Steps to Follow After a DUI Accident in Chatham County

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Each year, drunk driving accidents claim thousands of lives across America. Although driving intoxicated is illegal, people still drive under the influence and establishments still serve obviously intoxicated people. If you were in a DUI accident, it’s important to take certain steps immediately after the accident. Consider the following:

  1. Call the Police

    No matter what other people say or what situation you’re in, it’s vital to call the police immediately following a drunk driving accident. They will arrive within minutes and will be able to help you and arrest the drunk driver.

  2. Seek Medical Attention

    When a car accident occurs, there are thousands of pounds of metal and plastic crashing together. Our bodies weren’t made to withstand such a powerful collision without consequences. That’s why it’s imperative to seek medical attention immediately. Even if you feel fine, seek out the advice from a medical professional. Your doctor will make sure that you don’t have any medical issues that may cause problems in the future.

  3. Take Photos of the Accident

    If you’re able, take pictures of the DUI accident scene, your vehicle, the drunk driver’s vehicle, and anything else related to the accident. Due to the millions of people traveling on Georgia roadways, car accidents must be cleaned up and moved to the side as fast as possible. Unfortunately, this causes important evidence to be swept aside. By taking photos, you are preserving the truth behind the accident.

  4. Ask Witnesses to Remain at the Scene

    Whether or not there are cameras near the DUI accident scene, it’s important to ask witnesses to remain at the scene until the police arrive. These witnesses can solidify your case by telling the police what happened from their perspectives. If possible, write down their names and phone numbers in case they are needed in the future.

Contact the Kicklighter Law team at 912-754-6003 
to schedule a free consultation!

Reach Out to an Attorney

If you are the victim of a drunk driving accident, we encourage you to seek legal action. By involving the law, you are not only seeking compensation and justice, but you are also contributing to a safer community by demanding consequences. The Kicklighter attorneys have extensive experience fighting for victims of a drunk driving accident. We want to make our community a safer place, and we do that through bringing drunk drivers and alcohol-serving establishments to justice.

Contact us today if you’ve been in a drunk driving accident.

Understanding Georgia’s Dram Shop Laws & Drunk Driving

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The period between Memorial Day and Labor Day is referred to as the 100 Deadliest Days, as there is a major increase in car accident fatalities. One major factor contributing to these fatalities is people who drive under the influence of alcohol of drugs. If a drunk driver is on the road, his reaction time is drastically reduced, and he will likely make poor driving decisions.

These negligent choices often result in drunk driving accidents and possibly serious injuries or death. Your car accident attorney will consider several factors, such as Georgia’s Dram Shop Laws and consequences for drunk driving in Georgia, while pursuing maximum compensation for you. Allow us to explain:

Georgia’s Dram Shop Laws

Georgia’s Dram Shop Laws allow the injured plaintiff to file a claim against an establishment or bartender who is responsible for over-serving the defendant. For example, if a bartender continues to serve an obviously intoxicated person alcohol and that person leaves the restaurant and hits another vehicle, the injured party can sue the establishment and/or bartender for negligence as well as the drunk driver.  

Pursuing compensation under Georgia’s Dram Shop Laws holds dualistic importance. First, the establishment and/or bartender that is convicted must deal with court-ordered consequences such as a fine or loss of liquor license. These consequences will hopefully force the establishment to become stricter with serving alcohol to intoxicated customers. Second, your car accident attorney will use these Laws to pursue maximum compensation from the establishment and/or bartender and the defendant.

Drunk Driving in Georgia

In Georgia, if you’re convicted of drunk driving, you may face jailtime, community service orders, fines, points on your license, license suspension, and other consequences. The details of the consequences are determined by your judge, what number offense this incident was, your age, and more.

Contact the Kicklighter Law team at 912-754-6003 
to schedule a free consultation!

Involved in a Drunk Driving accident? Contact the Springfield Drunk Driving Attorneys at Kicklighter Law

Our team will fiercely represent our clients and pursue maximum compensation from the defendant and establishment and/or bartender. We aim to make Georgia roads safer by being a force in the legal realm, making it known that driving under the influence has serious consequences. If you’ve been injured in a drunk driving accident, call us right away: 912-754-6003

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Chatham County, Georgia DUI FAQ’s

Over 50 years ago, the Road Safety Bill made it illegal for people to drive if their blood alcohol concentration was .08% or higher. If you choose to drink then drive, it’s important to know what may occur in the future if you’re charged with a DUI. Keep reading to discover the answers to several frequently asked questions about driving under the influence:

Do I have to take a field sobriety test or breathalyzer test?

If you’ve been pulled over for suspicion of DUI, it’s important to follow the instructions of the police officer. If he wants you to perform a field sobriety test or breathalyzer test, do so without causing a scene. If you refuse to cooperate, your license will automatically be suspended. There are ways your DUI attorney can get the results of the tests thrown out such as proving inadequate officer training or the use of faulty equipment.

