Georgia DUI

GA Law on Taking State Chemical Tests Changes July 1!

You need to know about a change in the law regarding taking state chemical tests after being arrested for DUI. This change takes affect on July 1, 2017.

Currently, if you are arrested for DUI and either take the test and register above the legal limit, OR if you refuse the test, your license can be “administratively” suspended for either 4 months (if you take the test) or one year (refusal), prior to ever going to court on the actual DUI charge. You have 10 business days to request a hearing with Drivers Services to try and keep your license from being suspended.

Beginning July 1, this will be the law:

For a 1st DUI arrest in 5 years, whether you take the test or refuse the test, you may opt to obtain an Interlock Ignition Device on your car, which is valid for one year; OR you can opt for a hearing by sending in a request to DDS, along with a $150 fee, within 30 calendar days of the date you receive notice of the officer’s intent to proceed with an administrative hearing.

If you take the test, and opt for a hearing, your license is administratively suspended for 30 days, after which you can get license reinstatement. If you are acquitted of the DUI or the charges are reduced, your limited permit is revoked and your license is reinstated with no fee.

However, if you refuse testing and opt for a hearing, your license could be administratively suspended for a year without any possibility of a limited permit. If you waive your administrative hearing and opt for an Interlock device you can obtain a limited permit for a year. However, if you are acquitted of the DUI or the charges are reduced, you still must maintain an Interlock Device and limited permit for a year.

It appears that law has NOT changed for multiple DUI arrests in 5 years.

While installation and maintenance of Interlock Ignition Devices can be a real pain, this new law does give you the opportunity to either take the test and worst case get a limited permit for 120 days, OR refuse the test and know that you will have a limited permit for a year, regardless of whether you win your case or not.

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.

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!

Fast Facts about Alcohol

When many people hear about DUI charges, they often have the misconception that only heavy drinkers need to be concerned about the possibility of one day facing a DUI charge. However, any driver can be forced to defend themselves against an accusation of a DUI. Throughout my 35 years of legal experience, I’ve noticed that many DUIs are the result of a simple lack of information, whether it’s a misunderstanding about how much of an effect alcohol can have on the brain, or an underestimate about the dangers of driving drunk. To help Georgia drivers develop a better understanding of alcohol and its effects, I’ve compiled some quick facts and statistics that can help you become a safer driver.

facts about alcohol consumption

There’s no question that drinking and driving can have real and powerful consequences. But similarly, drunk drivers aren’t the only ones who find themselves in defense against a DUI charge. The best step any driver can take is to be knowledgeable about their rights. To learn more about your rights as a Georgia driver, explore my website or join me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, or contact me to schedule an appointment regarding you DUI or traffic law case.

Vehicular Homicide Continued: Misdemeanor, Feticide, & Serious Injury Crashes

Last month, I filled you in on the ins and outs of felony vehicular homicide. To recap, determining felony vehicular homicide depends largely on the traffic violations committed, including reckless driving, DUI, fleeing/eluding, and leaving the scene of the accident. Generally, if found guilty of felony vehicular homicide in Georgia, you can expect a punishment of 3 to 15 years in prison, though habitual violators can face up to 20 years.

As a seasoned traffic and DUI lawyer in Georgia, I have experience in defending cases involving other facets of vehicular homicide outside of felony, including misdemeanor, feticide, and serious injury crashes. All of these classifications have varying implications, but all involve a driver’s actions as the proximate cause of death or cause of serious injury. Vehicular homicide in the 2nd Degree is known as a misdemeanor. In Georgia, any person who causes the death of another person as a result of traffic violations other than the felony predicate offenses commits this offense.

For example, if you were to run a red light, crash into another car, and cause the death of another person, it would be classified as vehicular homicide in the 2nd Degree.  To be found guilty of misdemeanor vehicular homicide, the judge or jury is required to find that the person committed a traffic offense other than the felony vehicular homicide predicate offenses. Subsequently, it must be found that the person’s unlawful acts were the proximate cause of death. For this offense, you can be sentenced to a maximum of 12 months.

Another aspect of vehicular homicide is feticide by vehicle. The elements and punishment for felony feticide by vehicle are the same as felony vehicular homicide, with the same rule applying to misdemeanor vehicular homicide. Feticide by vehicle is defined as causing the death of an unborn child, at any stage of development that is carried in the womb, within a car crash.

Lastly, any person who brings about serious injury to another person as a result of reckless driving or DUI commits the offense of serious injury by vehicle. “Serious injury” is defined as “depriving a person 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.” In order to be found guilty of serious injury by vehicle, the judge or jury must find that the person committed either reckless driving or DUI. Subsequently, they must find that the person’s unlawful acts were the proximate cause of serious injury. This offense is a felony that comes with a sentence from one to 15 years in prison. If convicted of serious injury by vehicle, the person will face 3 years of driver’s license suspension, no work permit available.

Navigating the various facets of vehicular homicide and serious injury crashes can be daunting and often times confusing. If you find yourself in any of the situations described, I urge you to contact a professional to aid in your case. To contact a reputable lawyer in Georgia, contact me, Mickey Roberts. Be sure to follow me on FacebookTwitter, and Google+ for traffic law updates and news.

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.

