stopped by the Police in Georgia

Let’s face it—getting stopped by the police is never a pleasant experience. Fear, anxiousness, confusion, and anger are common emotions experienced by drivers during traffic stops. However, if you’re stopped by the police, you can’t allow your emotions to get the better of you—this can only make things worse. In order to avoid incriminating yourself, receiving additional criminal charges, or creating a situation that may be dangerous for you, the officer, and others, you should have a solid grasp of how to conduct yourself during a traffic stop. Below is an overview of some behaviors to avoid when stopped by the police in Georgia. For additional information, please contact a Georgia criminal defense attorney

Never Run

Although this should be obvious, it’s worth pointing out anyway: never try to outrun the police. Involving yourself in a police chase is simply never a good idea. For one, the officer trying to pull you over probably already has your license plate number, so you’ll be found sooner or later. And even if you’ve been drinking, fighting a DUI charge is far easier than fighting the charges you’re likely to face for engaging in a high-speed chase with a police officer. 

Don’t Argue

When you’re stopped by the police, always remain cooperative and polite. Arguing with the police has never worked out well for anyone. In fact, being rude and combative can only escalate things and make your situation worse. 

Don’t Reach for Anything

When pulled over by the police, always keep your hands visible. Only reach for your wallet, registration, or other documentation when requested to do so by the officer. This protects you and the officer. 

Don’t Get Out of the Car

In addition to not reaching for anything unless requested to do so, don’t exit your vehicle unless the officer tells you to. Again, this is for your and the officer’s safety. If you quickly exit your vehicle upon being stopped, the officer may think you’re attempting to flee. In addition, you risk being hit by oncoming traffic. 

Don’t Block Traffic

Finally, although being pulled over can be nerve-wracking, do your best to choose a sensible place to pull over. If you pull over on a curb or in a dangerous spot, you’re only going to irritate the police officer and possibly endanger yourself.  

Contact a Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney 

If you’re facing criminal charges in Georgia, you need an experienced Georgia criminal defense attorney on your side. At Carter Pilgrim Stroud, our knowledgeable Georgia criminal defense attorneys will review your case and determine the best legal strategy for your unique situation. We have a strong reputation in Georgia for being aggressive litigators and sharp negotiators. Therefore, if you’re facing criminal charges in Georgia, please contact us as soon as possible to schedule an initial consultation. 

interrogation room

Should I Talk to the Police in Georgia?

People often mistakenly believe that speaking with the police after an arrest can help them. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Following an arrest in Georgia, you should always keep quiet. To put it simply, talking to the police about the crime with which you’ve been accused can do nothing but hurt you. Below are some reasons you shouldn’t talk to the police in Georgia. For additional information, please contact a Georgia criminal defense attorney.

Why It’s Best to Keep Quiet

Talking to the police can’t help you. Even if you tell the police the truth, nothing you say to them can help you. Information you give the police can only be used against you. Remember, no one has ever talked his or her way out of an arrest. 

Whether you’re innocent or guilty, there is no reason to discuss your case with the police. If you are guilty, you may later plead guilty if you choose to do so. If you choose to not plead guilty, however, prosecutors must prove their case against you. By confessing right away, you severely limit your options down the road. In addition, even if you think you’re guilty, you may be wrong!

You may inadvertently give the police incorrect information. Being placed under arrest is stressful, and people often misspeak during stressful situations. Therefore, even if it is unintentional, you may accidentally say something false to the police during or after your arrest that can later be used to attack your credibility. 

The police may incorrectly remember what you tell them. If you speak to the police, there is a good chance that they will later be called upon to recall what you told them. This can happen months or even years down the line. Unless the police write down or record every word you say, there is a good chance that they’ll get some of it wrong later. This can only hurt you. 

The police have no authority to grant you leniency. Although they may insinuate otherwise, police don’t have the authority to make deals or grant you leniency in exchange for speaking to them. 

It’s difficult to tell the exact same story twice. If you tell the police one thing and then repeat your story in court, some of the details are certain to be different. This can happen even if you’re telling the truth, and when it happens, the prosecutor will certainly use it against you. 

Contact a Georgia criminal defense attorney  

If you’ve been arrested in Georgia, you need to contact an experienced Georgia criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. At Carter Pilgrim Stroud, our talented Georgia criminal defense attorneys will analyze the facts of your case and determine the best legal strategy for your situation. We have a strong reputation in Georgia for successfully defending clients in the courtroom and obtaining favorable plea bargains and dismissals. Therefore, if you’re facing criminal charges in Georgia, please contact us to schedule an initial consultation.  

