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DUI Cases

Here are some examples of recent DUI cases:

State v. J.M. (State Court of Coweta County)

This gentleman was traveling down the interstate with his wife when he was stopped for speeding. The officer did not ask him to participate in any field sobriety tests, and our client was reluctant to blow into an Alco-Sensor because he did not know “where it had been” or how recently it had been cleaned. The man’s wife was a wonderful witness. When the prosecutor tried to make the point that a conviction would harm them, she remarked that they had been married for 32 years, they would be fine no matter what happened, and that no innocent person should have to go through what her husband had been through. The jury agreed and returned a two-word verdict within ten minutes.

State v. C.G. (State Court of Douglas County)

This young lady was arrested for DUI drugs and other traffic offenses. Since she had a prior conviction less than five years earlier, a non-DUI disposition was crucial. We filed our motion to suppress, although we did not expect it to be granted, in order to cross examine the trooper before the jury trial and have that testimony transcribed. Frankly, our client did not look or sound impaired on the video of the arrest, and we had every intention of trying this case. When we showed up for the motion hearing, the prosecutor offered to reduce the charge to reckless driving, which the client quickly agreed to. She avoided any additional jail time as well as the license suspension, which would have been a tremendous burden on this single working mother.

State v. M.B. (Superior Court of Haralson County)

We were somewhat disappointed when the trial judge denied our motion to suppress, despite the fact that the arresting officer had no training and scant experience in determining if someone was driving under the influence of drugs. Our client traveled extensively on business, so the six-month driver’s license suspension for a DUI drugs would have ruined his career. We retained two experts in pharmacology – one a professor at a pharmacy school and the other recently retired from a medical college – who both concluded that the drugs found in his system were either in the low end of the therapeutic range or below that level and, based on his history of taking them for a decade, he would not have been impaired.

We shared their conclusions with the assistant district attorney assigned to the case, and he basically brushed me off. Therefore, we did the only reasonable thing – we got ready for trial. At the calendar call another assistant district attorney, realizing that his predecessor had made a serious mistake, announced the dismissal of the DUI charge, our client paid a fine for following too closely, and went home.

State v. A.M. (State Court of Carroll County)

University of West Georgia student was stopped and arrested for DUI at a roadblock in Carrollton. Although there was another, lawfully constituted roadblock nearby, we challenged the legitimacy of this one on the grounds that it was not properly approved by a supervisor for a legitimate reason. During the hearing on our motion to suppress we presented the trial judge with some new case law on the legality of roadblocks, he took the matter under advisement, and a couple of weeks later entered an order granting our motion. Since all of the evidence was suppressed, the DUI charge was dismissed.

State v. D.C. (State Court of Coweta County)

This young man was charged with DUI-drugs after he fell asleep and lost control of his pickup at about 7:00 A.M. on I-85 in Coweta County south of Newnan. The trooper originally charged him with driving under the influence of alcohol, but the charge was changed to driving under the influence of drugs after the state crime lab blood test (allegedly) revealed the presence of cocaine and an inactive metabolite of cocaine.

We disputed this finding because the result, which was "lower than the lowest calibrator," should have been reported as negative according to our expert, who holds a Ph.D. in pharmacology. The Coweta County jury agreed and found our client  not guilty.

State v. C.C. (Superior Court of Polk County)

This gentleman was stopped because he decided to give two people a ride on cold night in January "on the wrong side of town." The Rockmart officer claimed that he was speeding up and slowing down, but when we re-traced his route we found that our client slowed down because of flashing lights at a crosswalk and the railroad tracks in the center of town.

Although we felt confident that our motion to suppress should be granted, the prosecutor offered a plea to a traffic offense with a minimal fine, and the client decided it was an offer he did not want to refuse. The DUI was dismissed.

State v. R.M. (State Court of Carroll County)

Our client, a student at the University of West Georgia, was stopped at a roadblock, where he agreed to participate in the field sobriety tests and was subsequently arrested. At the Carrollton Police Department he provided breath samples when asked to blow into the Intoxilyzer 5000, and the results were .085.

At trial we emphasized three things: Georgia does not download data so intermittent problems are not documented. Georgia does not run a calibration check at the time of every test, contrary to the recommendations of the National Safety Council. Although the Intoxilyzer 5000 works on the assumption that everyone's breath temperature is 34 degrees Celsius, the average is closer to 35. Every one degree increase in temperature means an 8.6% increase in breath alcohol concentration. This means a .085 breath reading should mean a blood alcohol concentration of .077. The jury understood the science and found our client not guilty.

