atlanta traffic lawyer

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!

So You Got a Ticket Out of State: What You Need to Know

Summertime usually means traveling to the beach or mountains or lake. If you are planning on driving out of the state this summer, here are some scenarios to think about:

  1. Your teenager gets an out-of-state speeding ticket in Gulfshores, Alabama. How does that affect his/her license in GA?

If the speed is high enough that it would suspend the license in Georgia, then the Georgia license will eventually be suspended. If the offense is one that would suspend the license in Alabama, then the Georgia license will also eventually be suspended, and your teen will have to reinstate driving privileges in Alabama BEFORE getting their Georgia license reinstated.

  1. You get a DUI in Florida, and you have a Georgia license.

If you are convicted of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in Florida, your Georgia license will be suspended. You will NOT be able to get a limited permit to drive to work, and you will only be able to get license reinstatement in Georgia once you have satisfied Florida’s reinstatement provisions.

  1. You receive a ticket out of state which can suspend a driver’s license either in the other state or Georgia.

Your Georgia license will be suspended and you will not be able to get Georgia license reinstatement until you have satisfied all the issuing state’s reinstatement procedures.

For some reason, many folks think that an out of state ticket has no bearing on their GA license. Unfortunately, this is not accurate. Therefore, you should call or email me, Mickey Roberts, PC, if you or your family member receives a ticket out of state.

What to Do if You are in a Car Accident

Would you know what to do if you were involved in an auto accident? How you handle an accident in the minutes and days following the collision can have a significant impact on its long-term repercussion. Below is a list of things that should be done, if at all possible, when any automobile accident occurs.

  1. Stay at the scene. You should never leave the scene of an accident. If you do leave the scene, especially if someone has sustained injuries or damages, you could be charged with a serious crime.
  2. Check on all drivers and passengers. Before looking at any property damage, check to make sure everyone is okay, and call for medical attention if needed.
  3. Call the police. Make sure a police report is filed, especially if there are damages or injuries, and keep all documentation of any citation the officer issues.
  4. Exchange information with other driver. Get other drivers’ names, addresses, phone numbers, driver’s license numbers, license plate numbers, and insurance information. Be cordial, BUT NEVER APOLOGIZE FOR ANYTHING. If you do, this can later be used as evidence that you were at fault for the accident.
  5. Talk to any witnesses. Ask any witnesses what they saw, and get their names, addresses, and phone numbers so that they can be reached later if necessary.
  6. Call your insurance agent. As soon as possible, call your insurance agent and let him/her know that you have been involved in an accident. Be truthful with them about the accident, because dishonesty could lead the insurance company to deny coverage.
  7. Take pictures. Be sure to photograph any damage to all vehicles involved, as well as any other relevant images (e.g., ice or debris in the road that contributed to the accident).
  8. Use caution in discussing the accident with anyone other than your attorney or insurance company. This applies even to family and friends, because what you say may later be used as evidence against you.
  9. If you are injured, contact a personal injury attorney Be sure to examine attorneys’ qualifications and hire a lawyer who is experienced specifically with personal injuries that resulted from auto accidents.
  10. Keep track of your medical bills. Documentation is crucial, so beyond medical bills, also maintain a written diary of not only your injuries, but any emotional distress you may be suffering. In addition, keep a calendar of days missed from work, and maintain a list of anything you are unable to do that you would normally do.
  11. Be wary of the other parties’ insurance companies. Don’t settle a claim or accept an offer from the other side’s insurance company without knowing for sure that you have a doctor’s prognosis. Otherwise, you have no way to knowing the extent of your injuries and the resources needed to rectify the consequences of your injury.

 

After 34 years of experience in handling auto accidents, I have first-hand knowledge that following these guidelines, as well as hiring an experienced, competent lawyer, will help to ensure that your accident is justly and properly handled, and if necessary, will aid you in receiving the maximum compensation possible.

Dollars and Cents: The Financial Consequences of a DUI Conviction Under 21

Your teens and early 20s are a thrilling time: you’re getting ready to start your “adult” life and you’re trying to start off on the right foot as a responsible adult. It may be cliché to say that what happens when you’re young can impact the rest of your life, but it’s true. DUI convictions are no exception to this rule, especially when you’re under 21.