Medical marijuana capsules

The Legality of Medical Marijuana in Georgia

There is much confusion regarding the legality of medical marijuana in Georgia. In fact, cases abound of marijuana users facing criminal prosecution based on a misunderstanding of state laws regarding medical marijuana. Therefore, it is imperative that all Georgia residents understand the state’s medical marijuana laws in order to avoid inadvertently breaking the law. Below is an overview of the legality of medical marijuana in Georgia. For additional information, please contact a Georgia criminal defense attorney

Is Medical Marijuana Legal in Georgia?

Medical marijuana is legal in Georgia but in a very limited capacity. Under Georgia’s medical marijuana law, certain qualified individuals may possess up to 20 fluid ounces of low THC oil.  

THC is the compound in marijuana that causes its mind-altering effects. 

Who is Eligible to Use Low THC Oil?

Under Georgia’s medical marijuana law, the Georgia Department of Public Health may issue a “Low THC Oil Registry Card” to certain qualified individuals. This card protects individuals from arrest and prosecution if they are found in possession of the oil by law enforcement. There are eight medical conditions that qualify one for the registry. These qualifying conditions are: 

  • End-stage cancer or cancer with treatment that results in wasting, recalcitrant nausea, or vomiting; 
  • Severe or end-stage amyotrophic lateral sclerosis;
  • Seizure disorders related to certain head injuries or epilepsy;
  • Severe or end-stage multiple sclerosis;
  • Crohn’s disease;
  • Mitochondrial disease;
  • Severe or end-stage Parkinson’s disease; and
  • Severe or end-stage sickle cell disease.

Marijuana Remains Illegal in Georgia

As noted above, individuals who suffer from any of the above conditions may legally possess up to 20 fluid ounces of low THC oil. However, all other forms of marijuana remain illegal in Georgia. An individual who is caught with an ounce or less of marijuana can be charged with a misdemeanor, and this applies even if he or she possesses a medical marijuana card. In addition, anyone who possesses more than 20 fluid ounces of low THC oil can be charged with a felony, which carries a punishment of up to ten years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000. Therefore, it is imperative for anyone facing a marijuana possession charge in Georgia to immediately contact a Georgia criminal defense attorney for assistance. 

Contact a Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney 

If you’re facing marijuana possession or other drug charges in Georgia, it’s imperative that you hire an experienced Georgia criminal defense attorney to represent you in your Georgia criminal case. At Carter Pilgrim Stroud, our talented criminal defense attorneys have a long track record of successfully defending Georgia residents against criminal charges. We have a strong reputation for courtroom success and the ability to obtain dismissals and favorable plea bargains. Therefore, if you’re facing a criminal charge of any kind in Georgia, please contact us as soon as possible to schedule an initial consultation.  

Scales of justice with trial gavel.

How to Choose a Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney

If you’ve been charged with a crime in Georgia, you need the right criminal defense attorney on your side. Regardless of whether you’re facing a misdemeanor or felony charge, a criminal conviction can seriously affect your future. However, when you hire the right Georgia criminal defense attorney, you give yourself a fighting chance at avoiding a criminal record. Below are some questions to ask when choosing a Georgia criminal defense attorney

Questions to Ask During Your Initial Consultation 

Most Georgia criminal defense attorneys offer free initial consultations to prospective clients. Scheduling an initial consultation is the best way to choose a Georgia criminal defense attorney. During your initial consultation, you’ll be given the opportunity to ask your prospective attorney questions. By asking the right questions, you’ll be able to determine whether the attorney you meet with is the right criminal defense attorney for you. Good questions to ask during your initial consultation include:

Do you specialize in criminal defense? The attorney you hire should devote a substantial portion of his or her practice to criminal defense. This doesn’t mean that the attorney must solely practice criminal defense law, but the more time he or she devotes to criminal law, the better. 

How much criminal defense experience do you have? Not only should the attorney you choose devote a large portion of his or her practice to criminal defense, but it’s also important that he or she have significant experience handling cases like yours. In other words, even if an attorney solely practices criminal defense law, you should make sure that he or she has years of experience doing so. 

Do you have trial experience? The majority of cases settle before trial. However, if your Georgia criminal case does go to trial, you’ll need an attorney who has plenty of experience practicing before a judge and jury. 

