Mickey Roberts

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.

 

Avoid Labor Day BUIs with Designated Boater Service

Labor Day weekend is a momentous occasion that often serves as the official goodbye to summer. If you’re like many Georgians, you prefer to spend the holiday with your toes in the water at Lake Lanier. It’s easy to cut loose when everything seems to be taken care of and your to-do list of picking up hot dog buns, ice, and beer is all crossed off. One thing you may have forgotten to add to that list is a sober driver for your boat.




It is a common misconception that boating under the influence is dissimilar to driving under the influence. However, the hard facts tell otherwise. The number of BUIs has notably increased since last summer, when Jake and Griffin Pearce were tragically struck and killed on Lake Lanier by a boater under the influence of alcohol. With 8 million people coming to the Atlanta-area lake each year, safe and sober boating is essential to the security of both the passengers of your boat and boaters surrounding you.




When you or your intended driver has overindulged, your choices have traditionally beenlimited to waiting it out until you are sober and able to drive (which should be tested with a breathalyzer) or choosing a designated driver.  Recently an Atlanta area company has expanded those options with SAFENAV. This company’s drivers travel through the lake in a small dinghy, which attaches to the customer in need of a safe boat and provides a ride back to shore. The company’s $125 for a boat pick up and drive back is justifiable when considering the protection they provide a would-be unsafe driver from getting a BUI, spending a fortune paying for fines and DUI School, increased insurance, or harming a fellow lake-goer.




If alcohol will be part of your Labor Day celebration make sure to plan ahead and consume responsibly. While boat-on-boat collisions remain rare at about five per year, dozens of people each year are injured or killed by reckless drivers. The last thing you want to do is be one of them, on either end.




To learn more about BUI lawyers, or if you are in need of legal representation for other traffic violations, please contact MRGADUI. You can also connect with attorney Mickey Roberts on FacebookTwitter, and Google+ for the latest in DUI and BUI 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.

Holidays Bring Increased DUI Enforcement

In the midst of the holiday season filled with friends, family, food and parties, it’s easy to get caught up in the festivities. Since holiday parties typically involve drinking, Atlanta DUI defense attorney Mickey Roberts wants to remind everyone that law enforcement will be out in full force on the roads, stopping drivers for suspected DUI as part of Georgia’s Operation Zero Tolerance campaign.




Being charged with a DUI can be difficult since, without the proper representation, it can lead to an unfortunate outcome. As seen in previous blogs, the 4 simple rules can help drivers avoid incriminating themselves during field sobriety tests or verbal interrogations. Of course a qualified attorney can defend you if you are charged with any violations, but it is best to avoid the situation altogether, especially during the holidays.

Holidays Bring Increased DUI Enforcement in Metro Atlanta GA




According to the latest statistics published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2,597 people were killed in traffic accidents in the U.S. during December 2010. 775 of those vehicular homicide cases involved alcohol-impaired drivers. If you insist on drinking, then set up other travel alternatives and be wise about consumption so you can be sober once you get ready to leave.  Drink in moderation and eat enough food since the consumption of food will delay the absorption of alcohol so the alcohol can be processed over a longer period of time. However, keep in mind that alcohol metabolism is a complex process that is dependent on many factors such as a person’s gender, body weight, and hydration.




Like many states, Georgia will offer free sober rides on New Year’s Eve sponsored by the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. Other organizations, such as AAA will also offer designated driving services. With the heightened enforcement and zero tolerance, drivers should never take any chances. If you do not have a designated driver, be sure to take advantage of ride programs, use public transportation, or hire a cab to take you home safely.




Attorney Mickey Roberts has seen many drivers’ holidays take an unfortunate turn due to drunk driving or vehicular homicide charges. He urges all drivers to drive carefully and make wise decisions to avoid being arrested for DUI. If you have been arrested for DUI or other violations, contact Mr. GaDUI today. Also be sure to follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for more traffic law updates and news.

