By: William C. Head, Criminal Defense Attorney Atlanta GA and ABA Board-Certified DUI Attorney
In a Gwinnett County State Court case in 2001, Georgia DUI lawyer William Head was hired by a businessman who faced a first offense DUI, but whose job would be impacted (or lost) if he had a DUI conviction. In the interview with the Client, Mr. Head learned that the man had refused to try to perform the field sobriety tests. This meant that the State’s DUI case for exceeding the legal drinking limit was where the likelihood of conviction could be expected.
Mr. Head inquired the Client about all aspects of the Georgia implied consent law notice being read to him, since the two breath alcohol test readings were substantially higher than the 0.08 legal alcohol limit. Somehow, Mr. Head needed to get the two “over the legal alcohol limit” results excluded, for the Client to have a good chance of winning the DUI first offense case.
At a pre-trial motion hearing, Mr. Head got the police officer to admit the cooperative nature of his Client, and that the Client had the absolute right to NOT take any field sobriety tests. The Gwinnett County Police Officer agreed. The Gwinnett officer also agreed that the Client was perfectly cooperative at the Intoxilyzer breath test location. Then, Mr. Head got the officer to agree that immediately after the breath alcohol testing was over, that the arresting officer turned the Client over to the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Department, for booking.
Once the State “rested” its evidence, which consisted only of the testimony of the Gwinnett Police officer who made the arrest, Mr. Head put his Client on the witness stand. The Client told the Gwinnett State Court Judge, Robert Mock, that he heard the GA implied consent notice and as soon as the arresting officer shut the door of the jail after passing him over to be booked, he started asking how he could get his independent test of his blood. He further testified that he was told by the jailer at Gwinnett County Jail that “it was too late” and that they could not help him.
Georgia implied consent law is strictly construed against the State because these laws are “in derogation of common law.” That means that the State, and all of its agents (including the Gwinnett County Sherriff’s Deputy), must comport their conduct to accommodate the detained prisoner. Judge Mock ruled that the DUI alcohol per se case could not be pursued against the Client of William Head.
The State appealed this ruling, since the DUI less safe case was not strong at all. The Prosecutor knew that if this ruling was not appealed, this DUI case was over. On appeal, the Court of Appeals cited the rules pertaining to “strict construction” against the State, for non-compliance with accommodating the Client to get his independent test. That appeal, which is found at 255 Ga. App. 685 (2002), led to all DUI charges being unable to prosecute, and no DUI for Mr. Head’s happy Client.
After being arrested for DUI in Georgia, the first thing to do it identify an expert on Georgia DUI law through top attorney ratings. Look at who is BEHIND the law firm, review each of the trial lawyers’ credentials, and check out the criminal defense attorney who leads the law office. Every experienced DUI lawyer in the law firm must have full command of DUI laws and possess training in all aspects of successfully challenging the driving under the influence criminal case.
This successful defense record must include suppressing breath alcohol tests, and knowing every prior appellate decision on the Georgia implied consent law. An increasing number of drugged driving cases require that our criminal defense lawyers know how to challenge a GBI blood alcohol or drugs test. Being an INSTRUCTOR in the three NHTSA standardized field sobriety tests (SFST) is also necessary.
The best DUI attorneys in Atlanta, Georgia will offer you a FREE consultation, explain how their criminal attorneys search for a successful defense in your case, and aggressively represent clients to the maximum extent the law allows. Limit your search to DUI lawyers who have legitimate lawyer ratings and a history of proven results on knowing how to beat a DUI. If we are the criminal defense attorneys for you, ask us about our attorney payment plans.
Call our DUI defense lawyers NOW, 24-7, for an initial case review and FREE legal advice: 404-567-5515, or email our criminal justice attorneys.