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For many years, I have advised people to “refuse” to take a State blood, breath or urine test after arrest if they thought they might register above the legal limit of .08.  Now, due to changing conditions, we must rethink that position.

Georgia law says that if you are arrested for DUI, you are “required” to take a test of your blood, breath, urine, or other bodily substance. However, you do have the right to “refuse” to take such test(s). If you take the test(s), you have a right to an independent test of blood, breath, urine, or “other bodily substance.”

should you take test after dui arrest

The question of whether to take a state test after arrest has always been a troublesome one. On one hand, Georgia law says that when you “refuse” to take a test, your license could be suspended for a full year. That is known as an administrative license suspension (ALS) and must be initiated by the arresting officer.   So, if you could get past the license hearing, you had done yourself a favor by not providing the State with your blood alcohol level.

The problem is, we are seeing more and more cops showing up for the ALS hearing and insisting that our clients sign an agreement whereby the client agrees to plead guilty to the DUI, and the cop then agrees to withdraw any one year suspension.  These agreements, under a recent Georgia case, can now be admitted into evidence against you, if you decide to go back on the agreement and fight the DUI.

Georgia law says that if you refuse testing, then “NO TEST SHALL BE GIVEN.” However, the legislature changed the license law a few years ago to add that nothing in the law would prevent a police officer from “obtaining evidence by other means”.  Recently, some police agencies have started obtaining search warrants to forcibly draw a person’s blood if that person has refused to agree to a State breath or blood test. Not only that, but these officers are also seeking a one year license suspension even after obtaining the suspect’s blood!

While there are currently legal actions arguing that a person or driver’s rights are violated by these forced blood draws, we must take another look at our options when deciding whether to take the test or not.

If you refuse to take the test, not only are you subject to losing your license for a full year with no permit, you may also have your blood drawn, with the results able to be used against you.

Once you do take the designated State tests, you are entitled to an independent test of your own choosing of your blood, breath, urine, or other bodily substances . Once you request an independent test of your choosing, the officer must “reasonably accommodate your request, or otherwise the State test cannot be used against you.  As I am not aware as to whether the State is capable of testing “other bodily substances” for blood alcohol level, you might consider requesting an independent test of a bodily substance other than blood, breath or urine.

I would suggest you specifically request a test of either hair or saliva. Then, the burden shifts to the officer to reasonably accommodate your request. For more information, contact me, Mickey Roberts. Be sure to follow me on FacebookTwitter, and Google+ for Georgia law updates and news.

More than any other traffic-related offense, vehicular homicide is an extremely upsetting experience sure to lead to times of confusion and despair.  Often a component of additional charges such as DUI or DWI, vehicular homicide is defined as when “a person, without malice aforethought, causes the death of another person through violation of certain offenses,” such as DUI.  As a seasoned traffic and DUI lawyer in Georgia, I’ve sadly seen quite a few of these cases over the years and can help clarify some of the essential points that distinguish one case from another. Vehicular homicide is usually charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. In this blog, we’ll cover the basics for felony vehicular homicide.

case of the month

Vehicular homicide in the First Degree is a felony in Georgia depending on the traffic violations committed. Offenses include reckless driving, DUI, fleeing/eluding, and leaving the scene of accident.  The State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed one of the aforementioned traffic offenses as well as find that your driving was the proximate cause of the death.  If you are found guilty of felony vehicular homicide, you can be sentenced from 3 to 15 years in prison as a consequence.  If you’re a habitual violator, you could face up to 20 years of jail time.

You can also expect a 3 year license suspension with no work permit available if you’re convicted of felony vehicular homicide, although more than likely you are going to be serving time in prison for the first 3 years anyway. 

There are various other facets in vehicular homicide, including misdemeanor, feticide, and serious injury crashes that will be covered in my next blog. To contact a reputable lawyer in Georgia, contact me, Mickey Roberts. Be sure to follow me on FacebookTwitter, and Google+ for traffic law updates and news.

While marijuana laws are changing all over the United States, the facts remain unchanged in Georgia: have it in your possession or drive under the influence, and law enforcement will not be happy. For an example, let’s examine this edition of my Case of the Month series featuring underage DUI involving marijuana.

dui with drugs

An underage client of mine was stopped by a police officer for making an illegal left turn.  When the officer approached the car, he smelled the telltale odor of marijuana drifting from inside. My client admitted to smoking marijuana prior to being stopped with his girlfriend, a passenger in the car. 

After performing field sobriety evaluations, my client was arrested for DUI for being under the influence of marijuana. When the officer requested a urine test, my client consented.  The urine test came back positive for marijuana. Georgia law states that a person is guilty of a DUI if that person “drives a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana to the extent that person is rendered incapable of driving safely.”  Since marijuana is detectable in urine even a month after use, it is possible to be convicted of this type of DUI weeks after it was last used, if the State can prove, through physical appearance, driving, and field sobriety evaluations, that you were incapable of driving safely. This is part of what makes marijuana DUIs so tricky.

