atlanta dui attorney

What is Pre Trial Diversion?

There is a trend in the criminal justice system to treat certain types of non -violent crimes differently than in the past. In part because of overcrowding jails, there are now certain types of resolutions to criminal cases which do not involve incarceration, and also involve resolving cases without any adjudication of guilt.

You may have heard of something called a “Pretrial Diversion Program.” (PTD) What is a PTD and how does it work?

A pretrial diversion program is an agreement which is signed by a Defendant, Prosecutor, and Judge, which says that IF the Defendant does certain things within a specified time, the Prosecutor will ask the Judge to “nolle pros”(not prosecute) the case. PTD’s are generally available in misdemeanor cases, although some Counties in Georgia even allow PTDs in certain drug felony cases.

As an example, many counties now have PTD programs in cases involving underage possession of alcohol. They also have PTD programs involving misdemeanor marijuana possession.

PTDs are usually available to “first time offenders” as a way of allowing a chance to do something which will keep the offender from pleading guilty, being placed on probation, incarcerated, etc. Generally, a Defendant will agree to certain things within 90 to 120 days of signing the PTD agreement. Usually the defendant will pay a “program” fee of between $300 and $600, perform a certain amount of community service, and perhaps complete an alcohol and drug evaluation or DUI Risk Reduction School, as well as complete a certain number of alcohol and drug screens which must come back negative for any alcohol or illegal drugs.

While technically not placed on probation, the offender usually coordinates performance of the conditions of the agreement with a probation officer (PO) of the Court. If the offender completes the PTD satisfactorily, the PO notifies the prosecutor, who then asks the Court to dismiss the case. If the offender fails to complete the program satisfactorily, the PO notifies the prosecutor, and the charges are pursued through the normal court process.

The advantage to agreeing to a PTD is that once everything is completed, your charges are dismissed, AND any arrest record is “restricted” from public access.

While the disadvantage and risk of agreeing to a PTD and failing is minimal, the simple fact is that by NOT complying with the PTD, you have wasted a tremendous opportunity to have a criminal charge totally dismissed.

That is why, in most cases, if a PTD is available I encourage my clients to seriously consider taking advantage of such an opportunity.

 

Happy 4th of July!!

On this 4th of July, it is important to remember the rights in our Constitution originated in the Declaration of Independence. I read the Declaration in the video below.

Georgia Courts Show No Flexibility on 10 Day Letter

Your Georgia driver’s license can be suspended for up to a year, with NO limited permit available, if you or your lawyer fails to send in a letter requesting a hearing with the Department of Driver Services (DDS) within 10 days after your arrest for Driving Under the Influence (DUI), according to a recent Georgia Court of Appeals case.

justice-scaleUnder Georgia law, the license of any person charged with DUI can be “administratively” suspended by the DDS even before a person’s DUI case is resolved. After being arrested for DUI, if you register above a .08 (or .02 for drivers under age 21)  on the State breath machine, or if you “refuse” to submit to a state chemical test, the arresting officer takes your license and gives you a copy of a “1205” form, which acts as a temporary driver’s license. He sends in your license and the original 1205 to DDS.

You then have 10 business days in which to send in a letter, along with the $150 filing fee, requesting a hearing on the issue of whether you will receive an administrative license suspension. If you fail to do so, your license is automatically suspended 30 days after the arrest for up to 1 year!

In the past, DDS has “waived” the 10 day requirement if they received the letter close to the deadline and the filing fee was submitted. That policy apparently changed last year, and this case, Mikell v. Hortenstine,  decided in late 2015, now puts everyone on notice that the DDS does not mess around when it comes to deadlines. Look at the facts of this case:

An officer arrested Hortenstine for DUI on Sept. 25, 2014 and served him with a notice of suspension of his driver’s license. Hortenstine hired a traffic attorney 8 days before the deadline, BUT the attorney failed to send in the letter until the 11th business day, one day outside the time period!

The trial court had some compassion for Hortenstine, and found that since he had provided all of the information to his lawyer in a timely manner, the DDS could not suspend his license without a hearing. However, in a cold and heartless decision, our Court of Appeals said,

“Since the lawyer was acting as an agent for Hortenstine, and since we are bound by the acts of our agents, the fact that the letter was sent 11 business days instead of 10 precluded Hortenstine from having a hearing, and the license suspension is upheld.”

