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Category: 4 Simple Rules Explained

4 Rules to Live By if You Are Stopped by Police: A New Spin

You probably know by now that as an experienced DUI lawyer, I am an advocate for simple tips that can save you a lot of trouble if you are ever faced with an under-the-influence dilemma. Due to changing conditions in the law world, I’ve revamped my 4 Simple Rules to reflect the best behaviors you can practice in a traffic stop. Though nothing is ever simple when it comes to traffic stops, these rules are proven to help.

what to do if pulled over by police in Georgia
  1. Never admit to drinking or anything else. This rule has remained constant throughout the years. This does not mean deny drinking, it means do not admit or deny drinking or anything else. If you admit drinking, then he or she should ask you what you were drinking, how much, and when. You help an officer tremendously in proving you guilty of DUI when you admit to having multiple drinks, regardless of any other evidence that would tend to prove you were not impaired. 
  2. Do not submit to any roadside field sobriety evaluations.  Roadside tests are voluntary, but an officer doesn’t have to tell you as much. While he/she may show you how to do the evaluations, they never tell you exactly how they are “scoring.” If there is no video evidence, a cop can basically say anything in his report about how you performed on the evaluation. In fact, most DUI Task Force officers admit that they would not take the field sobriety tests if asked. Just say no.
  3. Invoke your 4th Amendment right against unreasonable searches. Though this only works in certain situations, you do have the right to refuse an unreasonable search.  There are current cases on appeal which involve the issue that a warrantless search of a person’s blood, breath, urine, so forth, may violate the 4th Amendment, and that the police can easily obtain a search warrant now, in a DUI case, for blood. Also, one should NEVER consent to a warrantless search of one’s car.
  4. If you take the State chemical test, always ask for an independent test of your “other bodily substance,” such as hair or saliva.  If you refuse to take the state chemical 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 being 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 (such as hair or saliva). This way, the burden shifts to the officer to reasonably accommodate your request or the State test cannot be used against you.

Regardless of the situation at hand, do your best to remain focused on not providing evidence that would tend to prove your guilt of DUI.  For more information, contact me, Mickey Roberts. Be sure to follow me on FacebookTwitter, and Google+ for Georgia law updates and news.

New Advice on Whether to “Take the Test” After DUI Arrest

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.

States Are Struggling In Defining Marijuana DUIs

As more states legalize personal use of marijuana, they are now trying to define just how much marijuana in a person’s blood would be considered as an impaired driver.  States such as Colorado and Washington are trying to agree on an amount of Delta 9 THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) that would cause someone to be impaired to drive, and would therefore constitute a “per se” DUI.  The amount that they came up with is five or more nanograms of Delta 9 THC per milliliter, yet there are disagreements on whether even that amount is too low or too high.  “Even the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) acknowledges that detecting impairment caused by use of marijuana can be trickier than it is for alcohol.”  (NY Times, June 9, 2013)Police Officer - Eye Coordination

“Earlier this year, in a widely viewed broadcast, a Seattle TV station, KIRO, had three volunteers smoke marijuana before driving.  They started out well enough, and each were capable of driving safely even after they far exceeded the state’s 5 nanogram limit.”  (NY Times, June 9, 2013)

In states that have not legalized recreational use, such as Georgia, the legal definition of someone under the influence of marijuana is someone who is rendered “incapable of driving safely.”  There is currently no “per se” marijuana in Georgia.  There is a DUI “per se” level which is .08 grams but in Georgia the State must prove that you are “rendered incapable of driving safely due to marijuana.”  The State generally must show less safe driving, failure to perform balance tests, or physical manifestations of being “stoned.”  Most officers lack the training to accurately articulate someone who may be impaired due to marijuana; therefore, it is important that you do NOT voluntarily give the State any evidence which would incriminate you.

The Simple Rules apply if you are stopped in Georgia and are suspected of being under the influence of marijuana:
  • Don’t admit to smoking.
  • Don’t do any field tests.
  • Don’t agree to a blood or urine test.
  • Make the State prove that you are under the influence to the extent you were “rendered incapable of driving safely.”


For the latest on DUI and traffic laws news, visit the MRGADUI blog.  To inquire about legal representation for traffic offenses, contact Mickey Roberts today.  Also be sure to connect with Mickey on Facebook,Twitter and Google+.

Five Things Cops Don’t Tell You during a Traffic Stop

If you drive a car for any period of time, chances are good that you will be stopped at some time by a police officer.  If the cop suspects that you have been drinking, there are five things he/she will NOT tell you during their detention:arrested for dui
  1. Once they smell what they believe to be alcohol, they are like sharks smelling blood. Their focus becomes ENTIRELY on forming an opinion that you are driving under the influence DUI.
  2. Police ask you if you have been drinking for two reasons: if you deny drinking and later it is determined that you have been drinking, they use your denial against you in court; If you admit drinking they can also use it against you in court.
  3. They will not tell you that the Field Sobriety Evaluations will be used against you as evidence to prove you guilty of DUI.
  4. They will not tell you that the portable breath test (alco sensor) on the scene gives the officer a numerical readout of your blood alcohol level. Using that number allows him to form an opinion that you should be arrested for DUI.
  5. They will not tell you that if you take the State breath test and register above the legal limit (currently .08 grams/210 liters), you are automatically deemed DUI and the burden shifts to you to prove innocence.
  While you need to cooperate with the officer in giving them your license and following instructions to get out of your car, you do NOT have to provide evidence which they can use at a later date to convict you of DUI. Remember that DUI is an opinion crime: the officer forms an opinion based on his interpretation of the evidence. Keep these points in mind if you are stopped by the police; if you are arrested for DUI or any other serious traffic violations, contact MRGADUI.  You can also connect with attorney Mickey Roberts on Facebook, Twitter, and Google + for the latest DUI news.

Remember the 4 Rules If You Are Pulled Over

mrgaduiWith the upcoming holidays, law enforcement will be out in full force, stopping people for suspected DUI.  Just recently, a local news anchor, Amanda Davis of Fox 5 News, was arrested after a wrong-way crash and charged with driving under the influence, reckless driving, and failure to maintain lane. what to do if pulled over by police for drinking and driving

When Davis was asked by the officer if she had been drinking, she said yes – not following rule number 1 of the 4 simple rules to remember when stopped by the police.  However, she did refuse a breathalyzer test and field sobriety test.   As you may have seen in previous blogs or on a MRGADUI koozie, I want to remind everyone of the 4 simple rules:

  1. Never admit to drinking or anything else. This does not mean deny drinking, it means do NOT admit or deny drinking or anything else. You do not have to provide any evidence that may incriminate you.
  2. Do not submit to any roadside field sobriety evaluations.  Roadside tests are voluntary and can include an eye test, walking a straight line, standing on one leg, ABCs, and/or a portable breath test.
  3. Do not take any state tests after your arrest if you believe you might be over the legal limit of .08 limit.
  4. If you are under 21 and receive a traffic ticket, call me! Since many traffic violations in addition to DUI can result in license suspension for underage drivers, it’s best to contact me to see whether your license is subject to suspension.


* 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.

Contact me if you need DUI help or have questions about another traffic offense.  Don’t forget to connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for the latest information about traffic issues and driver’s rights.

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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.
4 Simple Rules Explained