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What is a “DUI Less Safe”?

Many people are under the impression that you cannot be arrested and convicted of a DUI if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is less than .08 grams. This is incorrect. In Georgia, while the legal limit is .08, a person can be a DUI “less safe,” even if their BAC is below a .08.

dui less safe in georgiaIn Georgia, there is no legal presumption of impairment if your BAC is between a .05 and a .08.  If your BAC is below a .05, there is a rebuttable presumption that you are NOT impaired.
A DUI less safe is defined as “being under the influence of alcohol to the extent that you are less safe to drive.”

But what does it mean, legally, to be “DUI less safe to drive?” First, it means that you are less safe to drive than if you had not consumed alcohol or drugs. But, hey, that depends on the person’s tolerance, right? So, according to the Pattern Jury Charges that judges in Georgia read to jurors before deliberating, this is what “less safe” means:
A person is less safe to drive when that person is less efficient, less skillful, less coherent, less able, and less proficient to drive a car.

Notice that there is NOTHING that describes less safe as having your eyes jerk, or performing gymnastic floor exercises.  There is nothing about bloodshot eyes, or slurred speech or the smell of alcohol. The definition also does not mention anything about alcohol or drug blood levels.  The definition has to do with whether a person’s fine motor skills have been affected so much that they cannot effectively drive a car.

So the next time you are on a jury and are asked to decide if someone were DUI “less safe", remember that we are talking about driving ability here; is there evidence that the person was  able, efficient, skilful or proficient WHILE driving the car? Or is there simply collateral evidence that may or may not have anything to do with actual driving skill?

Hiring a qualified, knowledgeable DUI attorney can make all the difference in winning your case.  If you are arrested for DUI or other serious traffic matters, contact MrGaDUI today. Also be sure to follow me, Mickey Roberts, on FacebookTwitter, and Google+ for more traffic law updates and news. 

Why the Georgia State Patrol is Asking You to Speed Up (No, Really!)

“But officer, I was going the speed limit!”

Since July 2014, this has likely been the sentiment echoing through the ears of many Georgia State Patrol officers—but not for the reason you’d expect. While many speeders wrongfully use this excuse while going well over the speed limit, it could now be due to getting pulled over due to the new “slowpoke” law.

The law was passed by state legislature in efforts to reduce the amount of drivers who obstruct the flow of traffic in the passing lane.  By doing so, officers claim to decrease the possibility of “road rage” and accidents associated with slow drivers by moving them out of the left lane away from fast moving traffic and even speeders likely to be clocked by an officer’s radar gun.

If weather or traffic conditions make it necessary to stay in the left lane or you must be in the passing lane to exit the roadway or turn left, you’ll likely be excused from having to move out of the fast lane.

As of November 2014, the Georgia State Patrol has issued well over 100 citations. Officers report that it is extremely simple to spot drivers who do not move over while drivers pile up, just trying to pass them. While certainly frustrating, it is interesting that a law has been passed for this type of behavior since speeders (which are far more dangerous to other drivers) likely will get more attention. Regardless, it’s important to follow enforced laws when driving on the highway and pay attention to your role among other drivers. As an experienced  traffic and DUI lawyer in Georgia, I see many drivers involved in accidents simply for not paying attention. I recommend for this never to be the reason you are dealing with traffic trouble in court.

What do you think of the new slowpoke law? Did you even know it existed? Head over to my FacebookTwitter, or Google+ and comment to let me know. For help with your own DUI and traffic law cases, please contact me, Mickey Roberts.

No Laughing Matter: The Serious Consequences of a Second DUI Conviction

One DUI is certainly one more than anyone needs or wants, but a second DUI conviction carries the very real possibility of hefty fees and fines, significant jail time, hundreds of hours of community service, long-term license suspension, and tag forfeiture of any car titled in your name.
The Georgia legislature has enacted strongly worded laws and put in place severe penalties for anyone convicted of driving under the influence for the second time. While some of the penalties may be lessened at the discretion of a lenient judge, in general, second-time offenders should expect to receive a lengthy, expensive, and difficult punishment.

Expense
A second DUI carries a heavy financial burden. The state of Georgia charges a minimum of $600 in DUI fines, but in many cases judges raise the fine to over $1,000. This fine is in addition to 40% of that amount in statutory surcharges. While that number by itself is daunting, keep in mind that it does not include DUI attorney’s fees, lost wages due to missed work, the expense of completing court-mandated alcohol or driving education, or the transportation costs incurred after you lose your license.

Time
Second-time Georgia DUI offenders face between three days and 12 months in jail. A judge may reduce the requisite jail time, but offenders must spend a minimum of 72 hours behind bars. In Metro Atlanta, it is common for second-time DUI offenders to spend around 10 days in jail. You must complete a clinical alcohol and drug evaluation and attend what is commonly referred to as ‘DUI school.’ Factor in any time spent in your attorney’s office, in court, or performing the mandatory 240 hours of community service, and a second DUI is likely to have extremely time-consuming consequences.

Stress
The stress of a second arrest, incarceration, court date, and loss of any driving for a at least four months  – can take a heavy emotional toll on both the offender and his or her loved ones. Adding to the stress of the experience is the embarrassment of having your photo and DUI conviction published in the local legal newspaper. When the requisite four-month period of license suspension is up, offenders must deal with the stress and expense of applying for a limited permit. In order to obtain a limited permit, the offender’s vehicle must be outfitted – at the offender’s expense – with an Interlock Ignition Device (IID) for 12 months. Then you are entitled to a limited permit with no IID for 2 more months before becoming eligible for full license reinstatement.