State v. K.E. (State Court of Coweta County)

This gentleman who lived in a Midwestern state was in Newnan on business when he accidentally turned left into an eastbound lane on Bullsboro Drive. He quickly recognized his error and crossed the median into a westbound lane but was stopped by a Coweta County deputy. Although he agreed to take the state administered breath test, he did not provide a sample at the Coweta County Sheriff's Department because he had already blown into a portable breath testing device on the scene. A co-worker from yet another state testified as to the client's apparent sobriety and told the jury how he had made the same mistake at the same intersection on another occasion. The jury deliberated for around forty minutes before finding the man not guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol and reckless driving.

State v. M.S. (Superior Court of Paulding County)

This client was arrested for DUI during the summer of 2006. By the time the District Attorney issued an accusation a year later, he had suffered a falling out with a vital fact witness. We, therefore, filed a Motion for Discharge and Acquittal based on the denial of his Constitutional right to a speedy trial. The judge heard the motion and granted it. Case closed.

State v. K.S. (Superior Court of Haralson County)

This young lady was stopped because her husband apparently asked the police to pull her over. Following her arrest she blew a .22 on the Intoxilyzer 5000. We filed a Motion to Suppress, alleging that the initial detention was not justified by a reasonable, articulable suspicion of wrongdoing. The officers told quite different tales and contradicted themselves repeatedly. Visibly perplexed by their performances, the trial judge granted our motion to suppress. Dismissal of the DUI charge followed.

State v. A.M.F. (Superior Court of Floyd County)

This young man was visiting Rome in order to court a local young lady. After they left a downtown establishment he made a right turn on red where he should not have because she told him it was okay. His field sobriety tests were not the worst, but what was really damaging were his admissions of a prior drug arrest and being prescribed a mood altering drug. Our expert witness explained that he had a tolerance to the prescription medication and the effect of the alcohol would not have been intensified. Since they had charged him with running a red light three different ways that were mutually exclusive, I argued that the jury should not "buy this house" (i.e., the state's case) because the foundation was cracked. In other words, they didn't even know why they stopped him. The jury stayed out about 45 minutes before acquitting the client of DUI.

State v. S.D. (State Court of Carroll County)

This lady got lost in Temple, a small town off of I-20 in northern Carroll County, while on her way home to Marietta from the airport in Atlanta. We emphasized that she was unable to provide an adequate breath sample because she had bronchitis, and neither of the officers in the case had said she was faking it. We pointed out that the arresting officer had the choice of blood or breath tests, that our client did not, and that a person cannot fake a blood test. In other words, we were there in the courtroom because of his choices. This jury also returned a "two word" verdict.

State v. K.B. (State Court of Carroll County)

This lady was facing her second DUI charge within five years. She "busted" two tires and scraped the side of her expensive sports car before parking her car behind a retirement home in Carrollton. She had trouble opening the door and could barely stand when the arresting officer arrived.

We showed that she had accidentally taken an Ambien before leaving her house in a perfectly sober condition. Her husband described some bizarre behavior on prior occasions (like deep frying green olives), and our expert explained how new FDA warnings emphasize the possibility of sleep-driving while under the influence of Ambien.

This jury remained helplessly deadlocked for several hours before the client finally entered a plea to reckless driving. While it was not a total victory, she avoided the disastrous license suspension she would have suffered if she had been convicted of DUI.

State v. P.J. (Superior Court of Paulding County)

This young man was driving his father's van toward Dallas on Georgia Highway 61 in Paulding County when he attempted to pass on the right a vehicle that had stopped to turn left. It was muddy, so the van slipped into a ditch. Eventually a GSP officer appeared, conducted field sobriety exercises, and placed him under arrest. He refused the state administered breath test.  By the time I finished cross-examining the arresting officer, he was back pedaling about 100 M.P.H. Then our expert explained all the things he did wrong on the HGN (horizontal gaze nystagmus). We must have done something right because the foreperson of this jury that returned a not guilty verdict was a former MADD contributor and volunteer.