What is the consequence for driving under the influence?

The consequence for driving under the influence depends on several factors – your level of impairment, number of times you’ve driven drunk, presence of minors in the vehicle, and more. Judges have the power to impose hefty fines, jail time, probation, community service, and license suspension.

Why do I need a DUI attorney?

Whether you were wrongly or rightly accused of driving while impaired, it’s important to have a DUI attorney on your side. If you were wrongly accused, a skilled lawyer will fight your case to make sure you don’t serve undeserved jail time or pay fees. If you were indeed driving while impaired, an experienced lawyer will work hard make sure your consequences aren’t outrageous and guide you through this legal matter to help you get the best results.

Contact the Kicklighter Law team at 912-754-6003 
to schedule a free consultation!

Have you been arrested for driving under the influence in Chatham County? Contact the Kicklighter Law team today.

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What Georgia’s New Distracted Driving Law Means for You

If you’ve seen an increase of law enforcement on the roads this summer, it’s likely due to the new distracted driving law that took effect on July 1, 2018. With this law, it is now illegal to hold a phone in your hand while driving, meaning you will have to use a hands-free device. The law is intended to reduce traffic fatalities on Georgia roadways.

Distracted Driving Legislation Details

If you’re one of the roughly seven million drivers that travel on Georgia roads each year, it’s important to understand the details of this new law. The law bans more than just holding your cell phone while driving. To stay within the law, make sure you don’t:

  • FaceTime or Skype
  • Hold a wireless device such as a phone or iPod
  • Read, write, or send any form of electronic communication
  • Watch videos (unless it is navigation-related data)

However, there are certain tasks you can still perform under the new distracted driving law. Consider the following:

  • Ask Siri to complete a task for you
  • Communicate using the voice-to-text feature
  • Make one swipe to answer a phone call
  • Use an earpiece to talk on the phone
  • Wear and use a smart watch

It’s important to note that if you witness an emergency-related situation such as a car accident or fire, you can use your phone to call the authorities.

Penalties Associated with the Distracted Driving Law

If you are caught breaking the distracted driving law, you will receive a fine. The fine is calculated based on how many times you’ve broken the law. You may also receive points on your license.

The team at Kicklighter Law encourages you to adhere to the new distracted driving law. Unfortunately, even if you follow every traffic law and take precautions to drive safely, you may still get into a car accident due to someone else’s negligence. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, contact the Kicklighter attorneys today.

What Should I Do if My Teen Driver is Charged with a DUI?

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Parents of newly licensed teen drivers face a whole new world of worry and stress every time their child gets behind the wheel. Parents hope that their teen drivers will make smart choices and avoid unsafe driving behavior such as distracted driving and reckless driving. Drunk driving is also at the top of the list of worries, despite the fact that teen drivers are minors and are not legally allowed to drink alcohol. Unfortunately, teens are exposed to alcohol in a wide range of situations. If they make the irresponsible choice to drink alcohol and then get behind the wheel of a car, it can have devastating consequences. Parents of teen drivers who have been charged with a DUI are strongly urged to contact a highly skilled DUI lawyer who has a proven track record of reaching favorable outcomes in these types of cases.

When a teen driver is facing a DUI charge, it is important for the parents to understand that Georgia imposes very harsh penalties for underage drunk driving. The zero-tolerance law is very strictly enforced. For example, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. For teen drivers, the legal limit drops to 0.02 percent. This is due to the fact that teens should not be drinking alcohol at all, and Georgia’s breath testing machines are not accurate enough to detect a BAC lower than the 0.02 threshold. 

Parents should also understand that a DUI arrest will immediately show up on the teen driver’s record. This could jeopardize the college application process or prevent the teen from getting a job if a prospective employer sees the DUI charge on the application. A DUI charge also comes with a 12-month probation period, which means that the teen must report to their probation officer once a month, regardless of whether they have a job or go to school. In addition, a DUI charge remains on the individual’s criminal record permanently. Therefore, it is something that the teen driver will have to explain to future employers and hope that they can overlook it. 

What are the Different DUI Charges?

In Georgia, there are two ways that police can charge motorists with a DUI, including the following:

  • DUI per se: This applies when the motorist’s BAC is over the legal limit. The BAC alone is enough to convict the driver. In Georgia, a motorist is considered legally drunk under the following circumstances:
    – BAC of 0.02 percent or higher if the motorist is under the age of 21
    – BAC of 0.04 percent or higher if the motorist is operating a commercial vehicle
    – BAC of 0.08 percent or higher if the motorist is over the age of 21 and driving a passenger vehicle
  • Impairment DUI: This applies if the officer finds the driver to be impaired, regardless of the driver’s BAC. If the teen driver is charged with an impairment DUI, the prosecution must be able to show evidence of impairment, including slurred speech, erratic behavior, and other unsafe driving behavior.

What are the Criminal Penalties of an Underage DUI Charge?