Remember the 4 Rules If You Are Pulled Over

mrgaduiWith the upcoming holidays, law enforcement will be out in full force, stopping people for suspected DUI.  Just recently, a local news anchor, Amanda Davis of Fox 5 News, was arrested after a wrong-way crash and charged with driving under the influence, reckless driving, and failure to maintain lane.

what to do if pulled over by police for drinking and driving




When Davis was asked by the officer if she had been drinking, she said yes – not following rule number 1 of the 4 simple rules to remember when stopped by the police.  However, she did refuse a breathalyzer test and field sobriety test.   As you may have seen in previous blogs or on a MRGADUI koozie, I want to remind everyone of the 4 simple rules:



  1. Never admit to drinking or anything else. This does not mean deny drinking, it means do NOT admit or deny drinking or anything else. You do not have to provide any evidence that may incriminate you.
  2. Do not submit to any roadside field sobriety evaluations.  Roadside tests are voluntary and can include an eye test, walking a straight line, standing on one leg, ABCs, and/or a portable breath test.
  3. Do not take any state tests after your arrest if you believe you might be over the legal limit of .08 limit.
  4. If you are under 21 and receive a traffic ticket, call me! Since many traffic violations in addition to DUI can result in license suspension for underage drivers, it’s best to contact me to see whether your license is subject to suspension.





* The above information is intended to help educate members of the Georgia motoring public as to their rights under the law and to assist presumptively innocent citizens in properly asserting those rights. Information within this site should not be misconstrued as legal advice.




Contact me if you need DUI help or have questions about another traffic offense.  Don’t forget to connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for the latest information about traffic issues and driver’s rights.

Teen Driving Under Your Influence

Recent studies show that young drivers make up the highest percentage of drivers involved in motor vehicle crashes:  the leading cause of death for U.S. teens. According to a 2010 study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 187,000 drivers between the ages of 15 and 20 were injured in motor vehicle crashes and an additional 1,963 drivers were killed. Though, the most troubling fact is that most teenage car crashes are 100 percent preventable.




Because of driving inexperience and unsafe driving habits, teenage drivers are more prone to engage in reckless or distracted driving. Statistics show they are more likely to speed, neglect seatbelts, text, and even drink while driving. They are also unable to recognize dangerous situations or poor road conditions where these habits can contribute to serious injuries – or even death.




As a parent, it’s imperative to discuss safe driving behavior and stress these types of consequences. Here are a few topics you should be sure to discuss with your teen:




1. Cell phone use– Regardless of age or experience, cell phone use is always dangerous while driving. Talking on the phone and texting while driving are both extremely distracting for any driver because it interferes with keeping focus on the road. Teens should consider turning their cell phones off, or even storing it somewhere out of reach while they drive to avoid the temptation.




2. Limiting number of passengers– Like cell phones, friends can also be distracting for any teen driver. Statistics show that teen drivers are more likely to engage in risky driving habits with peers than when they’re alone. More passengers in a vehicle heighten the risk of distraction.




3. Seat belt use– This is something all drivers should do, not just teens. Seatbelts are the single most effective tool for saving lives and preventing injuries. Seat belts can make the difference between life and death.




4. Substance abuse– No substance abuse should be tolerated, especially for underage teens. Any amount of alcohol for an individual under 21 raises their risk of receiving a DUI in addition to jeopardizing lives. You should also discuss the risks of being a passenger in a vehicle with a driver who has been drinking or using other illegal substances.




5. Reviewing state driving laws– Discuss curfew times set by the state and the minimum number of practice hours required before getting a driver’s license. Ensure your teen fulfills all requirements and sets a foundation for safe driving. In addition to the state of Georgia’s driving laws, you should also discuss your expectations and restrictions of their driving privileges.




A parent will always worry about their teen hitting the roads for the first time, but educating them about safe habits, along with the consequences and rules of driving will help reduce the chances of an accident. Check out my website for more information on driving issues and DUI help and be sure to connect with me on Facebook and Twitter.

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.

License Information for New Georgia Residents

Georgia law requires an individual to apply for a Georgia driver’s license if they have resided in the state for more than 30 days. Although it is sometimes difficult for law enforcement to prove, it’s crucial to obey the law to avoid unnecessary stops. The process of transferring your license from out-of-state to Georgia is relatively simple. If you have a valid driver’s license or a license that expired less than two years ago, you can go to a local Department of Driver Services (DDS) location to receive a Georgia license. You will be asked to surrender your current license and provide proof of residency, identity, and citizenship.




If your license has been expired for less than 2 years, in addition to the information noted above you will need to take the vision exam at your local DDS.  If your license is expired for more than 2 years, you will also be required to take the written, road and vision exams. If you have lost or misplaced your out-of-state license, you will need to present an original letter of clearance or certified driving record from the issuing state at the time of application.




It’s important to note an expired or invalid license is not the same as a suspended license. Getting caught with an expired license is a lesser offense than driving with a suspended license, although law enforcement can tow your car if they decide to.  Driving on a suspended license can get you arrested and your car impounded.




Don’t forget to join me on Facebook, Google + and Twitter for more information about Georgia driving laws.

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.

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+.