Clearly, a second DUI conviction creates significant hardship for the offender. If you have been charged as a second-time DUI offender, it’s crucial to contact an experienced DUI lawyer who knows the law and defends DUI cases. Atlanta DUI attorney Mickey Roberts has been successfully fighting for drivers for over 34 years. Connect with Mickey on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.

Driving Habits That Could Lead to a DUI Arrest

Unless a police officer smells your breath as you drive by, he or she will have to rely on visual cues based on your driving behavior to determine whether you are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Most people know that fast, reckless driving can indicate DUI, but you may not know that some seemingly innocent driving habits can lead to a traffic stop and potentially a DUI arrest. If you’ve been drinking at all – even if you’re not over the legal limit of .08 – these driving behaviors can give police officers probable cause to stop and even arrest you.
should you take test after dui arrest

Improper Acceleration & Braking
We’ve all been in the car with a stop-and-go driver whose jerky braking nearly causes whiplash. It can be irritating, but it can also get you pulled over on suspicion of DUI. Drivers who have been drinking mimic the behavior of such a driver; braking too late or too soon, accelerating sharply for no apparent reason, and failing to maintain a reasonably constant rate of speed are all signs of DUI.

Carelessness
It happens to everyone: the driver in front of you suddenly begins slowing down, almost stopping, and then abruptly makes a turn. “Nice blinker,” you mutter. Or maybe you’re on the interstate, where most drivers are doing north of 70 mph, and see someone change lanes without signaling. It’s obviously dangerous, but failing to signal can also signal to cops that you may be under the influence. The same is true for forgetting to turn on headlights when it’s dark, raining, or foggy or taking longer than normal to respond to traffic signals, such as a light change from red to green.

Poor Judgment
Did you know that tailgating can be an indicator of impaired driving? It’s tempting to “ride” someone who’s driving more slowly than you’d like, but following too closely can get you pulled over on suspicion of DUI. Other examples of poor judgment include rapid and frequent lane changes, especially in dangerously narrow spaces, and turning too sharply, broadly, quickly, or slowly.

Failing to Maintain Lane Position
It’s critical to stay in your lane while driving for both your safety and the safety of other drivers. Failure to do so could result in a traffic stop and subsequent DUI charge. Weaving, straddling a line (a common practice among sober drivers in rural areas with very little traffic and road lighting), swerving, and drifting on a curve are just a few examples.
If you find yourself arrested and charged with DUI – no matter whether or how much you’ve been drinking – get in touch with an attorney with extensive experience in handling Georgia DUI cases. As an attorney with over 33 years of experience handling both DUI and traffic-law cases, I urge you to contact me, Mickey Roberts, and to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for all the latest in DUI news and laws.

Vehicular Homicide Continued: Misdemeanor, Feticide, & Serious Injury Crashes

Last month, I filled you in on the ins and outs of felony vehicular homicide. To recap, determining felony vehicular homicide depends largely on the traffic violations committed, including reckless driving, DUI, fleeing/eluding, and leaving the scene of the accident. Generally, if found guilty of felony vehicular homicide in Georgia, you can expect a punishment of 3 to 15 years in prison, though habitual violators can face up to 20 years.

As a seasoned traffic and DUI lawyer in Georgia, I have experience in defending cases involving other facets of vehicular homicide outside of felony, including misdemeanor, feticide, and serious injury crashes. All of these classifications have varying implications, but all involve a driver’s actions as the proximate cause of death or cause of serious injury. Vehicular homicide in the 2nd Degree is known as a misdemeanor. In Georgia, any person who causes the death of another person as a result of traffic violations other than the felony predicate offenses commits this offense.

For example, if you were to run a red light, crash into another car, and cause the death of another person, it would be classified as vehicular homicide in the 2nd Degree.  To be found guilty of misdemeanor vehicular homicide, the judge or jury is required to find that the person committed a traffic offense other than the felony vehicular homicide predicate offenses. Subsequently, it must be found that the person’s unlawful acts were the proximate cause of death. For this offense, you can be sentenced to a maximum of 12 months.

Another aspect of vehicular homicide is feticide by vehicle. The elements and punishment for felony feticide by vehicle are the same as felony vehicular homicide, with the same rule applying to misdemeanor vehicular homicide. Feticide by vehicle is defined as causing the death of an unborn child, at any stage of development that is carried in the womb, within a car crash.

Lastly, any person who brings about serious injury to another person as a result of reckless driving or DUI commits the offense of serious injury by vehicle. “Serious injury” is defined as “depriving a person of a member of his body, by rendering a member of his body useless, by seriously disfiguring his body or a member thereof, or by causing organic brain damage, which renders the body or any member thereof useless.” In order to be found guilty of serious injury by vehicle, the judge or jury must find that the person committed either reckless driving or DUI. Subsequently, they must find that the person’s unlawful acts were the proximate cause of serious injury. This offense is a felony that comes with a sentence from one to 15 years in prison. If convicted of serious injury by vehicle, the person will face 3 years of driver’s license suspension, no work permit available.

Navigating the various facets of vehicular homicide and serious injury crashes can be daunting and often times confusing. If you find yourself in any of the situations described, I urge you to contact a professional to aid in your 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.


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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.
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