Just because a teen driver is a minor does not mean that they will not face serious penalties. In fact, Georgia laws are very strict when it comes to underage drinking and driving. When a minor is charged with a DUI, they may face the following penalties:

  • A minimum of 24 hours of jail time.
  • Forty hours of community service.
  • Twelve months of probation in which the teen must report at least once a month to his or her probation officer.
  • Subject to random drug and alcohol screening for the entire probation period.
  • Must avoid using any drugs or alcohol for the probation period.
  • Must attend a 20-hour Georgia Risk Reduction Program class.
  • Pay a minimum of $300 in fines, as well as additional costs and surcharges, which can add up to approximately $1,500. Additional fines may include probation fees, license suspension fees, and the costs associated with the required programs and testing.

What are the Driver’s License Penalties for a DUI Charge?

A DUI conviction will certainly have an impact on a teen driver’s license. For drivers ages 16 to 20, a first offense will result in a six-month license suspension if his or her BAC was under 0.08 percent. If the BAC was over 0.08 percent, a teen driver’s license will be suspended for 12 months. In addition, younger drivers will be required to attend the Risk Reduction Program and pay the associated fees, including the license reinstatement fee.

Parents must also understand that there are two different court hearings that may impact a DUI charge, both of which can affect a teen’s driver’s license.

  • Administrative License Hearing (ALH): This is requested by the motorist’s DUI lawyer, who has 30 days from the date of the arrest to file an appeal of the motorist’s driver’s license. The purpose of this hearing is to determine whether the defendant’s driving privileges should be suspended prior to a DUI conviction in criminal court. An ALH covers the following issues:
    – Did the officer have reasonable grounds to place the motorist under arrest for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol?
    – Did the motorist involved in the accident cause serious injuries or fatalities?
    – Did the officer inform the driver of his or her implied consent rights when the test was requested?
    – Did the motorist refuse the test?
    – Did the test results indicate a BAC of 0.02 or more if the driver was under the age of 21?
    – Was the test administered properly?
  • Criminal proceeding: This will also have an impact on whether the teen driver will lose his or her driver’s license. However, a criminal proceeding may also result in additional punishments, including jail time, community service, fines, alcohol treatment, and additional license suspension.

What Steps Do I Take after My Teen Driver has Been Charged for a DUI?

A DUI charge should be taken very seriously. Therefore, it is imperative that the parents of the teen driver contact an experienced DUI lawyer who can determine whether there is a valid case against the driver. For example, if the following factors can be proved, the lawyer may be able to arrange for the charges to be thrown out:

  • The DUI stop was improper.
  • The sobriety test was improperly administered.
  • The sobriety tests were not accurate.
  • The evidence was mishandled.

However, if there is a valid case against the teen driver, a DUI lawyer will either fight the conviction or argue for a reduced sentence. Throughout the entire legal process, the teen driver is strongly urged to follow the advice of his or her lawyer and to always be respectful and tell the truth. If the teen driver is convicted of a DUI, the parents or the teen driver must pay all of the fines as soon as possible and complete all court-ordered community service programs, as well as any other programs that were ordered by the court.

What if My Teen Driver was Not Actually Impaired?

Teen drivers who have a BAC of 0.02 are considered legally impaired. Although this is meant to deter underage drivers from drinking and driving, it presents a challenge when it comes to DUI cases. There have been many cases in which an under-21 motorist had a 0.02 BAC and was charged with a DUI, despite being completely sober. To make matters worse, this charge stays on the driver’s record permanently. Motorists who are just shy of turning 21 may be charged with a violation that they would not be charged with had they been a few weeks or months older. In extreme cases, an underage driver may be charged with Felony Vehicular Homicide or Felony Serious Injury by Vehicle, which can completely derail a young person’s education or career plans. It can even prevent individuals from being approved for mortgages later in life. Oftentimes, when an underage driver has a BAC of 0.02 percent, the more fair and reasonable charge would be minor in possession of alcohol (MIP) as opposed to the much more serious charge. A skilled and experienced DUI lawyer will examine the charges brought against a teen driver, guide the client and his or her family through the complex legal system, and recommend the course of action that will have the best possible outcome.

Effingham County DUI Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Advocate for Teen Drivers Charged with a DUI

If your teen driver was charged with a DUI, reach out to the Effingham County DUI lawyers at Kicklighter Law. We have a proven track record of navigating the complex court system and will work tirelessly to protect your child’s legal rights, whether that means having the charges dropped or securing a reduced sentence. We understand the impact that a DUI charge can have on your child, and we will work tirelessly to build a strong case and protect your child’s future. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 912-754-6003 or contact us online. We are located in Springfield, Georgia, and we proudly serve clients in Springfield, Effingham County, Savannah, and surrounding areas.

Call Us: 912-754-6003

412 North Laurel Street
Springfield, GA 31329

Telephone: 912-754-6003
Fax: 912-754-6336

Email: [email protected]

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