By William C. Head, Atlanta DUI Lawyer
The DUI client who had been arrested for DUI alcohol had an open, half-empty bottle of beer in the Toyota Camry automobile when pulled over, was incoherent, smelled of alcohol, and (when he stepped out of the driver’s door at the request of the Atlanta police officer), lost his pants, which fell to his ankles. After making bail at the City of Atlanta Detention Center, he hired Bubba Head.
The New York native has a medical history of psychiatric problems and was taking three powerful, prescription medications for “manic-depressive” (bipolar) condition, to help the client sleep at night. On the day of the arrest, the client had been working on a computer software problem with another neighbor.
The two ordered a pizza delivery and drank a few beers late in the evening. The client became concerned that his girlfriend had not yet returned from a work-related promotion.
Although he only had a beer and a half, he had taken his Rx medications that were prescribed for his bipolar condition. Halcion, Lithium, and Paxil were the medications. Instead of going to bed after taking the powerful concoction, he foolishly decided to drive over to his girlfriend’s condo residence.
He took her Toyota Camry, which had been parked at his resident location while she was at the work function.
When he got to her security gate at the Buckhead area complex in Atlanta, he tried to “key in” her access code, but the gate would not open for him. He tried three more times, and the gate would not open. In a drug-induced haze and totally frustrated, he backed up the Camry and rammed the metal gate that was anchored into two large brick columns by large metal hinges.
The front end of the Camry became lodged in the massive steel gate. As the client tried to extricate the car by putting the transmission in reverse first, then driving forward, and then back in reverse gear, he was dragging the heavy gate with each movement of the car. This woke up most residents at the girlfriend’s condo unit. Later, the damage to the gate and support pillars was determined to be over $10,000, which the client paid.
After breaking free of the steel gate, the client backed out and sped away from the scene, leaving most of Toyota’s bumper and front-end parts at the scene of the gate-crashing. Both headlights were destroyed and not working. As the client came to a red light at the road’s intersection with the 400 loop just west of the northbound Highway 400 ramp, the client ignored the red signal and turned left through the red light, traveling toward Peachtree Street.
A police car had been dispatched to the condo property due to the noise and destruction of the “gate dragging.” The officer had to brake hard to not strike the Toyota as it ran the red light, without any visible headlights.
The police car got behind the Toyota just as the client swerved wide and ran up onto the curb of the 400 loop near the Buckhead Ritz-Carlton. Responding to the police pullover, the client pulled into the parking lot of the Ritz-Carlton parking lot area.
As the officer demanded the client to exit the Toyota, he exited while holding on to the top of the driver’s door with one hand and the roof of the vehicle with the other. When he stood up from the driver’s seat, the client’s pants fell to the ground.
No field sobriety test of any type was offered to Mr. Head’s client, and (according to the Atlanta police officer) doing field sobriety tests were impossible, due to the client’s impaired condition. Soon, two Atlanta officers were at the scene. When implied consent rights were read, to take a Georgia breath test, the client said no.
This case had no arrest video since the officer was not a DUI task force officer. Criminal defense attorney Head knew that the only chance to win the case was to select an open-minded jury, who would be willing to listen to all of the witnesses, including the man who had shared the pizza with Mr. Head’s client, and knew that the client only had one full 12-ounce bottle beer, plus what was remaining in the bottle inside the Toyota because the man had supplied these to Mr. Head’s client.
The DUI defense was: yes, he was totally impaired, but NOT by alcohol, which is how the traffic ticket and accusation were framed – DUI less safe by alcohol.
At trial, the arresting officer testified that there was a 1/2 bottle of beer open and sitting in the center console of the Toyota. He testified that he could smell the odor of alcohol on the driver’s breath. He also testified, on cross-examination by Mr. Head, that he had NEVER seen anyone so “wasted” in his entire life. Further cross-examination by Mr. Head revealed that the Atlanta officer had no training in a form of field sobriety test training known as “drug recognition.”
The arresting officer also said that he never asked the impaired driver if he had consumed any prescribed medications. Defense witnesses called by criminal attorney William Head included the client’s neighbor (who shared the pizza and supplied the two bottles of beer), the client’s girlfriend, and a medical doctor who testified at the jury trial about how taking the three prescribed medications would induce extreme impairment because these were prescribed to be taken immediately before going to bed.
Mr. Head had created the defense of there being INSUFFICIENT evidence of impaired driving by “DUI-alcohol.” Criminal defense lawyer Bubba Head argued that the client was impaired by PRESCRIPTION DRUGS and that he was not accused of “DUI-DRUGS“. The officer had done a marginal investigation, and the Atlanta prosecutor had accused the case of the wrong TYPE of driving while impaired.
The jury followed Mr. Head’s line of argument and convicted the client of only reckless driving, and not less safe DUI alcohol. The jury deliberated for three hours. The case was tried in the former City Court of Atlanta, which has now been shut down and the Atlanta Municipal Court (a non-jury court) now hears all DUI cases brought in the City of Atlanta.
Call 42-year veteran Atlanta DUI attorney Bubba Head today and get honest answers to all your questions. Tell us everything that happened and everything you remember about your DUI arrest. The sooner you call us, the better chance we have to win your DUI case and get your charges reduced or dismissed.
Remember, you only have 30 DAYS to file a license suspension appeal or apply for an ignition interlock device, or your driver’s license will be suspended for up to one year! Talk to Bubba Head, Larry Kohn, or Cory Yager now. We are available 24 hours a day, weekends, and all major holidays. (404) 567-5515