State v. C.J. (Municipal Court of Newnan)

This lady was followed into Newnan by someone who called 911, reported her position, and described her actions as she drove through Coweta County. Her performance on field sobriety tests was incriminatory, and she refused the state administered blood test. Luckily, her physician described her medical conditions and confirmed that if certain events occurred, she would mimic the manifestations of someone under the influence of alcohol. After reviewing the report provided by our investigator and the video of the traffic stop, the prosecutor agreed to reduce the charge to reckless driving.

State v. M.H. (State Court of Carroll County)

The arresting officer had responded to a domestic disturbance but was unable to locate the alleged perpetrator. He then noticed the Defendant driving slowly through a nearby residential neighborhood and stopping her SUV from time to time. This led to her detention and subsequent and arrest. We challenged the reasonable, articulable suspicion for the stop because there were no other vehicles on the road, so she was not impeding traffic. After reviewing the case law we presented at the hearing, the trial judge granted our motion to suppress, which required dismissal of the charges against our client.

State v. M.H. (Superior Court of Polk County)

This lady lost control of her vehicle and drove across Main Street and struck the drive-through at a fast food franchise. The police showed up and arranged for her to go to the hospital for a blood test; however, the implied consent advisement was not timely.

We appeared for a motion hearing, and the prosecutor, who had a hunch he was going to lose his .24 blood test, offered her a plea to reckless driving. As soon as the fine was paid, she was put on non-reporting probation.

State v. G.W. (Superior Court of Heard County)

This man was stopped at a roadblock conducted by members of both the Heard County Sheriff's Department and the Franklin City Police. He was arrested and tested above .11 on the Intoxilyzer 5000. He obtained an independent test with a consistent result.

However, we challenged the constitutionality of the roadblock, and after taking the matter under advisement, the judge issued a very well reasoned order finding the roadblock was not properly approved at the supervisory level. That means all the evidence against the client is suppressed, and the charge must be dismissed.

State v. D.G. (Superior Court of Paulding County)

This man, who works in a sensitive post on a government facility, desperately needed a non-DUI disposition. We approached the officer at the ALS hearing, discussed the case, and obtained a reduction to reckless driving on the spot.

State v. M.R. (Superior Court of Polk County)

This man was stopped because another driver reported that he had been flashing his lights driving down U.S. Highway 278. Perhaps sensing that we might win a motion hearing on the ground that the officer lacked reasonable, articulate-able suspicion for the stop and did not corroborate anything but the vehicle description, the powers that be quickly worked out a plea to reckless driving. This saved the man's job.

State v. N.C. (State Court of Carroll County)

While turning left another driver ran a red light and plowed into his car. Unfortunately, he was arrested for DUI. While he had two good witnesses, his wife and another lady who are both school teachers, we had to deal with that .25 breath test. Seems like his request for an independent test was not reasonably accommodated, so he entered a nolo plea to failure to yield, paid the fine and went home.

State of Georgia v. G.L. (State Court of Troup County)

This client was stopped for speeding just north of LaGrange by a Troup County deputy as he returned from the Auburn-Georgia football game. The deputy immediately claimed that he could arrest the client just because he smelled alcohol (he was wrong) and badgered him about taking a portable breath test for several minutes. He eventually arrested the client who provided two breath samples for the Intoxilyzer 5000 at the Troup County Sheriff's Department.

We discovered that the area supervisor who inspects the Intoxilyzer had overlooked a minor problem during the last inspection, so in the middle of a hearing during our third trip to LaGrange on this case the prosecutor announced that the DUI would be dismissed. Our client, whose breath test result was .143, quickly entered a guilty plea to the speeding charge.

State of Georgia v. R.M (Superior Court of Floyd County)

This lady was stopped by a Floyd County deputy for speeding just outside Rome, Georgia.  He asked for permission to search her car again and again, but she refused. Finally he arrested her so he could justify the search as a "search incident to arrest." The client provided blood and urine samples that revealed the presence of prescribed medications. However, we knew that the blood levels were well within therapeutic levels and that our client had taken the medications for years, so she was highly tolerant. The first week of June our client made her only court appearance, paid a $50 fine for speeding, and her DUI case was dismissed.