Celebrate July 4th with Fireworks, Not Jail Time

The Independence Day holiday is upon us and many are anxiously counting down the days until the celebrations begin.  Whether heading out for a day on the lake, fireworks in the park or barbecues with friends and family, the Fourth of July means stars, stripes, food and alcohol.  When the festivities are over and it’s time to go home, it is important to know how your body is affected by alcohol to avoid DUI and spending the remainder of your holiday in jail.zero tolerance georgia




With many travelers on the road this summer, especially during the holidays, the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety (GOHS) announced that the state-wide Operation Zero Tolerance campaign has once again been launched.  Operation Zero Tolerance targets drivers suspected of driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol by increasing patrol and sobriety checkpoints now through July 7th.  Stating that the Fourth of July is one of the most dangerous holidays on Georgia roads, GOHS cited 88 alcohol-related crashes during the July 3rd-5th period in the past two years and believes that the campaign will make drivers think twice about driving after they have consumed alcohol.




In Georgia, the legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08 for adults and .02 for individuals under 21.  As discussed in a previous blog, understanding more about blood alcohol content and how it affects each individual differently is important to keep in mind as age, gender, weight, metabolism, type and number of drinks consumed are all key factors in how a person may be influenced by alcohol.  A standard drink is considered any drink that contains .06oz. or 14 grams of “pure” alcohol, which can be found in 12oz. of beer, 8oz. of malt liquor, 5oz. of wine or 1.5oz. (or single shot) of spirits or liquor.  Even if you don’t think you are showing signs of impairment or feeling intoxicated after one or two standard drinks, your BAC could say differently.  If you find yourself being suspected of DUI this Fourth of July, remember the 4 simple rules when stopped by a police officer.




If you are arrested for DUI or in need of legal representation for other traffic violations, please contact MRGADUI.  Be sure to connect with attorney Mickey Roberts on Facebook, Twitter, and Google + for the latest DUI news.

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.

How Motions Can Win a DUI Case

There are many ways of winning a DUI case, and one way is to fight the case with “motions”. Motions are pleadings filed with the court asking it to throw out the case entirely or limit evidence that the State can use against the defendant.




The most common motion I use is called a Motion to Suppress.  This motion serves 3 purposes. First, it could possibly win the entire case, such as when the court rules the stop illegal. Second, it allows me to cross examine the cop to see if he/she can actually articulate why the defendant was arrested for DUI, whether they followed their training, and so forth. This is especially important in cases where there is no video of the arrest. I can cross examine the officer and many times show the State that the officer did not follow basic operating procedures for a DUI arrest, or doesn’t make a good witness.  Finally, sometimes the officer fails to appear for the hearing and the case gets thrown out.




One of my most recent cases shows the importance of motions: my client was stopped for weaving, supposedly failed all of the field sobriety tests, and registered a BAC (blood alcohol content) of .08 on the breath test. At the motions hearing, the officer was unable to remember or articulate my client’s physical appearance, could not articulate how he administered the field tests, and most importantly, NEVER testified that he read the implied consent warning (the warning needed as a prerequisite BEFORE admission of any State breath test). As a result the .08 was excluded from evidence. After the hearing, the State approached me and offered a dismissal of the DUI in return for a plea to reckless driving. My client readily accepted the reduced charge, and the case was over without the further expense of a jury trial for my client.




Motions are an important tool in aggressively defending DUIs, and any good DUI attorney should use motions on most DUI cases.  To learn more about the DUI defense and other traffic related services I offer visit my website and continue to read by blog.  Connect with me on Facebook and Twitter for access to the latest traffic offense news and updates.

Why You Should Not Trust Georgia’s Breath Test Machine

When a person is arrested for DUI in Georgia, suspected of being under the influence of alcohol, most of the time the police will request that the person go to the jail or police station and submit to a “State chemical test of your breath.” It is this “breath test” that is used to convict that person of DUI, simply for having blood alcohol content (BAC) of over .08 grams.




Georgia uses a breath test machine manufactured by CMI, a company out of Kentucky. The machine contains many parts, and operates through an Infrared device used to take a breath sample from a suspect and convert it into an amount of alcohol in the person’s blood. The machine is a computer and operates by using a “source code” as all computers operate. There are many reasons why we should not trust the accuracy of Georgia’s breath machine. Here a just a few:




1. The machine is only inspected by a State employee once every 3 months; it is not inspected before and after every individual test. Therefore, even if the machine is deemed to be working properly, it can only be argued correctly that it was working that day, with only the inspector present.




2. During the “inspection”, the tester never actually opens up the machine to check to see if the electronic components are working properly.




3. The inspector does run a known alcohol solution through the machine. If the machine prints out a reading that is close to the actual alcohol amount, the machine is deemed to be working that day.




4. The alcohol control solution is in no way similar to an actual human sample. It does not take into account how a person with asthma, allergies, braces, gastric reflux, bridgework, or a fever would blow.




5. The inspector runs two test samples, if the two test results are within 25% of each other the machine is deemed to be working properly!




 
There are many other reasons why you should not trust the breath test machine, but if you just consider the way Georgia inspects these machines to “verify” that they are working properly, ask yourself the following:




a. Would you allow your CPA to prepare a federal tax return with a 25% potential disparity?




b. Would you pay a lasik surgeon to fix your vision, and accept as “good enough for medical purposes” a CORRECTION that was OFF by these + and – ranges?




c. Would you book a flight on an airline with these variable percentages on their altimeters (the device that estimates the distance between the ground and the wheels at “touch down” on the runway)?




While these scenarios may seem far-fetched, they demonstrate the importance of only seeking the advice of an experienced Georgia DUI attorney if charged with DUI. To learn more about DUI and traffic violation defense, read our blog and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.