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New Hands Free Law

This is a great video, but be extra cautious: this law can now serve as a ¬†pretext for “identifying” DUI violators in Georgia…

https://www.ajc.com/news/local/watch-cobb-marietta-cops-made-psa-about-new-hands-free-driving-law/7HicgP0mvFq1UesC6ZlBbO/

 

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Opioid “Epidemic???”

A great, thought provoking article. Opioid addiction is not the problem “they” are telling you it is and, as a result, real people in pain are getting screwed.

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/02/21/the-myth-of-the-roots-of-the-opioid-crisis-217034

DU-Eye

So, you’ve been pulled over because you didn’t put your self belt on, wiggled in your lane, whatever, and the officer asks you to take a serious of field sobriety tests to see if you are DUI in Georgia. You comply and, like most non-athletes, you fail. You walked 8 steps, not 9 as required, and started the test before the officer told you to start. You balanced on one leg for 15 seconds without even swaying, then put your other leg down for a brief second. FAIL! Here comes the cuffs…

The thing is you do not have to perform the field sobriety tests. They are designed to make you fail (I personally try it every now and then for fun and haven’t passed yet). And the truth is, quite frankly, the officer is there to confirm his suspicions. Not be your friend or find the truth. One little sway, one little hiccup and the next thing you know you’re wearing the county’s jewelry collection. The fact of the matter is that these 2 tests, the walk and turn test and the one leg balance test are only about 65% reliable – hardly enough to convict. But the big one is the third test, the HGN test – the one where the officer hold his finger or a pen in front of your face and has you follow it with your eyes. They’re looking for a “lack of smooth pursuit” and where the other tests are unreliable and typically recorded, the HGN test is more like 88% reliable and nearly impossible to see on video, meaning it’s the DUI officer’s word against yours and that doesn’t usually pan out. This is where you really want an attorney because whereas it is your word vs. the DUI officer’s word, if the officer doesn’t do it perfectly, the test can be tossed. There are also other factors that come into play – such as the fact that alcohol is not the only thing that causes a “lack of smooth pursuit.”

What is a “hard suspension” under Georgia DUI law?

If you are convicted or plea to a DUI in Georgia, your ¬†license will be automatically suspended. But whether the suspension is a “hard suspension” or not is of paramount concern to the defendant. A “hard suspension” is where the defendant is stuck without a license. Period. Get caught driving, you’re going to jail. It doesn’t matter if you are driving to the drug store to pick up life-saving meds or to the corner to pick up your child from the school bus stop. Automatic jail. Now, if a defendant’s drivers’ license is not hard suspended, you may obtain a “limited driver’s permit” under Georgia law which allows you to drive to certain places even though your license is suspended – places like work, school, your child’s school, the doctor, etc. It is imperative your Georgia DUI lawyer know what suspension you will receive prior to any plea determination. Certain circumstances in Georgia DUI law require a hard suspension. Ask you lawyer if your case qualifies to be excluded from such a tragedy.

 

Simple probation violation leads to death

My good friend Randy Travis of Fox5 News did an investigation into a Georgia DUI case that led to a tragic end in the custody of law enforcement. Find the full story here:

http://www.fox5atlanta.com/news/i-team/why-did-gwinnett-deputies-ignore-doctors-order-to-get-sick-inmate-help-immediately

 

Change in Georgia DUI Law!

Recently, the Georgia Supreme Court issued a monumental opinion regarding breath tests under Georgia DUI law: unlike the US Constitution, the Georgia Constitution sees such actions as self-incriminating. Now, they stopped short of ruling the “implied consent” law as coercive and upheld the guy’s conviction; HOWEVER, the Court instructed trial courts to look at the totality of circumstances to determine coercion (i.e., was the officer’s actions over the top? Did you feel required to blow? etc.). If the court finds coercion, the test will be tossed absent some warrantless search exception. Another score for liberty!!cropped-cropped-dscn00171.jpg

Easiest way to get out of a DUI

It’s Friday, folks! And that means it’s time to kick off the weekend in just a few hours. Time for Happy Hour and time with friends and family. Time to unwind and maybe kick a couple back. But what if 2 becomes 3 or 4 or 15? The easiest way to not get busted for a DUI is simple – plan ahead. And the purpose of this post is to show that there are options other than the standard “have a DD” like the old days (although I must admit that whenever I am the DD, I have a lot of fun watching my friends). You could plan an uber for example and that’s a helluva lot cheaper than a cab. No DD and no money for uber? No worries! Several police departments that are community partners, like Canton Police, will give you a ride home for free. So, plan ahead, have a blast and HAPPY FRIDAY, everyone!

Medicine Men…I mean Drug Recognition Experts…I mean Evaluators

What do you call modern day hacks who insist they can tell what drug a person has ingested just by looking at him? A DRE (drug recognition evaluator) is someone law enforcement may call to help aid them in determining whether or not you are DUI. They are “specially trained” to look for drugs, but here’s the reality – they base their decisions on pseudo-science and are not qualified to testify as experts at trial. So, it goes like this, you get pulled over and blow a 0.0 and do ok on the field sobriety tests. All good, right? No. If the officer calls in his buddy, the DRE, the DRE will poke his voodoo doll, determine you to be under the influence of drugs and you will be arrested. Then, they’ll likely pull your blood and take you to jail. Then, a lot of times, the blood work comes back with nothing in your system so the case is reduced to a traffic violation or whatever and that’s it in the State’s eyes. Wait…That’s it?!? What do you mean that’s it? You just went through a battery of tests under stressful conditions, probably had a cop lecture you on the way to the jail or forestation, had your blood drawn, got put in handcuffs, spent a day or two traumatized and treated like a piece of meat in jail, paid for a bond, had to go through the horror of upcoming court dates, likely got your license suspended, all for them to say, “Oops. Guess the DRE was wrong. It’s a $150 fine and that’s it.” They are the equivalent of K9 handlers tipping off their dogs, which happens quite often as well. And it’s not right. Don’t trust these kinds of unreasonable searches and seizures under any circumstances. And don’t go it alone.

But I wasn’t drunk!!

I would say that close to 70% of people who walk into my office insist that they weren’t drunk at the time and, guess what, I believe them. That’s because the image in our heads of being “drunk” is usually quite over the top. Stumbling, unable to speak, vomit running down the front of a shirt, aggressiveness, loud….and most people simply don’t get to that state and just like to “keep the buzz going.” The problem is that in Georgia you don’t have to be drunk to get a DUI. You can get a DUI after just a sip of beer. Hell, you can get a DUI after taking a sleep aid. That’s the whole nonsense of the “DUI (Less Safe)” Georgia law. The bad news is it is treated just like any other DUI (isn’t that B.S.? You have one beer and blow a 0.001 and you and the guy who funneled a case and blew a 0.25 get the same sentence)! The good news is that it is much easier to get a DUI (Less Safe) knocked down to a reckless driving or traffic infraction if you have a lawyer. This is why it is important to hire a lawyer who knows the prosecutors and courts well.