atlanta dui lawyer

Why Motions Are Important in a DUI Case

One of my recent cases shows why it is so important to consider filing a “Motion to Suppress” in every Driving Under the Influence (DUI) case. Many attorneys structure their fees to always include a motion to suppress. I don’t normally do this, because there may be some cases where even a motion to suppress is not called for, and in those cases, a defendant may pay more than necessary to resolve their case.

That being said, however, in MOST DUI cases it might be worth the money to consider filing a motion to suppress.

What is a Motion to Suppress?

A Motion to Suppress is a legal pleading which asks the Court to either throw out the case or throw out (suppress) evidence such as the State Breath Test.  While the vast majority of motions to suppress are not granted, the mere fact of forcing the State’s witnesses to show up for court always renders the possibility of good things happening for a Defendant.

I tell my clients there are three potentially positive outcomes of going forward with a hearing on a Motion to Suppress:

  1. The State’s witnesses don’t show and you either win the case or force the State to offer a reduction of the charges.
  2. The State’s witnesses do show, and you are able to cross-examine them just like you would at a trial, which opens the possibility for some or all of the case to be thrown out.
  3. Even if the Court denies the Motion, it can sometimes show the State that their witness doesn’t testify as well as perhaps they would like, which gives the State pause to consider whether to go forward with the charges or offer a reduction.

How a Motion to Suppress Helped My Client

On this recent case, I had filed a Motion to Suppress which included a request to exclude a breath test due to 4th Amendment search issues. While the “stopping” officer did appear at the hearing, the arresting officer and breath test operator failed to show up.  The Court indicated  that it would not grant the State’s request for a continuance, meaning that if the hearing went forward, the State would not be able to prove the officer had “probable cause” for the arrest, and the entire case would be thrown out.  Of course, the State could have also dismissed the case and re-accused the client within six months.

Based on the above, my client accepted an offer to plead to a reduced charge, which kept him from losing his job and also kept his license from being suspended.

A lawyer should consider a Motion to Suppress in every DUI case, although quite frankly, many attorneys rarely file these motions. That is why it is so important to hire a lawyer who is qualified and experienced specifically in DUI defense.

Ask Mickey Roberts: What is the Definition of a Serious Injury?

If you are involved in an accident and charged with either Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Reckless Driving, and because of that driving, you cause another person to suffer serious injury, you could be charged with a felony, punishable with imprisonment anywhere from 3 to 15 years.

Serious injury by vehicle is one of two types of DUI cases which can be a felony case, with the other being vehicular homicide.

What is the definition of a “serious injury?”  A serious injury is “when another is deprived of a member of his body, by rendering a member of his body useless, by seriously disfiguring his body or a member thereof, or by causing organic brain damage which renders the body or any member thereof useless.”

Here are some examples of Serious Injury by Vehicle from actual Georgia auto accident cases:

  1. Broken bone(s), even a little toe!
  2. Stitches
  3. Losing vision in an eye
  4. Losing hearing
  5. Contusion of the brain
  6. Leg injury which resulted in temporary use
  7. Facial lacerations
  8. Disfigurement from surgery

 

Anytime you are involved in an accident involving another person, and you are charged with DUI or reckless driving, it is IMPORTANT that you hire an experienced traffic lawyer immediately.  There are many things which must be done soon after the accident, like notifying your insurance company, finding out the extent of any possible injuries to the other party, and obtaining copies of the police accident and incident reports. In addition, many times I will go ahead and hire an accident reconstructionist so that he can evaluate the accident site and evidence immediately.

A felony conviction can be devastating. The likelihood of not only prison time but also the disabilities that go along with such a conviction call for an aggressive, well-planned defense.

If you find yourself facing such a situation, please call me, Mickey G. Roberts, PC, immediately!

2014: A Year in Review with Mickey Roberts, P.C.