Who will handle the day-to-day aspects of my case? During your consultation, make sure the attorney you speak with will actually be handling your case. Some large firms assign the day-to-day aspects of criminal cases to inexperienced junior associates. This is often a recipe for disaster. 

What’s the cost? Finally, make sure you’re clear on price before hiring a criminal defense attorney. Attorneys charge using different methods, so be sure you’re on the same page with a prospective attorney regarding cost before you make a final decision.  

Contact a Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney 

If you’re facing criminal charges in Georgia, it’s imperative that you hire an experienced Georgia criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. At Carter Pilgrim, our talented criminal defense attorneys have a long track record of successfully defending clients against criminal charges. We have a strong reputation in Georgia for courtroom success and the ability to obtain favorable plea bargains and dismissals for our clients. Therefore, if you’ve been charged with a crime in Georgia, please contact us as soon as possible to schedule an initial consultation.  

Police officers at the scene of a crime.

When Can the Police Search Me in Georgia?

There is much confusion regarding the police’s ability to search citizens in Georgia. People often believe that they must allow police officers to search them no matter the circumstances. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures, and the circumstances under which police officers can perform searches is limited. Below is an overview of when the police can perform searches in Georgia. For additional information, please contact a Georgia criminal defense attorney

Searches With a Warrant

If the police obtain a warrant to search you, your home, your vehicle, or your effects, they are permitted by law to do so. In order to obtain a warrant, the police must present facts to a judge that demonstrate that there is probable cause that a location contains evidence of a crime. If the judge determines that there is probable cause that the evidence sought by the police is located in a particular location, the judge will issue a search warrant. 

Searches Without a Warrant 

Although the police generally need a warrant to search you, there are several exceptions to this rule. Some of the exceptions to the warrant requirement include:

  • Consent – If the police ask you if they can perform a search, and you voluntarily consent to the search, then a warrant isn’t required. 
  • Plain view – If police observe illegal contraband from a legal vantage point (such as through your car window), they don’t need a warrant to conduct a search. 
  • Stop and frisk – If a police officer has a reasonable, articulable suspicion that you either recently committed a crime or are about to commit a crime, he or she may stop you. And if the officer wants has a reasonable belief that you are armed and dangerous, he or she may pat you down to check for weapons. 
  • Hot pursuit – If a person commits a crime and runs from the police, the police pursuing that individual may enter and search the area to where he or she flees. 
  • Emergency – If the police reasonably believe that immediate action must be taken to protect life or property, they may conduct a warrantless search. 
  • Arrest – In most cases, the police may search a person and the area in his or her immediate control as part of a legal arrest. 

Contact a Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney 

If you’ve been charged with a crime in Georgia, you need an experienced Georgia criminal defense attorney on your side. At Carter Pilgrim, our talented criminal defense attorneys have a long track record of defending clients against criminal charges. We have a strong reputation in Georgia for courtroom success and the ability to obtain favorable plea bargains and dismissals for our clients. Therefore, if you’ve been arrested or charged with a misdemeanor or felony in Georgia, please contact us as soon as possible to schedule a consultation.

Charged with a drug offense?

Being charged with a drug offense involves many different types of repercussions that most people are not aware of.  If you are charged with a drug offense, that means you are charged with a Violation of the Georgia Controlled Substances Act (VGCSA).  Being charged with a VGCSA means that you may be subject to jail time, base fines that double after surcharges, and substance abuse treatment. [Much harsher punishments are required if you are charged with something more than simple possession…like possession with intent or trafficking] However, most people don’t know that if you are convicted of a drug offense, there are two issues that can have a tremendous impact on your life:

 

First, your license will likely be suspended: Most people are not aware that they will lose their license and cannot get a permit to drive for work, school or medical related purposes.  You will suffer what we call a “hard” suspension and will not be able to get your license back until the required time has passed and you have taken a Drug Risk Reduction Course. 

 

Second, you will likely not be eligible for any program that is government supported:  If you are currently receiving student loans, the HOPE Grant, or other government backed financial aid, the government reserves the right to decline you ability to receive those funds.  Further, there is also a likelihood that you will have a hard time qualifying for a loan if you plan on using monies that are obtained through government programs like FHA.  The reason for this is clear; the government assumes that if you have money to buy drugs, you don’t need their assistance to create a better quality of life for yourself. 

 

If you are charged with a drug offense, don’t try to “do it yourself.”  Call our office immediately so that we can help ensure that the effect this has on your life is managed.