It’s not uncommon for a traffic stop to result in a ticket, DUI arrest, or other criminal charges. Our team at The Lerch Law Firm shares some of the most common charges that one may face in addition to a DUI charge, depending on the circumstances of their traffic stop.
Open Container Violations
This is a common result of a DUI stop. In Georgia, it is illegal to have an open, unsealed container of alcohol in your vehicle. This means open cans in cupholders, open bottles of liquor on seats, and more. If an officer sees this violation while speaking to the driver, they can cite them for it.
An open container violation is a misdemeanor offense that results in a fine and two points on the driver’s license. It’s important to note that this rule is applicable for all car passengers, not just drivers. In other words, passengers cannot transport and drink alcohol in the car either. This is true even though they are not the ones in control of the vehicle.
Drug Possession Charges
Sometimes, the police wish to search a driver’s car during a traffic stop. This can lead to trouble for the driver depending on what’s inside and how they handle the search request.
First, we want to clarify that drivers typically do not have to consent to a search of their vehicle. The police may nonchalantly ask for consent, leading some drivers to believe they have to comply. However, usually, drivers are within their rights to say no. Some of the exceptions to this would be if the police can see evidence in the driver’s vehicle or if there is an emergency that puts public safety at risk.
If the driver consents to their vehicle being searched, then the search is officially legal. Depending on what substance the officer finds and the amount, the driver could then face additional charges for drug possession, possession with intent to distribute, or even trafficking. The penalties for all three are severe in Georgia.
Like with drug charges, weapons charges may come as a result of a vehicle search during a traffic stop. If the individual is found with a stolen weapon, illegal weapon, or in illegal possession of a weapon, then they could face serious charges and penalties.
- Possession without a license: Misdemeanor
- Repeat possession without a license charge: Felony
- Felon in possession of a firearm: Felony
- Possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony: Felony
- Weapons trafficking: Federal
Child Endangerment Charges
If you are arrested for DUI while you have a child under 14 years of age in your vehicle, you could face a separate child endangerment charge. This is typically a misdemeanor offense. This can result in one year in jail and a fine of $1,000.
Protect Yourself at a DUI Stop
A DUI stop can result in more than just a DUI charge. It’s important that you know your rights so you can avoid as much legal trouble as possible. First, do not consent to a search of your vehicle. Additionally, do not consent to take any field sobriety tests. Lastly, and we can’t emphasize this enough, use your right to remain silent. This is your best protection.
Criminal Defense Attorneys in Savannah
A DUI charge is difficult enough, but it becomes even more stressful when it’s not the only criminal charge you’re facing. Contact The Lerch Law Firm to learn more about how we can help you after your traffic stop resulted in multiple criminal charges. We want to help you defend yourself and protect your rights throughout your case. Call us at (912) 417-5008 today.