December is often a time when we find ourselves in a sort of hibernation mode, confining ourselves more indoors and having more time to reflect on the passing year. As we head into 2015 I myself took some time to reflect and I am thankful: 2014 was a good year for my practice. Of the 62 cases closed this year, to date, of those were “DUI cases won”, while 16 cases resulted in guilty pleas; there were no guilty verdicts this year. I was geared up to go to trial for many of my cases but as circumstance would have it, it never came to that for various reasons including several cases being resolved without the need of a judge or jury!
There were several highlights that stick out in my mind, but I would like to share just a few with you:

Case of Year: The case of the year started out as a nasty case. My client was originally charged with DUI, fleeing, obstruction, reckless driving, and numerous other minor traffic offenses. He was stopped by Ga. State Patrol, forcibly pulled from his car and tasered. His shoulder was torn from its socket when officers strongly pulled him from the ground. Using the State Troopers reports and videos against them, I was able to obtain a dismissal on all counts, EXCEPT a no contest plea to failure to maintain lane.

This case, along with the more famous recent cases involving police brutality, shows the need for every police encounter to be videotaped, both for the citizen’s protection as well as that of the police officer.

Restriction/Expungements: I had 4 clients whose arrest records were restricted from public access after I filed actions under the new restriction law. If you have been charged and fingerprinted for any reason in the past, I will look into your case at no charge to see if you are eligible for restriction.

Drug Search Cases: I also handle drug possession cases and in 2014, I had 2 cases where a felony drug charge was dismissed because the search was illegal.

As I enter my 35th year of law practice, I look forward to continuing to aggressively defend your traffic law cases. Looking ahead to 2015, I am excited to begin taking on personal injury claims again and providing even more legal representation to clients. Be on the lookout for my new website, www.mickeyroberts.com, where I will be discussing additional traffic law topics coming in 2015!!

Without you entrusting me to help with your legal concerns, my practice would not be possible and for that, I am eternally grateful. Thank you for your continued support and here’s to another great year. I wish each and every one of you a very happy and prosperous New Year!

No Laughing Matter: The Serious Consequences of a Second DUI Conviction

One DUI is certainly one more than anyone needs or wants, but a second DUI conviction carries the very real possibility of hefty fees and fines, significant jail time, hundreds of hours of community service, long-term license suspension, and tag forfeiture of any car titled in your name.
The Georgia legislature has enacted strongly worded laws and put in place severe penalties for anyone convicted of driving under the influence for the second time. While some of the penalties may be lessened at the discretion of a lenient judge, in general, second-time offenders should expect to receive a lengthy, expensive, and difficult punishment.

Expense
A second DUI carries a heavy financial burden. The state of Georgia charges a minimum of $600 in DUI fines, but in many cases judges raise the fine to over $1,000. This fine is in addition to 40% of that amount in statutory surcharges. While that number by itself is daunting, keep in mind that it does not include DUI attorney’s fees, lost wages due to missed work, the expense of completing court-mandated alcohol or driving education, or the transportation costs incurred after you lose your license.

Time
Second-time Georgia DUI offenders face between three days and 12 months in jail. A judge may reduce the requisite jail time, but offenders must spend a minimum of 72 hours behind bars. In Metro Atlanta, it is common for second-time DUI offenders to spend around 10 days in jail. You must complete a clinical alcohol and drug evaluation and attend what is commonly referred to as ‘DUI school.’ Factor in any time spent in your attorney’s office, in court, or performing the mandatory 240 hours of community service, and a second DUI is likely to have extremely time-consuming consequences.

Stress
The stress of a second arrest, incarceration, court date, and loss of any driving for a at least four months  – can take a heavy emotional toll on both the offender and his or her loved ones. Adding to the stress of the experience is the embarrassment of having your photo and DUI conviction published in the local legal newspaper. When the requisite four-month period of license suspension is up, offenders must deal with the stress and expense of applying for a limited permit. In order to obtain a limited permit, the offender’s vehicle must be outfitted – at the offender’s expense – with an Interlock Ignition Device (IID) for 12 months. Then you are entitled to a limited permit with no IID for 2 more months before becoming eligible for full license reinstatement.