Because of my client’s age, even a plea to reckless driving would have resulted in a 6-month suspension. The key to a urine test is that by the time marijuana (or its inactive ingredient) gets into your urine, you are no longer under the influence of the effects of the marijuana.  In this case, I was able to resolve the case as follows: the DUI was reduced entirely, and the client pled to a city ordinance violation, which did not go on his driving record or on his criminal history.

There are hundreds of ways to win a DUI case, especially when you consult an experienced DUI and traffic lawyer in your area. We just need to be open and creative enough to find the way for each particular case. To contact a reputable lawyer in Georgia, contact me, Mickey Roberts. Be sure to follow me on FacebookTwitter, and Google+ for traffic law updates and news.

While your teen is likely thrilled to obtain their driver’s license for the first time, it’s important to take this time to educate them on safe driving. Studies from the National Safety Council show that the most dangerous time of a teen driver‘s life is the first 12 months of having their license. In fact, this risk increases in the summer for a number of reasons.  Find out why below along with tips to help you encourage safe driving.

Essential Tips for Encouraging Safe Teen Driving

Set boundaries and curfews despite the season. While the school year is full of activities and curfews, things tend to loosen up around summer, leading to less restriction and more time out late with friends. One negative factor is that teens get less sleep, leading to more driving when tired (which some studies indicate is equally as dangerous as driving drunk). According to AAA research, the chances of being involved in a deadly crash doubles specifically for teens when driving at night, with more than half of nighttime crashes occur between 9 p.m. and midnight.

Remind them of the importance of the speed limit. While speeding in the warm summer air is tempting, one-third of all yearly traffic deaths in the U.S. are associated with driving over the speed limit. Adjusting speed for the current conditions and assuming hazards that may not be detectable yet can reduce the chance of accidents. I recommend having your teen place an object on their wrist such as a rubber band or bracelet), or on the steering wheel to remind them to look at their speedometer on a regular basis!

Put away your phone. While many parents preach the dangers of texting and driving to their teens, it isn’t convincing when you continue to use your phone yourself. It really can wait! The increase in distracted driving cases has greatly increased alongside the rise in popularity of smartphones. A common consequence of distracted driving is drifting off the side of the road or out of your lane, which causes drivers to overcorrect and in the worst of cases, flip their cars.

Take three seconds to fasten your seatbelt. This is another case of leading by example and not downplaying the importance of a seatbelt at all times. In addition to avoiding a citation, using lap/shoulder belts decreases your risk of being killed or seriously injured in a crash 45 to 50 percent.

Be open to honesty. Though the legal drinking age in Georgia is 21, it’s not uncommon for some teenagers to bend the rules. Let them know that in the event of them going against the law and drinking, it’s better to simply call for a ride than to risk getting on the road. This can not only save them from the possibility of getting a costly underage DUI, but from hurting themselves or others. Being grounded is better than being in jail, or worse.

The crash risk for young drivers’ does not begin decreasing significantly until age 25. Do your part by reminding your teen to always be mindful of driving safely. To contact a reputable lawyer in Georgia, contact me, Mickey Roberts. Be sure to follow me on FacebookTwitter, and Google+ for traffic law updates and news.

It’s an understatement to say that being arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) can be an overwhelming experience. Even in the first moments, you begin to consider what the next step should be.  According to Georgia DUI attorney Mickey Roberts, the logical next step is to find a great lawyer who can address your case effectively and professionally. Below, he provides five key points that should be brought up when selecting your DUI attorney.

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Thoroughly learn the lawyer’s background and experience. Inquire about where they attended law school and their time of graduation, as well any membership in bar organizations and length of practice.
  1. Get a feel for their client base. How long has the lawyer been representing clients facing DUI? Is it their specialty, or just something done on the side? How many clients are represented each year?
  1. Their success is your business. Ask about their success rate within the court, and welcome feedback on your case so they can understand the charges and if they believe they can take you on as a client. If you’re satisfied with the amount of cases won, it’s a good indicator that this is a trustworthy lawyer for you.
  1. Assess your case. Lay out the details of your arrest and the charges you’re currently facing. Ask the lawyer what they would recommend in terms of a guilty plea or trial. Request for them to lay out the factors in your case that work in your favor or against you to determine how the DUI lawyer will aggressively defend you in court.
  1. Consider the cost. Yes, DUI arrests can be expensive. But think about the possible outcomes: you could lose your driver’s license, experience an increase in insurance premiums, DUI school, fines, and possible jail time. And of course it costs money to hire a lawyer.

After meeting with your potential attorney, evaluate. Consider what you heard about their experience, success rates, and applicable fees. Do your research. If you believe the attorney will fight hard for your case and value your triumph over your charges, hire them! To contact a reputable DUI in Georgia, call Mickey Roberts. Be sure to follow Mickey Roberts on FacebookTwitter, and Google+ for traffic law updates and news.


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Disclaimer

The above information is intended to help educate members of the Georgia motoring public as to their rights under the law and to assist presumptively innocent citizens in properly asserting those rights. Information within this site should not be misconstrued as legal advice.