“Good Result Fridays” are the Best!

There you are sitting in court on a Friday and you think, “well, this is it. Am I going to work my butt off this weekend prepping for a trial Monday or is the State going to be reasonable and give my valued client something he can seriously consider?” You’ve spoken with the client and you know the line. In this case, it was an outright dismissal of a possession of weed charge. He’d pay the speeding ticket (really, he got pulled on GA 400 doing 70? Who doesn’t drive 70 on 400, but I digress. So, here you are. Will you be bar-b-queing or studying Saturday night? When it works out in your favor, I call it a “good result Friday!” and today was certainly that and more. Got the weed tossed, got the speed ┬áreduced so as zero points on his license. $140 fine and out the door. The original offer was 9 months intense probation. Yea, GRF!!!!

Hold My Beer – Georgia is now Hands Free

On July 1, 2018, the State of Georgia finally said, put down your roadie…I mean cell phone. It’s about time, quite frankly. Statistics routinely show that texting while driving causes more accidents than sipping on that oil can (not that you should be drinking and driving at all, I’m just making a point). And, also quite frankly, I personally have been unable to tell whether someone is drunk as hell or operating their phone when I’m behind them, watching them weave from lane to lane, each road sign breathing a sigh of relief as they went by as they will live another day. From a DUI lawyer standpoint, understand this: this law gives the police more reason to pull you over. It’s bad enough that you may be beyond legal limits and driving, but add texting and it really is a recipe for disaster and now cops have another tool in their arsenal. Don’t give them a reason, be smart, put the phone away.

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 ┬álicense 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.

 

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!

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