Clearly, a second DUI conviction creates significant hardship for the offender. If you have been charged as a second-time DUI offender, it’s crucial to contact an experienced DUI lawyer who knows the law and defends DUI cases. Atlanta DUI attorney Mickey Roberts has been successfully fighting for drivers for over 34 years. Connect with Mickey on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.

 

Driving Habits That Could Lead to a DUI Arrest

Unless a police officer smells your breath as you drive by, he or she will have to rely on visual cues based on your driving behavior to determine whether you are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Most people know that fast, reckless driving can indicate DUI, but you may not know that some seemingly innocent driving habits can lead to a traffic stop and potentially a DUI arrest. If you’ve been drinking at all – even if you’re not over the legal limit of .08 – these driving behaviors can give police officers probable cause to stop and even arrest you.
should you take test after dui arrest

Improper Acceleration & Braking
We’ve all been in the car with a stop-and-go driver whose jerky braking nearly causes whiplash. It can be irritating, but it can also get you pulled over on suspicion of DUI. Drivers who have been drinking mimic the behavior of such a driver; braking too late or too soon, accelerating sharply for no apparent reason, and failing to maintain a reasonably constant rate of speed are all signs of DUI.

Carelessness
It happens to everyone: the driver in front of you suddenly begins slowing down, almost stopping, and then abruptly makes a turn. “Nice blinker,” you mutter. Or maybe you’re on the interstate, where most drivers are doing north of 70 mph, and see someone change lanes without signaling. It’s obviously dangerous, but failing to signal can also signal to cops that you may be under the influence. The same is true for forgetting to turn on headlights when it’s dark, raining, or foggy or taking longer than normal to respond to traffic signals, such as a light change from red to green.

Poor Judgment
Did you know that tailgating can be an indicator of impaired driving? It’s tempting to “ride” someone who’s driving more slowly than you’d like, but following too closely can get you pulled over on suspicion of DUI. Other examples of poor judgment include rapid and frequent lane changes, especially in dangerously narrow spaces, and turning too sharply, broadly, quickly, or slowly.

Failing to Maintain Lane Position
It’s critical to stay in your lane while driving for both your safety and the safety of other drivers. Failure to do so could result in a traffic stop and subsequent DUI charge. Weaving, straddling a line (a common practice among sober drivers in rural areas with very little traffic and road lighting), swerving, and drifting on a curve are just a few examples.
If you find yourself arrested and charged with DUI – no matter whether or how much you’ve been drinking – get in touch with an attorney with extensive experience in handling Georgia DUI cases. As an attorney with over 33 years of experience handling both DUI and traffic-law cases, I urge you to contact me, Mickey Roberts, and to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for all the latest in DUI news and laws.

March’s Case of the Month: How an Underage DUI Became a Simple MIP

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.

case of the monthSo 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.

If you are arrested for DUI or other traffic violations, contact Mr. GaDUI today. Also be sure to follow me, Mickey Roberts on FacebookTwitter, and Google+ for more traffic law updates and news.

New Practice Area: Criminal History Restriction

arrested for duiDo any of the following categories apply to you after being charged with a crime? You…



  • Were found not guilty
  • Had your case dismissed
  • Entered into a first offender type plea
  • Were under 21 at the time of the charge




If any of the classifications above pertain to your case, you’ll want to talk to Georgia DUI attorney Mickey Roberts about the new Georgia “Restriction” Law. The law was formerly known as expungment, a process whereby a person’s criminal arrest is deleted. In most States expungment is not available for a DUI arrest; however, involving an experienced attorney can make all of the difference in finding success from your case.



The new Georgia “Restriction” Law enables you to, under certain circumstances, go back and have your arrest restricted from public access or corrected if it is showing an incorrect disposition. You may also be able to get court and jail records sealed.



Recently, I have been able to get a 2002 DUI arrest record restricted from public access, diminishing the possibility of the past creeping into your present and getting in the way of your opportunities. Additionally, I had a record corrected, enabling my client to either obtain the record or have it restricted, allowing them to at least be able to show employers that the underlying DUI in the case was dismissed.



