A Not-So-Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Courthouse

We recently handled a jury trial where our client was charged with DUI. The officer never saw our client driving the car, our client exercised his right to not perform field sobriety tests, and, despite begging the officer to give him a breath test, the officer refused and also did not take out a warrant to draw blood (so, no evidence of blood alcohol content at all). Despite this, the jury found our guy guilty. Why? Because our client was, let’s just say, not very nice to the officer. But the point of this article isn’t be nice to people who can lock you up; the point of this article is to say NOTHING and remind you that under Georgia law, you are not entitled to privacy rights as you sit in the back of the patrol car. Most dash cams have a reverse camera that is focused on your face and recording everything you say, even when the officer is not in the car with you. And, if you call the cop a motherfucker enough, a jury could very well find that you’re drunk whether the officer heard it or not. So, please. Exercise your First Amendment Right – be quiet (and try to be respectful!)!

Don’t Give Cherokee a Reason to Build!

Small, little, country Cherokee County, Georgia…..ahhhh! You can smell the fresh air, admire rolling hills, and wonder what the hell all that hammering noise is. It’s building folks. Subdivisions. Lots and lots of subdivisions. And it’s not slowing down. That’s right, small town just became metro; Cheorkee is the fastest growing county in the State of Georgia. That’s good in a way. Growth is good. But the fact that our local government saw this coming and already starting adding a massive addition to the county jail should concern us all. Yes, more population generally means more arrests, but it doesn’t have to. We have Lyft, Uber, Door Dash, Women’s Homes, Men’s Homes, free rides from Canton and Woodstock Police if you’re too drunk to drive. We have a lot of options and I say, this New Year let’s prove them wrong. We don’t need one of these in Cherokee…..(btw that’s DeKalb’s jail!!)

 

DeKalb_County_Jail

THOR! GOD OF (Drug Addiction?)!

A good criminal defense attorney will always recommend that a new client begin working on his/her case as soon as possible, before the first court date. When it comes to felony drug possession, it is important to show the District Attorney that the client has an addiction and is currently seeking treatment and, a lot of times, the DA will go along with that treatment plan when considering making a plea offer. In other words, it is VERY possible, with a good criminal lawyer, to eliminate any jail time whatsoever AND beat the disease! So, what’s this THOR nonsense? THOR is an approved rehab center that Cherokee County, at least, will require. You see, rehabs come in many shapes and sizes. Some are Christian-based and out-patient, some are private, for profit halfway homes, and some are in-house. Cherokee County always requires THOR approved (usually in-patient rehab over a certain length of time). To do rehab anywhere else is essentially a waste of time and may result in your going to R-SAT (rehab in jail). So, how do you find THOR approved facilities? Easy. Go to the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles and search THOR in the upper right-hand corner. Or, better yet, just click below.

https://sites.google.com/a/dcs.ga.gov/housing/thor-directory

 

THOR! GOD OF (Drug Addiction?)!

A good criminal defense attorney will always recommend that a new client begin working on his/her case as soon as possible, before the first court date. When it comes to felony drug possession, it is important to show the District Attorney that the client has an addiction and is currently seeking treatment and, a lot of times, the DA will go along with that treatment plan when considering making a plea offer. In other words, it is VERY possible, with a good criminal lawyer, to eliminate any jail time whatsoever AND beat the disease! So, what’s this THOR nonsense? THOR is an approved rehab center that Cherokee County, at least, will require. You see, rehabs come in many shapes and sizes. Some are Christian-based and out-patient, some are private, for profit halfway homes, and some are in-house. Cherokee County always requires THOR approved (usually in-patient rehab over a certain length of time). To do rehab anywhere else is essentially a waste of time and may result in your going to R-SAT (rehab in jail). So, how do you find THOR approved facilities? Easy. Go to the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles and search THOR in the upper right-hand corner. Or, better yet, just click below.

https://sites.google.com/a/dcs.ga.gov/housing/thor-directory

 

Field Sobriety Tests…on a Boat?!?

Yes, it’s a real thing and given the sudden temperature drop from almost 70 to 40 overnight, it’s nice to talk “boat talk.” And when I think of boats and the Department of Natural Resources, I’m reminded of just how asinine BUI “stops” are, particularly field sobriety tests; how well do you stand, what’s your balance like, on a rocking boat? Really? And what about the HGN (vision) test? “Look at this pen at eye level, to the left and to the right, and if you mess up, you’re BUI.” Meanwhile, the vessel tosses and turns and you think to yourself, “this has to be some sort of joke.” Then the cuffs go on and you cringe at the reality that you are going to jail. In a BUI case, I recommend rejecting the field sobriety test. You’re just giving the cops what they want….evidence, no matter how shady, to try to convict you and ruin your life.

The Most Important Part of a DUI Stop

 

Smell of alcohol? Check. Preliminary breathalyzer? Check. Field Sobriety Test? Check. It may seem on camera that you’re guilty as hell (and, heck, let’s face it – maybe you are), but what are looking at in the video is probably not even close to what your attorney is looking at. You may see a wobbly, incoherent bozo that screams, “SMH!! Plead guilty now and get this over with!” Your DUI attorney, however, is looking at the stop itself. 90% of the time the reason for the stop is FTML (Failure to Maintain Lane) or Weaving Over Roadway. Both are legitimate reasons to pull you, but did you really weave? And, if so, to what extent and what were the road conditions at the time? What was the weather? The lighting? Was the useless and moronic Georgia Department of Transportation at fault for again painting 2 sets of lane markers in one lane or criss-crossing the lanes or failing to give any notice whatsoever that a lane was going to end ahead as they often do? The point is, there are a variety of factors that come into play as to whether the stop was legit. And if it wasn’t, your DUI may very well be dismissed.

Out Drinkin’ With Friends

Saw this story today:

https://www.cbs46.com/news/woman-facing-several-charges-in-dui-crash-that-killed-motorcyclist/article_6cbae5d6-bcde-11e8-aab0-fb3585d6beea.html

And it reminds me yet again how truly remarkable it is that you can almost count on 80-90% of DUI crashes occurring at night, usually late night. A terrific Cherokee County Judge, Tony Baker, has said, “nothing good happens after midnight,” and my experience shows he is right. But if you do find yourself drinking out late (perhaps you’re a Browns or Vols fan and you can’t cope any other way), do a triple check on your sobriety. There are websites that can estimate your BAC. There are apps. Remember: YOU are your first line of defense against a DUI. I’m your last line. You got your front; I’ve got your back.

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