About Me

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Tifton, Georgia, United States
Joe Kunes is a Personal Injury and Criminal DUI/DWI defense Attorney in Tifton, Georgia. He has been practicing law in Tifton and the surrounding counties since 1972. He is a graduate of Tift County Schools, the University of Georgia, 1969, B.A., and University of Georgia Law School J.D., 1972. In 40 years of practice in Tifton he has handled all areas of the law, but now restricts his practice to criminal defense and personal injury work. The majority of his criminal practice relates to the defense of drinking drivers, not only in Tifton, but all over South Georgia. His personal injury practice includes representing plaintiffs injured in automobile accidents and medical malpractice cases in Tifton and surrounding counties. He is a member of Georgia Trial Lawyers Association (Vice President in 2000), American Trial Lawyers Association (sustaining member), National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys, Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys, the National College for DUI Defense (NCDD), and the Georgia Defense of DUI Drivers (D.O.D.D.).

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Will a Georgia DUI automatically suspend my driver's license?

  If you are arrested for DUI and you blow over the legal limit or refuse to provide a sample for the state blood, breath, or urine test your license will be suspended on the 31st day after your arrest.  The arresting officer is supposed to take your license and turn in a Department of Public Safety (DPS) Form 1205 to start the suspension.  If you hold an out of state license Georgia can't suspend your license, but it can suspend your privilege to drive in Georgia. This action will be reported to your home state, and they may suspend your license through reciprocity if they are members of the Drivers License Compact or Nonresident Violator Compact.  
  However, you have the right to request an Administrative License Suspension (ALS) Hearing  before the State takes your right to drive away.  You must send a written request along with a $150 filing fee to the Department of Driver Services within 10 business days.  You will then be scheduled for a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) that will occur before any criminal hearings on the underlying DUI charge.  
  If the officer fails to show the ALJ will rescind the suspension and you will keep your license pending the outcome of the criminal case.  If the officer does show, you will likely lose the hearing unless there was no legitimate reason for the original detention, no probable cause to arrest, the Georgia Implied Consent notice was improperly read, or there was no over the limit BAC test or refusal.  Even if you lose the ALS hearing, your attorney will have gotten an invaluable opportunity to get sworn testimony from the arresting officer before any criminal hearing occurs.
  This administrative suspension will be lifted if you are found not guilty on the DUI charge, or if you get the charge reduced to reckless driving, public intoxication, or any other non-DUI disposition.  Hiring an attorney who specializes in DUI cases will give you the best chance at prevailing on the criminal charges.  
  Be wary of an attorney who advises you to plead guilty to the DUI in order to have the officer rescind the ALS suspension. While it may save your license for a moment, once you plead guilty to DUI, you will lose your license for a minimum of 6-12 months.  While the ALS suspension would be a 12 months if you refused the State's test (with no limited permit for school or work), there may be defenses available that would lift that suspension completely upon getting the case thrown out, or getting a reduction.  Make sure you hire a knowledgeable attorney who is known as a fighter, and not a "plea attorney."

Friday, October 28, 2011

Speeding Tickets in Georgia
  Georgia does not assess points for speeds 14 m.p.h over the limit and slower.  They assess 2 points for speeds 15-18 m.p.h, 3 points for 19-23 m.p.h, 4 points for 24-33 m.p.h. and 6 points for 34 m.p.h and up.  You can also be charged with Reckless Driving for speeds 24 m.p.h and up.  
  If you have an out of state license, you should consult a local attorney because points will be assessed based on your home state's point schedule even though your citation is from Georgia.  
  If you pay your citation or are found guilty of driving 75 m.p.h and up on a two lane road, or of driving 85 m.p.h and up on any road you will be deisgnated a "Super Speeder" (http://www.safespeedsgeorgia.org/). This designation carries a $200 state fine in addition to the local city or county fine.  If you fail to pay this fine, your privilege to drive in the State of Georgia will be suspended, and this suspension will be reported to your home state through reciprocity.
  Some insurance companies view the Super Speeder designation as a form of reckless driving, so your insurance premiums may be adversely effected by this ticket.  If you have already paid the county fine without knowing about the Super Speeder penalties, you may seek to have your case re-opened if it is still within 180 days.  
  If you have recieved a speeding ticket or other moving violation in the State of Georgia do no hesitate to call 229-382-4900 for a free consultation.  Often times we are able to negotiate your ticket down to a speed where points do not apply and keep the ticket from being reported to the Georgia Department of Driver Services.  This ensures that the ticket will not be reported to any other state agency or to your insurance company.