I suppose the moral of the story is that you need to:

  1. Hire a DUI lawyer as soon after your arrest as you can, and
  2. Make sure that your DUI lawyer is experienced as well as competent and can be trusted to get that letter in well before the 10-day deadline.

Are You a First Time DUI Offender? Here’s What You Should Do Next

Your first DUI arrest can be an anxious time. You have just endured being arrested, handcuffed and taken to jail—probably not the fun time you imagined upon heading out for the night. If you are wondering what typically happens in your case, let Georgia DUI attorney Mickey Roberts lead you to the path of successfully dealing with DUIs when it’s your first time.

arrested for dui
First, it is important to hire an experienced DUI lawyer who has a reputation in the legal community as aggressively and successfully defending DUIs. It’s important to acquire a lawyer who also has long standing professional relationships with police officers, judges, and prosecutors.

When you were arrested for DUI, you should receive a citation for your DUI charges which will have your initial court date on it. You may also have received a “1205 form”, which is a 30 day permit to drive and is also notice that the State will try to suspend your license BEFORE your court date.

Once you have hired an experienced lawyer, a “10 day” letter will be sent to Driver’s Services immediately, which will keep your license valid past the first 30 day period. Additionally, an “open records request” to the State will be sent, requesting all of the evidence they have that relates to your case. Once the evidence is received, a report which outlines any possible defenses and the recommendations on how to proceed with your case will be sent. The initial goal of your lawyer is to look for any possible means to win your case, giving you enough information upon which you can make an informed decision on how to proceed.

At some point in time you’ll be given several options, which will include pleading guilty, pleading to a “lesser offense”, or fighting your case with either a bench or jury trial.  Mickey Roberts can help you make a decision by also providing you with information relative to license suspension, possible sentence and possible ramifications with changes to your driving record and license, insurance, employment loss.

Not only can hiring a qualified, knowledgeable DUI attorney be beneficial to winning your case, it can also make the process less confusing. If you are arrested for DUI or other serious traffic matters, contact MrGaDUI today. Also be sure to follow Mickey Roberts on FacebookTwitter, and Google+ for more traffic law updates and news.

Case of the Month: When Parking the Car is the Best Option

Even efforts to make good decisions can go awry when you do not hire the right DUI lawyer. However, in November’s case of the month, because my client went the correct route in getting out of her DUI case, a good outcome was possible in a not-so-good situation.

My client had been drinking when she found herself in a situation where she needed to leave for her safety. After she started driving, she realized that she might have had too much to drink to drive safely. After pulling into a subdivision and parking on a side street, she turned off the car, took the keys out of the ignition, moved over to the passenger side, and drifted off to sleep. Almost 2 hours later, a resident called the police, who came to the scene to investigate. After waking my client up, the officer arrested her for DUI.

One of the key elements in prosecuting a DUI is that the State must prove that you were in control of a moving vehicle and were impaired to drive.  It is possible to be convicted of DUI, EVEN if the officer does not see you driving. You can be convicted by “circumstantial” evidence. For instance, if you are in a parked car with the engine running, you admit that you had parked the car recently, or if you are involved in an accident and admit that you were driving.

The key elements to not being found guilty of DUI–even though you tried to do the right thing by parking your car–are as follows:

  1. Turn the engine off, take the keys out of the ignition, and move to the back seat.
  2. If approached by the police, do not answer any questions relating to when your driving ended, how much you had to drink, etc.
  3. Do NOT submit to any field evaluations.
  4. Do NOT take any breath test at the scene.
  5. If you think you would register above the legal limit, DON’T take any state test.

In this particular case, I was able to find a compassionate prosecutor who agreed to dismiss the DUI charge. One would think that if a person was trying to do the right thing by getting off the road, the State would give you a break. However, this rarely happens in the DUI world. Therefore, you need to exercise your Constitutional rights and protect yourself as much as you can.

For more DUI arrest advice you can connect with me on FacebookTwitter and Google+.  Keep reading the MRGADUI blog for the latest traffic law news.