Everyone talks about the potential consequences like jail time and having the conviction on your record, but you have another consideration to keep in mind: finances. Just how expensive can a DUI be? It can reach immeasurable levels because the financial burden comes in one hit after another:

  • Fines – This may be obvious, but DUIs under 21 can carry heavy fines, even up to $1,000 depending on your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC).
  • DUI school – You may be required to complete a Risk Reduction class, also known as “DUI school.” In Georgia, enrollment in these classes cost over $350.
  • Alcohol Evaluation: You may have to attend and complete an alcohol evaluation and any treatment if recommended. Costs can be anywhere from $150 to over $2000.
  • Missed work or school – DUIs can become very time-consuming very quickly, between attorney meetings, court dates, Risk Reduction classes, and especially court-ordered community service. If you’re working, it’s likely that all these extra time commitments will cause you to miss some time at work. Or, if you’re in school full-time, you’ll likely need to miss some class time or at least some necessary study time, which can eventually result in delayed graduation.
  • Insurance premiums – Because you’re a less experienced driver, your car insurance company already considers you a riskier driver than someone who’s over the age of 21. But with a DUI conviction added to your driving record as well, their risk to insure you increases tremendously, which could cause your monthly premiums to skyrocket.
  • Transportation – A DUI conviction will result in a suspension of your driver’s license for a minimum of either 6 months or 1 year, depending on your BAC. Plus, since you’re under 21, you don’t have the opportunity for a limited permit to drive to work and school, so chances are that you’ll be relying on (and paying for) a significant amount of public transit or taxi cabs. Keep in mind, though, that if you’re responsible for car payments, the payments don’t go away just because you can’t drive the car, so you’ll end up paying your regular car payments PLUS the public transit or cab fees you’d need to pay if you didn’t own a car.
  • Future Employment– Many employers will not hire you with a DUI conviction on your record.

Clearly, there are huge financial consequences for a DUI conviction, and those consequences are even greater as a driver who’s under the age of 21. If you’re arrested and charged with a DUI, your best chance to avoid a conviction is to work with a highly skilled traffic lawyer who specializes in DUI defense. Get in touch with me, Mickey Roberts, PC, to discuss your specific case, and keep up with Mr. GA DUI on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ to stay up-to-date with tips and changes in traffic law.

States Are Struggling In Defining Marijuana DUIs

As more states legalize personal use of marijuana, they are now trying to define just how much marijuana in a person’s blood would be considered as an impaired driver.  States such as Colorado and Washington are trying to agree on an amount of Delta 9 THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) that would cause someone to be impaired to drive, and would therefore constitute a “per se” DUI.  The amount that they came up with is five or more nanograms of Delta 9 THC per milliliter, yet there are disagreements on whether even that amount is too low or too high.  “Even the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) acknowledges that detecting impairment caused by use of marijuana can be trickier than it is for alcohol.”  (NY Times, June 9, 2013)Police Officer - Eye Coordination




“Earlier this year, in a widely viewed broadcast, a Seattle TV station, KIRO, had three volunteers smoke marijuana before driving.  They started out well enough, and each were capable of driving safely even after they far exceeded the state’s 5 nanogram limit.”  (NY Times, June 9, 2013)




In states that have not legalized recreational use, such as Georgia, the legal definition of someone under the influence of marijuana is someone who is rendered “incapable of driving safely.”  There is currently no “per se” marijuana in Georgia.  There is a DUI “per se” level which is .08 grams but in Georgia the State must prove that you are “rendered incapable of driving safely due to marijuana.”  The State generally must show less safe driving, failure to perform balance tests, or physical manifestations of being “stoned.”  Most officers lack the training to accurately articulate someone who may be impaired due to marijuana; therefore, it is important that you do NOT voluntarily give the State any evidence which would incriminate you.




The Simple Rules apply if you are stopped in Georgia and are suspected of being under the influence of marijuana:

  • Don’t admit to smoking.
  • Don’t do any field tests.
  • Don’t agree to a blood or urine test.
  • Make the State prove that you are under the influence to the extent you were “rendered incapable of driving safely.”





For the latest on DUI and traffic laws news, visit the MRGADUI blog.  To inquire about legal representation for traffic offenses, contact Mickey Roberts today.  Also be sure to connect with Mickey on Facebook,Twitter and Google+.

5 Common Questions about BUI in Georgia

1. What is a BUI?
The Georgia law of boating under the influence says no person shall operate a vessel while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination thereof, when it is less safe to do so; while having a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or above within 3 hours of operating such vessel; if there is any amount of marijuana or a controlled substance in their blood or urine; or has prescription drugs in their blood and is rendered incapable of operating a vessel safely.
what is a BUI?




2. What is considered a “vessel” for BUI purposes?

“Vessel” means every description of watercraft, other than a seaplane on the water or a sailboard, used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on water and specifically includes, but is not limited to, inflatable rafts and homemade vessels. The vessel does NOT need to be motorized.




3. Can my driver’s license be suspended if I am convicted of BUI?
No, only your “privilege to operate a vessel” can be suspended. Your privilege to operate can be suspended anywhere from 30 days to 5 years, depending on the number of BUI convictions you have.




