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Circumstantial Evidence and Georgia DUI Laws

DUI Less Safe – Georgia DUI Law – Circumstantial Evidence and Flawed Field Sobriety Test Scores Can Convict You

By: William C. Head, Atlanta DUI Lawyer and Criminal Defense Attorney

The specific statutory wording of drunk driving laws in the 50 states and the District of Columbia control the rules by which prosecutors can obtain a conviction. The Georgia driving under the influence of alcohol law is fairly unique in its wording and in its “interpretation” by appellate courts in Georgia. As you will see, officers are permitted to give their “opinion” that a detained driver was intoxicated, based upon common everyday “manifestations” and “conditions” that a person can have for a list of good reasons, other than alcohol intoxication (or drug impairment).

Red eyes, slow speech patterns, odor of alcohol, swaying while standing, and dozens more “conditions” give the officer the right to proceed with further investigation. This type of circumstantial evidence can be the basis for a DUI conviction for DUI less safe Georgia.

The GA DUI law, OCGA 40-6-391, subsection (a)(1), is the DUI less safe Georgia alcohol intoxication drunk driving law. As can be learned by reading more of this page, Georgia legislators have comprehensively proscribed ANY type of impaired driving, by enumerating the various ways that a driver can be intoxicated. The DUI less safe law can be accused if the driver refused all implied consent testing, under the Georgia implied consent law, or if the numeric results of a blood alcohol test or breath alcohol test were under the DUI per se alcohol “legal limit” for that driver.

DUI Per Se Laws Distinguished From DUI Less Safe Laws in Georgia

A second type of DUI-alcohol law in Georgia is known as DUI over the legal limit, or DUI alcohol per se. This separate Georgia DUI law code section, OCGA 40-6-391, subsection (a)(5), is the DUI per se alcohol concentration drunk driving law. We have to include the word “alcohol” because Georgia also has a separate DUI marijuana per se law, if any TRACE of marijuana or its metabolites can be found in your blood, urine or in both bodily fluids. The DUI marijuana “any measurable amount law” is OCGA 40-6-391, subsection (a)(6), the so-called Georgia DUI per se marijuana impaired driving law.

To top that, Georgia also has enacted a DUI impairment law for less safe DRUGS, and that could include marijuana, prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, or a variety of illegal substances, like cocaine, heroin, PCP, meth or similar contraband drugs. That code section, OCGA 40-6-391, subsection (a)(2), is the DUI drugs “less safe” Georgia drugged driving statute.

Many states (Texas, Florida) have a requirement that, to prove the elements of a DUI per se law, the prosecutor must prove both that the person was intoxicated AND that he or she was intoxicated at the time of driving. Several  states—including Georgia—have amended and broadened the sweep of their state DUI laws to create an “inference” (similar to a presumption) that the test taken AFTER arrest WAS the person’s “level” when driving.

So, if the DUI driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) is shown to be at or above the applicable legal limit, or his or her drug concentration level is shown to be present at non-therapeutic levels within three (3) hours after driving (or actual physical control) ended, then he or she will be deemed to have been intoxicated (or impaired) at the time of driving as well.

So, Georgia DUI law has broader, more sweeping statutes that allow any test result obtained within three hours of driving ending (or actual physical control ending, meaning that if you had the ignition key inside the vehicle, and the vehicle was off, and you had been sleeping for hours) that you can STILL be accused, indicted and convicted, if the DUI arrest was legally made, you took a forensic test, and the results obtained were “over the limit.”

Georgia Allows a 3-Hour Time Window for Testing, to Assist the Prosecutor

In Georgia, a chemical BAC test—whether breathblood, or urine—may be used as evidence against you in court, if not excluded by a pre-trial suppression motion, which was timely filed and successfully argued by your DUI lawyer. As long as the forensic test was collected within three hours of driving (or actual physical control) ended, a Georgia DUI conviction is possible.

This Georgia DUI law essentially makes it much easier for prosecutors to obtain a conviction in a Georgia DUI case, even if based on circumstantial evidence, if the jury chooses to believe the Prosecution over your DUI lawyer. That is why your search for attorneys in Atlanta should be for the best Atlanta DUI lawyer.

Professional Legal Help from a DUI Specialist for Your Georgia DUI Case

Knowing your legal rights is critical when it comes to a DUI charge. If you are stopped and investigated for a driving under the influence charge, you should remain silent and ask to be allowed to contact an Atlanta DUI lawyer immediately. You have to provide your correct name and current address, but NO OTHER INFORMATION has to be given, to comply with your legal duty as a citizen. Most of the people convicted of DUI are found guilty, primarily by their own admissions, conversations, and verbal efforts to be let go or “given a second chance.” The police DO NOT let you go.