10 Good Reasons to Avoid a Second DUI Conviction

All of my clients arrested for DUI for the first time seem to have one thing in common: the trauma associated with being arrested, handcuffed, and taken to jail for four to twelve hours before release after bonding. Even a first DUI conviction, with license suspension, minimal jail time, 40 hours of community service and so forth, can be time consuming, embarrassing, and a hassle.




Multiply this by 100 times and you will get the level of trauma associated with a second DUI conviction. In Georgia, license suspensions are determined by how many DUI convictions one has received in a 5 year period. For minimum sentence purposes, Georgia looks at how many DUI convictions one has had in a 10 year period.why-photo




Here are 10 good reasons to avoid a 2nd DUI conviction, whether in a 5 year or a 10 year period:

  1. The minimum jail time is three days, although most jurisdictions give between 10 and 120 days incarceration.
  2. A minimum sentence of 240 hours community service is given for second DUI convictions.
  3. Completion of a DUI school, a 20-hour class costing around $300, is required before your license can be reinstated. 
  4. A minimum fine of $600 is assessed. Again, most courts do not sentence you to a minimum fine; most fines end up being in excess of $1000.
  5. A clinical alcohol and drug evaluation must be completed, along with any recommended treatment.  This can be anywhere from an outpatient program to an inpatient program, and can also include AA meetings; this is also required before any limited permit is available or license reinstatement. 
  6. A second DUI conviction also requires the installation of an Interlock Ignition Device (IID) on any car you drive, as a prerequisite for a limited permit and license reinstatement.  IIDs cost money to install, maintain, and remove.
  7. Tag forfeiture on any car titled in your name
  8. Your photo, along with notice of the DUI conviction, will be published in the local legal newspaper.
  9. Possible sentence to a DUI court program, a 12 -24 month program involving weekly meetings and group meetings with the DUI court judge.
  10. A total of 18 months of either no driving or limited driving:  license suspension for at least 120 days with no driving; followed by possibly 12 months of limited driving with the Interlock Device (IID) and 2 more months of limited driving with no IID.





So as you can see, if you are charged with a second DUI, it is imperative to hire an experienced DUI lawyer who knows the law and defends DUI cases. For over 33 years, Atlanta DUI attorney Mickey Roberts has been aggressively fighting DUI cases with a success rate of 98% on contested cases. If you find yourself facing a second or multiple DUIs, you owe it to yourself to at least talk with MrGaDUI.  You can also connect with Mickey on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Source Code Defense Dead For DUI cases?

Recently, the Georgia Supreme Court has resolved the source code issue brought up with Cronkite v. The State case. DUI defense lawyers in Georgia have been filing motions to secure out-of-state witnesses from CMI Alcoblow Breath Test to bring the source code software to Georgia for inspection of errors and flaws.supremecourtsteps




The source code is the software that operates the Intox. 5000 breath test, which measures an individual’s blood alcohol content. To get an order for an out-of-state witness, the proponent of the subpoena must show that the witness is a “material witness”.  A material witness is defined as “a witness who can testify about matters having some logical connection with consequential facts”.




The Supreme Court holds that, in order to show that the out-of-state witness who was to provide testimony regarding the source code was a “material witness” in this case; Cronkite was required to show the witness’ testimony regarding the source code bore a logical connection to facts supporting the existence of an error in his breath test results.




In other words, the Court places the burden on the Defendant in a DUI case to show facts which would support the existence of a possible error in his specific breath test results.




How in the world a Defendant would ever be capable of doing that is beyond me, and apparently is beyond the folks down at the Ga. Supreme Court as well.




To learn more about DUIs, or if you are in need of legal representation for other traffic violations, please contact MRGADUI. Don’t forget to connect with attorney Mickey Roberts on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for the latest DUI news.