State v. C.G. (State Court of Carroll County)

This young man was stopped by a deputy with the Carroll County Sheriff’s Department for speeding on the Carrollton-Villa Rica Highway about 2:00 A.M. After he submitted to the state administered breath test and was advised the result was .127 grams, he requested an independent blood test. The officer testified that he called the local hospital and was told that they only accepted cash or checks but not credit cards. Our client did not have enough cash with him, but he had a credit card. Not only did the hospital accept credit cards, but the officer admitted that he knew there was an ATM machine readily accessible from the emergency room. He did not even offer to take our client to that ATM (or the one about 200 yards from the Sheriff’s Department), although the client had the credit card with him. Since the officer failed to reasonably accommodate our client’s request for an independent test, the breath test result was suppressed, and client accepted the State’s offer of a plea to a minor traffic offense.

State v. J.C.G. (Superior Court of Paulding County)

This gentleman, who had another DUI pending in another county at the time of this arrest, was involved in a one-car accident near Dallas, Georgia. He left the scene and walked to the home of a friend to obtain help. When they returned to the accident scene, an onlooker apparently pointed him out to a Paulding County deputy, who stopped the vehicle in which he was riding, handcuffed him, and put him in the back of his cruiser. A Georgia State Patrol officer appeared on the scene, got the client out of the deputy’s car, administered field sobriety tests, had the client blow into a portable breath testing device, and then arrested him. He then read the Implied Consent Warning, but our client refused to submit to a state administered test.

Since the client was in custody when the field sobriety tests were administered and he blew into the Alco-Sensor, but neither officer had advised him of his Miranda rights, all of that evidence was suppressed, as were all of his statements made in response to police questioning. Because the Implied Consent Warning was not read at the time of arrest or as soon thereafter as possible, his refusal to submit to the state administered test was also suppressed. Without the field sobriety tests, the client’s statement, or the refusal, the prosecutor dismissed the case. Our client was not so fortunate in the other case, in which we did not represent him.

State v. O.B. (Superior Court of Haralson County)

This lady was involved in a one-vehicle accident north of Buchanan, Georgia. She was arrested by a Georgia State Patrol officer and agreed to take the state’s breath test, the result of which was .176. We filed a motion challenging the admissibility of the breath test on some fairly novel grounds and brought in an expert witness for the hearing. After waiting for our motion to be heard the better part of the day, the prosecutor offered our client a "blind plea" to reckless driving. She took the offer, and the judge sentenced her to a 60-day suspended sentence conditioned on payment of a $250 fine. She paid the money and went home.

STATE v. D.W (Superior Court of Paulding County)

The Defendant had played golf in Kentucky most of the day and was driving home through rural Paulding County when he was stopped and arrested for driving under the influence by a deputy on Highway 61 near Dallas, Georgia.

A videotape clearly showed that he vomited and pointed at his mouth less than a minute before taking a breath test. The officer claimed that he stuck his finger down his throat, which the video decisively disproved. We filed motions in limine challenging the admissibility of the breath test, which were not heard by the Court prior to trial.

The case was complicated by the fact that the client requested an independent blood test and was taken to a local hospital, where blood was drawn but never tested because a clerk did not properly complete some paperwork. Two hospital employees were available to testify that the client did not appear to be under the influence and was even able to recite his wife’s Social Security number. In any event, less than a week before the scheduled trial date, the prosecutor, perhaps appreciating the weaknesses in the case, dismissed the charges. While we like courtroom wins, this result was just as good as a “not guilty” verdict for our client.

STATE v. C.W. (Superior Court of Haralson County)

Our client was arrested just outside Tallapoosa after a Georgia State Patrol officer stopped him on the basis of what sounded like an anonymous tip. He did not do well on the field sobriety tests, and his breath test result was well above the legal limit. We filed two motions - one challenging the stop and the other challenging the admissibility of the breath test because the Division of Forensic Sciences has failed to issue approved methods for the administration of breath tests. The prosecutor dismissed the case one week before the scheduled hearing date.

State of Georgia v. L.H. (Carroll County State Court)

The Defendant was stopped for speeding at approximately 4:00 P.M. on a Friday afternoon. After administration of field sobriety tests he was arrested for DUI. The client’s friend who bailed him out of jail testified that the Defendant had flu-like symptoms and that he became ill a couple of days later. The Defendant’s wife testified that both of their daughters later "came down with something" and that the Defendant’s temperature was 102 degrees Fahrenheit the day after his arrest. Our expert witness explained that the Intoxilyzer 5000 used in Georgia makes no adjustments for breath temperature but assumes that everyone’s is 34 degrees Celsius. Despite the breath test result of .097, the jury acquitted the Defendant after deliberating for 45 minutes.