4. What gives the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) the right to stop my boat?
Under current Georgia law, the DNR or any other law enforcement officer can stop your vessel for any reason, including verifying proper documentation and safety equipment on board. The police do NOT need articulable suspicion to stop you as they would need when stopping your car.




5. What are the penalties for a BUI conviction?
Besides loss of privilege to operate a vessel for a period of time, BUIs are misdemeanors punishable by a maximum of 12 months in jail and a $1000 fine.

BUIs are very similar to DUIs, with officers using field sobriety tests, portable breath tests, and intoximeter breath machines to prove your guilt. Therefore, it is important to hire an experienced BUI and traffic lawyer who will aggressively fight for your rights. If you require legal representation for BUI or any other traffic offense, contact MRGADUI today. Be sure to follow Mickey Roberts on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for more information on Georgia traffic laws.

Full Disclosure? Not for Georgia Breath Tests

Many of our government officials love the term “full disclosure” these days. Another word they like to use is “transparency”. Yet, the Georgia  Supreme Court doesn’t believe in transparency or full disclosure when it comes to breath tests. Take the recent case of Padidham v. State, decided May 7, 2012.




Let me set the scene. In Georgia, when you are arrested for DUI, the officer reads you the Implied Consent Warning (ICW), where he basically informs you that “Georgia law requires you to submit to a test of blood, breath, urine or other bodily substance to determine if you are under the influence of alcohol, but you can refuse to take such test(s). The refusal can be used against you in court, and that if you do take the test(s), you are entitled to additional independent tests of your choosing.”




Logic would tell us that it would help to know the results of the “State” test BEFORE deciding whether to get an independent test or not. For instance, if the State breath test showed a blood alcohol content of .08, .09, or something close to the limit, you might want to ask for a blood test or another type of test.




It would be very easy for the police to let you know your results immediately after submitting to a breath test as the machine prints out copies of the results immediately after you blow into the machine. However in Padidham, our Georgia Supreme Court holds that ALL an officer needs to do is inform you of your right to an independent test. The police do NOT need to tell you your actual test results. Once again this brings to mind the saying, “good enough for government work.”




To learn more about DUI and traffic violation defense, read our blog and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Radar Speed Detection Reinstituted in Gwinnett as Traffic Fatalities Jump

Have you recently noticed more police out in Gwinnett County using radar guns to catch speeders? In January 2011, only one year after the state of Georgia instituted the super speeder law, the option for Gwinnett County police and many city police in Gwinnett to use laser and radar speed detection was revoked due to an unresolved conflict between the county and city governments.




Although Georgia State Patrol could still use radar and laser detection to track drivers’ speed and Gwinnett police were able to catch speeders by pacing drivers, this revocation surely affected the number of speeding citations issued. According to an article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Gwinnett County police alone issued 29,000 speeding citations in 2010, and three-fourths of these citations were determined through the help of laser and radar gun detection.




In February 2012, the conflict was finally resolved and radar guns were returned to Gwinnett police. The police influenced by the dispute reported they operated just fine without the radars, but were definitely glad to have them back. They believe drivers are more likely to slow down if they know police are on the roads clocking their speed. With recent car accidents earlier this month resulting in three traffic fatalities over the span of five days in Gwinnett, you can probably expect to see even more police on the road.




On Friday, April 6th, a box truck crashed into the rear of a Nissan Altima sending both vehicles into a pickup truck and a minivan on I-985 S under Buford Drive. The driver and passenger of the Nissan died on impact. The other individuals involved suffered minor injuries. Police determined speed and alcohol were not factors in this accident, but the box truck driver was charged with two counts of second degree vehicular homicide. Second degree vehicular homicide is a misdemeanor resulting in a maximum sentence of 12 months, but first degree vehicular homicide is a felony and can result in 3 to 15 years in prison and license suspension.




The other traffic fatality in Gwinnett occurred April 10th at the intersection of Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road and Sugarloaf Parkway when a driver turned left in front of another driver as the stop light turned from green to yellow. The driver who was struck on the right side of his vehicle died at the scene. This incident is still under investigation to determine right of way and if speed was a factor, but driving while under the influence of alcohol did not seem to be a factor.




A leading Atlanta DUI defense lawyer, Mickey Roberts has seen many lives take an unfortunate turn due to drunk driving and vehicular homicide charges. He urges driver’s to drive carefully. Whether you drive carefully to avoid a speeding ticket or to prevent harm to yourself and other drivers, it’s important to be cautious as one bad decision can result in harsh consequences. If you have been arrested for DUI or other traffic violations, contact MrGaDUI today. Be sure to visit his website to learn more about driver’s rights, and connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ if you haven’t already.