More About Our Atlanta DUI lawyers and Our Hundreds of DUI Client Lawyer Reviews

For 2017, all three of our DUI law firm’s partners are rated by Super Lawyers as being top DUI attorneys in Atlanta. This distinction is significant because that means that all of our DUI lawyer attorneys have been VOTED FOR and NAMED to one of the most exclusive and prestigious attorney rating service’s top echelon of criminal defense attorneys who practice drunk driving defense. More details about each of the partners can be found below.

William C. “Bubba” Head, Board-Certified in DUI defense (one of only 4 DUI attorneys in the State of Georgia) – A veteran DUI lawyer with 40 years of aggressive criminal defense experience, and over 200 appellate cases to his credit, has been a nationally-known DUI book author for the last 25 years. Mr. Head also originally wrote the definitive book on Georgia DUI law, and still is co-author of this top-selling, 1,200 page treatise on Georgia DUI laws. As far as DUI lawyer ratings, William C. Head has held the highest ethical rating, and highest practice competence rating (5.0 of 5.0) from Martindale-Hubbell for over two decades. Martindale has been involved in various aspects of the legal industry in America for over 150 years.

Even rarer, Atlanta DUI lawyer William Head is one of only 4 Board Certified GA DUI attorneys, and also has been named for expertise for his DUI law specialty in the ultra-exclusive Best Lawyers in America directory. He has been listed for DUI defense longer than any other Georgia criminal defense lawyer. Criminal defense attorney William Head also has been honored TWICE by, as being the DUI attorney of the year for all attorneys in Atlanta. The two recognitions were made in 2012 and 2017.

DUI lawyer William C. Head, Atlanta lawyer, has been consistently named to the list of Georgia Super Lawyers EACH year (2004 to 2017) since these lawyer ratings were begun by Super Lawyers in our State. That may not seem to be a significant attorney rating, but only one other Georgia attorney (out of nearly 40,000 attorneys in Georgia) has achieved this consistent, year-after-year recognition, for DUI defense.

While 1 of 2, or 1 of 4 is noteworthy, one national lawyer rating recognition sets him apart from all lawyers in Atlanta, and in Georgia, and in the nation. In July of 2003, as part of the 9th Summer Session of the three-day National College for DUI Defense, William Head was voted — by a national poll of other DUI lawyers, to be the best DWI-DUI attorney in America, by the full membership of the largest drunk driving defense lawyer group in the country. No similar poll has been taken, before or since.

Lawrence A. (Larry) Kohn, Georgia DUI attorney, in his 18th year of DUI defense in Georgia, and was named to 2017 Super Lawyers. Receiving his undergraduate degree from Emory University, and his law degree, magna cum laude, from Georgia State University, Larry Kohn began working for William C. “Bubba” Head after his first year in law school. Mr. Kohn has over 330 FIVE-star (highest) attorney ratings displayed on, based on his past clients’ reviews. These reviews place Mr. Kohn in the Top 5 of all attorneys in Atlanta, when it comes to AVVO ratings. More recently, Larry Kohn was asked to write a chapter of a Georgia DUI book, dealing with trial strategy in DUI defense. (Aspatore Publishing, a Thomson-West subsidiary)

Cory E. Yager, Georgia DUI lawyer, in his 9th year as a criminal justice attorney, after 9 ½ years as a Georgia police officer. Mr. Yager began his career as a Cobb County police officer, patrolling all of Cobb County, before transferring to the Roswell Police Department, so that he could get a regular duty schedule and start attending law school. This police training in computer forensics, and DUI enforcement, were invaluable to his new career as one of our attorneys in Atlanta. Mr. Yager has been named as a “Super Lawyers Rising Star” for the past 5 years straight. Mr. Yager has won two GA statewide quality awards from a private “think tank” DUI defense group of nearly 100 DUI lawyers, for being the “Best DUI Defense Attorney Negotiator” in the State.

This prestigious award is only given to lawyers whose primary law practice is for DUI alcohol and DUI drugs cases in Georgia. Mr. Yager also has been rated at 5.0 of 5.0 by Martindale-Hubbell, for highest competence level and ethical standards. In 2016, Mr. Yager was asked to author a chapter of a DUI book for Georgia attorneys, addressing trial strategies in drunk driving defense cases. (Aspatore Publishing, a Thomson-West subsidiary company).

Call Atlanta DUI lawyer Bubba Head or one of his top-rated law partners today at 1-888-384-4323 (1-888-DUI-HEAD) and put 40 years of successful DUI defense on your side. Mr. Head is a 24-hour lawyer for your Atlanta case. The Atlanta attorneys at his criminal defense law office provides you with a FREE DUI case evaluation whatever time of day or night you call – week

William C. (Bubba) Head, Criminal Defense Attorney Atlanta, has been a Life Member of both NACDL (National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers) and GACDL (Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers) for over two decades. The Atlanta DUI attorney is recognized by the ABA as a DUI lawyer, as one of only 4 criminal defense attorneys in all of Georgia to be Board-Certified in DUI Defense.

To learn more about circumstantial evidence in a DUI case or to schedule a free, confidential case evaluation, contact William C. Head today.

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


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