Don’t let your DUI obstruct your career path. Contact Mr. GA DUI today. Also be sure to follow me, Mickey Roberts on FacebookTwitter, and Google+ for more traffic law updates and news.



DUI Defined: What is a DUI in Georgia?

There are many types of DUIs (driving under the influence) in Georgia, but the most common type is that a person is “driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.”

Police Officer - Eye Coordination

What does it mean, legally, to be “under the influence?” Firstly, it means that you are less safe to drive than if you had not consumed alcohol or drugs. But, hey, that depends on the person’s tolerance, right? So, according to the Pattern Jury Charges that judges in Georgia read to jurors before deliberating, this is what “less safe” means:

A person is less safe to drive when that person is less efficient, less skillful, less coherent, less able, and less proficient to drive a car.

Take notice: there is nothing that describes “less safe” as having your eyes jerk (examined by the Hortizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test) or performing gymnastic floor exercises recognized as field sobriety tests.  There is no indication about bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, or the smell of alcohol. The definition also does not mention anything about alcohol or drug blood levels.  The definition has to do with whether a person’s fine motor skills have been affected so much that they cannot effectively drive a car.

So, the next time you are on a jury and are asked to decide if someone was the DUI-version of “less safe”, remember the context of driving ability. Is there evidence that the person was able, efficient, skilful or proficient while driving the car? Or is there simply collateral evidence that may or may not have anything to do with actual driving skill?

If you are arrested for DUI or other traffic violations, contact Mr. GaDUI today. Also be sure to follow me, Mickey Roberts on FacebookTwitter, and Google+ for more traffic law updates and news.  

The Problem with Breathalyzers

As we approach the holiday season, parties and alcohol will be as equally present as the increased law enforcement on the road. While it is always the best choice to have a designated driver to take you to and from your festivities, some people choose to drive after having a drink or two. In many cases, taking the precaution of limiting yourself to minimal alcohol leaves you safely under the legal limit. However, Georgia DUI lawyer Mickey Roberts often explains to his clients that if you are stopped and tested by a breathalyzer, you may be accused of drinking far more. How does this happen, and how can you stop it?



mouth alcohol breathalyzer

As part of the 4 simple rules to remember when stopped by the police to avoid DUI, remember not to submit to any voluntary roadside field sobriety evaluations—breathalyzers included.

In fact, it is advised not to take any state tests if you are arrested, especially if you believe you might be over the legal limit of .08. Unfortunately, even if you do not believe you are over the limit, a breathalyzer may show a very different, incriminating result.




The problem with breathalyzers is the false reading sometimes caused by mouth alcohol. When a breathalyzer analyzes your breath for blood alcohol concentration (BAC), the internal computer believes it is reading from air exhaled from deep within the lungs, also known as alveolar air. However, if your last sip of alcohol was recent, the sample very well may come from your mouth or throat. Even if a very small amount remains, the breathalyzer will report a very high BAC.




Another reason the breathalyzer may report higher than accurate numbers is if the DUI suspect has recently belched or is affected by acid reflux, causing what could be alcohol-filled liquids and gases of the stomach to rise into the esophagus and mouth’s soft tissue, where it remains until it is dissipated by saliva. The action of saliva rinsing the mouth and tissues of alcohol takes roughly 15-20 minutes. An additional cause of inaccurate breathalyzer reading is the usage of mouthwash or breath freshener, which you may be better off not using if you are attempting to cover up the smell of alcohol after consumption. Also, if you have dental work or removable components such as dentures, you are subject to much longer periods of holding high mouth alcohol.




To elude the mouth alcohol problem, it is best to stop drinking—even at minimal levels—hours before driving. To avoid DUI, it is best to always have a designated driver on hand to exacerbate the risk altogether.  If you need DUI help, please Contact MRGADUI  today.  Be sure to follow MrGaDUI on FacebookTwitter and Google+ for more information on Georgia DUI laws.

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.