State of Georgia v. D.S. (Carroll County State Court)

The Defendant was stopped for allegedly failing to maintain lane after leaving a local restaurant. On the video he appeared to complete the field sobriety tests in an acceptable manner, but he was arrested, primarily on the basis of the alcosensor (portable breath testing device) results. He consented to a breath test on the Intoxilyzer 5000, and the result was .108. Our expert witness testified about the effect on breath test results of elevated core body temperature and the effect of inhaling copious amounts of diesel exhaust. A co-worker testified that the Defendant operated the most "raggedy" crane on a construction site and was either enclosed in his non-air conditioned cab or exposed to diesel fumes that the co-worker could not tolerate if he opened the door. The jury deliberated for four hours before finding the Defendant not guilty of all charges.

State of Georgia v. R.H. (Douglas County Superior Court)

The Defendant was charged with DUI-prescription drugs. She, in fact, was taking phenobarbital, Xanax, and other mood altering drugs at the time of her arrest, which occurred after an accident. We showed up ready for trial on four occasions before the prosecutor finally offered her a plea to reckless driving. This would have been her second DUI in five years and her third lifetime.

State of Georgia v. A.H. (State Court of Carroll County)

Nineteen year old client allegedly involved in traffic accident was taken into custody by city police. A state trooper arrived and took both the client and the other occupant of the vehicle into custody. During a motion to suppress hearing the trooper admitted that he arrested the client because the other occupant stated the client was driving and in response to questioning the client admitted it. The other man's testimony was excluded as hearsay, and the client's statement was suppressed because he was not advised of his Miranda rights. The court ruled that all evidence obtained as a result of the inadmissible statements, including the .15 breath test result, should be excluded. Therefore, all charges were dropped.

State of Georgia v. D.F. (Superior Court of Douglas County)

The client was stopped by police because he was leaving a cul-de-sac where new houses were under construction about 2:00 A.M. Realizing that the motion to suppress would probably be granted because of the lack of reasonable articulable suspicion for the stop, the prosecutor offered the client, who had two prior DUI's in the last five years, a plea bargain to a charge of reckless driving and a fine of only $300 with no jail time, no community service, and no suspension of his license.

State of Georgia v. B.M. (Superior Court of Haralson County)

The client, who had two prior DIU's in the past five years, was stopped for only having one headlight. He allegedly failed the field sobriety tests, and he allegedly refused to take the state breath test by not blowing hard enough. His girlfriend testified that he had only drunk three beers, and during cross-examination it was revealed that the arresting officer had only the most rudimentary training in field sobriety tests and had never completed the Standardized Field Sobriety Testing course. The jury deliberated 35 minutes before finding our client not guilty.

STATE v. J.T. (Superior Court of Polk County)

Our client was charged with driving under the influence of marijuana to the extent he was less safe. During a motion hearing we determined that the arresting officer had no training in field sobriety testing, much less drug recognition expert training, and admitted that he did not smell anything unusual in the client’s car. He simply thought he was "sluggish" at one in the morning. Although the urine test was positive for the metabolites of THC, we knew that it was not evidence of impairment or intoxication. After showing up ready for trial five times, the district attorney offered a plea to reckless driving, which the client accepted. This would have been his second conviction in five years for DUI-drugs.

STATE v. J.K. (State Court of Carroll County)

Our client was followed after leaving a local bar and stopped because he touched the center line a couple of times. The officer performed the horizontal gaze nystagmus test incorrectly, although he tried to change his story on the witness stand, and his evaluation of the walk and turn and one-leg stand were hypercritical. Our client refused to take the State’s breath test on the Intoxilyzer 5000, and he did not appear to be under the influence on the video. The jury acquitted him of the DUI charge after forty-five minutes.

STATE v. B.B. (State Court of Carroll County)

This gentleman was followed from the same bar as J.K. above. The officer followed him almost all the way across Carrollton before initiating the traffic stop. On cross-examination, we elicited testimony about all the good driving, good behavior, and good performance on the field sobriety tests that the officer did not mention during his direct testimony. The breath test results were .096 and .102. We introduced expert testimony about the effect of our client’s use of an albuterol inhaler on breath test results as well as the testimony of the three passengers in his car. He was found not guilty of DUI (and failure to maintain lane).

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