I had the opportunity to catch up with Georgia DUI expert Jim Yeargan about fighting DUI charges and what not to do if you get pulled over. Here is our conversation from the Expert Profiles Atlanta podcast on Business Innovators Radio Network.
BIM: Today my special guest is Jim Yeargan. Jim is a DUI attorney in Atlanta with Yeargan and Kert, LLC; AtlantaDuiLawyer.com. And he helps business owners, executives, and other licensed professionals stop criminal charges from destroying their lives. Well, I know, Jim, that when something like this happens, especially in certain circumstances, when you’re talking about professionals, it can really have an impact on their business and their lives. So I’m sure there are lots of questions that you’re going to be able to answer. So welcome to the show, Jim Yeargan.
Jim Yeargan: Great. Thanks, Neil. Thanks for having me, glad to be here.
BIM: Well, give us a little bit about your background, and how you became a DUI lawyer, and how long Yeargan and Kert has been in business.
Jim Yeargan: Sure, absolutely. I’ve been a DUI attorney for 15 years. And this actually isn’t what I first thought I’d go into, but I’m thankful that I found it. It’s a very interesting field, and you get to work with a lot of great people, and help them out, and stop these things from ruining and devastating their lives. I began my career as a DUI prosecutor and did that for three years in the city of Atlanta. And that’s really where I cut my teeth and learned everything. And it was a great opportunity because I got to work with the police and the task force officers. I got to know all the prosecutors and the judges. And then after I’d been there for a while, I was able to start training people. So I’d train the prosecutors, and I would go to the police academy and teach them how to testify in court and write police reports, and things like that. So I had a very strong foundation on that side.
Jim Yeargan: And then when I was able to start doing defense work, I was able to use all of that, of course, to my advantage and my clients’ advantage. So it was a really great way to start my career.
BIM: And it’s very helpful to really have a close knowledge of both sides so that you know exactly what it is that you need to do to help your clients out. So let’s talk about those clients. What kind of clients is it that you tend to help?
Jim Yeargan: Absolutely. I really enjoy working with people who … Of course, everyone wants to beat their charges … but who basically have, I hate to phrase it this way, but something to lose. It’s nice working with professionals, doctors, lawyers, accountants, pilots, people like that, who really care about the outcome of their case and really don’t want their lives disrupted by it. You know mainly when people first get this charge, they kind of go into a downward spiral of thinking that their life is over, and it’s going to cost them their career, their family, their driver’s license, their ability to earn a living, everything. And it’s nice to be able to help them out of that spiral and show them that that’s not going to happen.
Jim Yeargan: Some people, they amaze me, some people get a DUI and not just DUIs, but criminal charges in general, and they just don’t care. They’re like, “Oh, I’ll just go plead guilty to it,” or you know, they have a long record, it doesn’t matter to them. But I enjoy working with people who don’t want this to interrupt their lives, or disrupt their lives, and want to get everything back on track and get this behind them. So basically, when I say people with something to lose, they’re wanting to keep their life as it is, keep their family intact, keep their job, their ability to work, all of that.
BIM: So talk to me about some of those consequences if there is a DUI on record. What does that mean to a professional?
Jim Yeargan: Sure. It really varies by profession, and that’s why when you’re looking for a DUI lawyer, you need someone who knows the ins and outs, because many times, you’re dealing with more than just the actual criminal charges. You’re dealing with what’s going to happen to the job, the driver’s license, insurance rates, things like that. But for instance, if a pilot gets a DUI and they’re convicted, they’ll never fly again. They’re grounded for life. So you definitely, when you have those cases, need to be very careful. And they need to hire someone who knows what they’re doing. Lawyers, it used not to be such a big deal, but especially the State Bar of Georgia, they take more of an interest now if an attorney gets a DUI, because they’re worried about attorneys going into downward spirals or using alcohol as a crutch. And they don’t want that to impact their practice.
Jim Yeargan: Nursing, many times nurses will have to jump through many hoops, go through appeal processes to have their nursing licenses renewed because the board is afraid that with alcohol, there might be a drug problem. Nurses have, you know, many nurses have unfettered access to drugs. So a lot of times, you’ll have to go through the appeal process with them to make, to let the board understand that it was just DUI alcohol, there’s not a drug problem there, and that they can still be around medications. So it really varies on each, how the person’s employed, basically.
BIM: But these consequences are definitely a lot to think about. So talk to me about the state of mind when somebody first gives you a call. What’s on their mind? What questions, what concerns do they have? And how are you able to help ease some of those concerns right away?