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Fourth DUI Reduced to Reckless Driving in Georgia

DUI Fourth Offense Reduced to Reckless Driving – 0.26 Blood Alcohol Content (BAC)

By: Bubba Head, DUI Lawyer Atlanta

A disturbance call from a Huddle House located off I-20 in eastern Georgia prompted a BOLO call (be on the lookout) for a drunk and belligerent patron traveling southbound on a secondary highway that ran perpendicular to Interstate 20.  The highly intoxicated passenger was pulled over less than one mile away. The vehicle description matched precisely, as well as the description of the driver.

Once the arrested citizen bonded out of jail, he called a college fraternity brother from the east Georgia area to ask him for the name of the best DUI lawyer in Georgia.  His friend, who had been a college roommate at a Raleigh, NC, college, called one of the best Atlanta DUI attorneys, Bubba Head, for this difficult case.  Although the courthouse location was well over an hour from Atlanta GA, Mr. Head’s Atlanta DUI law firm of travel statewide, to help clients win tough DUI cases.

Atlanta DUI lawyer Bubba Head interviewed the referral to his office.  The interview revealed that the arrested man was an admitted alcoholic, whose residence was in an adjacent state. The prospective client reported that he had been given a blood test, and the police officer read the required Georgia implied consent law notice after the DUI arrest was made.  Another charge for disorderly conduct was written, based on the Huddle House disturbance. The client consented to the blood alcohol test, but the results were not yet known. This was the client’s 4th DUI in 10 years, and created significant punishment and license problems if a conviction occurred.

The client hired the Georgia DUI lawyer best known for fighting “seemingly impossible cases.” An investigation of the circumstances of the DUI arrest revealed these key points:

  1. The blood alcohol content (BAC level) was 0.26, or more than triple the state legal limit of 0.08.
  2. Three separate witnesses from the Huddle House were listed in the police report, each of whom observed the client’s profane and loud conduct at the restaurant.
  3. The client admitted drinking alcohol.
  4. Field sobriety tests were not given because the client declined to take the voluntary tests.
  5. No independent “traffic offense” was observed by police beyond the BOLO call coming in, via a 911 call.
  6. No DVD or police video existed in this case.

Atlanta criminal attorney Bubba Head filed certain targeted pre-trial motions seeking to challenge the probable cause for DUI, in the absence of field sobriety tests. Additionally, under a recent United States Supreme Court case called Missouri v. McNeely, from 2013, Mr. Head sought to exclude the implied consent test for BLOOD, based upon the invasive nature of the blood test, the fact that ONLY alcohol was suspected as an impairing substance, and that the client was too drunk to consent (as was proscribed in a Georgia Supreme Court case, Williams v. State, from 2015).

The case was filed in the Municipal Court of the small east Georgia town, and given a trial date about 4 weeks later.  Mr. Head considered whether to request a jury trial, and bind the case over to Superior Court, but (after consulting with other local Georgia DUI lawyers) opted to stay in the local Municipal Court, to argue motions and trial issues in a single proceeding.

Another technical issue, relating to how the uniform traffic citation was written, limited the type of DUI being accused to “DUI per se,” or for being over the legal limit, and not for “less safe DUI” (being too intoxicated to drive safely). This technicality would likely be corrected if the case was moved to Superior Court.

On the day of trial, the Atlanta DUI attorney and his client appeared and announced ready.  The arresting officer was present, as was the person who called “911” about the drunk patron.  Multiple other cases were processed before trials started, but the case was ultimately called for a bench trial (non-jury trial) about two hours later.

As the case was called for trial, the municipal court judge asked how the case was going to proceed.  Mr. Head explained that he preferred to have motions heard as part of the trial, and no objection to this was made on behalf of the city police.  The officer was sworn in, creating jeopardy for the case.  Mr. Head always has a court reporter at trial, in case an appeal is later needed, and because municipal courts in Georgia do not have court reporters on duty for such matters.

As the case got underway, Mr. Head pointed out that this case was only a DUI per se case under OCGA 40-6-391, subsection (a)(5).  Next, Mr. Head provided copies of key blood test appellate decisions to the Court, for review of the admissibility of a blood draw from a highly intoxicated motorist who was alleged to be capable of giving consent, under the GA implied consent laws.

The trial judge reviewed these cases, and asked the officer if he agreed with certain statements regarding the Client’s extreme level of intoxication, which the law enforcement officer confirmed.  At that point, the Judge asked the Atlanta DUI lawyer who was defending the accused man about the disorderly conduct accusation.  Mr. Head indicated that this charge could likely be proven.

Once the Judge realized that the 0.26 blood test was one of the highest DUI test numbers he had seen, and confirmed that no video existed on the reading of the GA implied consent card, and the subsequent “responses” by the accused man and the officer, the Judge “suggested” to the police officer that this blood test under Georgia implied consent laws may not be legal.

The judge stopped the trial, and gave Mr. Head the opportunity to consult with the officer about a possible resolution of the case.  Less than 10 minutes later, the DUI was dismissed, and Mr. Head’s client entered a nolo contendere plea to the reckless driving charge, and a guilty plea to disorderly conduct. The DUI conviction was avoided.

 

Call 41-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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