This month’s case shows the value of having an experienced DUI attorney who has a reputation for aggressively defending cases. In an Athens-Clarke County case, my UGA student client was in a Pre Trial Diversion for a previous Minor in Possession (MIP) of Alcohol charge when he was arrested by Athens police and charged with DUI.
So now, he had a DUI charge and the old MIP charge pending in Athens. Unsurprisingly, the police report had my client as being intoxicated, but after reviewing the video, I thought otherwise of the evidence.
The cop had stopped my client for a broken taillight, yet the cop was approaching my client, and it would have been extremely difficult for the cop to actually see a broken taillight. The video revealed my client’s physical appearance to be normal. My client denied drinking and refused a breath test after arrest. Any clues on the Field Sobriety Evaluations were minimal.
Nonetheless, because the client was under 21 at the time of the arrest, any evidence of him having consumed alcohol could have resulted in a guilty verdict. We employed the use of an expert in Field Evaluations who agreed with me that the evidence was slim and was known and respected by the prosecutor. Eventually, we negotiated a plea to 2 MIPs, allowing my client to continue driving and to not have a DUI conviction on his record.
One more thing: We structured the plea so that the MIP pleas would not result in a suspension of client’s license. (He could have had a 1 year suspension!) It is important that a traffic lawyer knows how to structure pleas for the best possible outcome, and this means the lawyer must have a thorough knowledge of Georgia Traffic Laws.