Georgia to Lower the Legal Limit for Boating and Drinking

As the warmer seasons arrive, popular spots like the lake and beach fill up with families, swimmers, and boaters. With recent stories of boating accidents occurring on the lake, Georgia state legislators have discussed the existing blood alcohol limits for boaters. Currently, Georgia’s blood alcohol content (BAC) limit for boat drivers is 0.10, up 0.02 from the standard in place for driving a motor vehicle under the influence. Governor Nathan Deal and other state legislators have been pushing to lower the limit to 0.08 to match the driving law stating, “If you are too drunk to drive an automobile, you are too drunk to drive a boat.” Of course .08 is just a legal limit imposed; no studies show that a person is “drunk” at that level.mr gadui




Gwinnett traffic and DUI attorney Mickey Roberts has represented clients for traffic and DUI offenses on the road and on the water. Even though 0.02 is not a drastic change, it should remind boaters to think again. Boat accidents are just as dangerous as car accidents, and Mickey encourages boaters to understand the laws of operating a boat on a lake or river in Georgia. While we are all familiar with the fines and penalties related to a DUI conviction, a BUI (boating under the influence) conviction has the same consequences whether you are operating a small boat or a yacht.




If you are suspected of boating while intoxicated, you will be pulled over by police that patrol Georgia’s lakes and rivers. The protocol remains the same as if you were suspected of driving a car under the influence with being asked to perform field sobriety tests and/or submit to a breathalyzer test. Consequences for a BUI conviction will still include fees and possible jail time, and the ability to operate a boat is suspended. As Mickey often reminds his clients, it is important to remember the 4 simple rules when stopped by police to avoid incriminating yourself and to understand your rights as a driver.




The state House of Representatives has passed Governor Deal’s proposal, however, it is still under review from the Senate. Be sure to stay up-to-date with our blog for more traffic law news. To inquire about legal representation for DUI or other traffic offenses, contact Mr. GaDUI today. Also, connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

View MR GA DUI YouTube Channel for Helpful Traffic & DUI Information

Atlanta DUI and traffic defense attorney, Mickey G. Roberts has been representing clients for more than 30 years. Although he frequently provides counsel for DUI cases, he also represents those charged with other traffic offenses including reckless driving, vehicular homicide and possession of illegal drugs.youtube




As laws can often be hard to understand, Mickey is dedicated to providing his clients with clear, concise information.  Through his MR GA DUI  website and frequent presence at local events, he shares with others his knowledge about Georgia’s laws and drivers’ rights.




Mickey Roberts’ YouTube channel features short videos answering your frequently asked traffic and DUI questions.  Video topics include “what to do if stopped by the police” and “what are the standard field sobriety tests?”.  During his short, 2 minute videos, he’ll briefly explain and discuss these hot topics. Be sure to check back often as Mickey adds educational driver information.




Continue reading MR GA DUI’s blog for the latest news about Georgia traffic laws. You can also connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ for information on driving issues.   You can also submit questions you’d like to have Mickey answer in one of his educational videos by contacting one of his social media profiles.

New Federal Transportation Money Brings Funds for Teen Driver Programs, Education, and Enforcement

The Federal Transportation Bill signed into law last month brings with it $46 million for state incentive grants to fortify distracted-driving programs over the next two years as well as $27 million for states that adopt safety standards like graduated licensing programs and prohibiting cell phone usage while driving.




Teen drivers in Atlanta would be the group most directly influenced by a change to our existing state graduated drivers’ license programs. Currently, in agreement with the standards set forth by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, teen drivers must be at least 15 years old to obtain their drivers’ permit.  As well, new drivers must log at least 40 hours of practice driving, 6 of which must be completed at night before they are eligible to take the written and field driving tests to obtain a Georgia drivers’ license.  Once they have their license, teens may not carry any passengers for the first six months, no more than one passenger under the age of 21 for the second six months, and no more than three passengers in the car at one time until the driver reaches 18.




While Georgia hasn’t made any official announcements about changes to the current cell phone and driving laws or teen driving laws, some safety group representatives are optimistic about the potential of the new Federal funds, “We know that new drivers have more crashes than more experienced ones,” says John Ulczycki, group vice president at the National Safety Council.




As a father who has defended clients charged with traffic violations in Atlanta for more than 30 years, I understand firsthand the long lasting effects teen driving violations like speeding, reckless driving, and under 21 DUI can have on a young person’s adult life.  Be sure to continue reading my blog and connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for the latest teen driving law updates.