Georgia SB 100, which was passed in this year’s legislative session, changes several laws which previously had provided mandatory license suspensions. In particular, the offense of a minor in possession of alcohol and the offense of possession of drugs NO LONGER CARRY MANDATORY LICENSE SUSPENSIONS if they are not involved in a DUI.
While these offenses no longer carry mandatory suspensions and will not be reported to the Department of Driver Services (DDS), it is important to note that they still remain on a person’s arrest record if the person was arrested and fingerprinted. As a result, it’s still important to hire an attorney to make sure that the correct plea is entered so the arrest record can be restricted.
Here is a summary of the changes:
SB 100 is just one example of how Georgia’s laws are constantly changing, and why it’s crucial to work with a traffic lawyer who specializes in your area of need and who stays up-to-date with all the new laws, decisions, and precedents while understanding the impact they have on your case. To discuss your case and how I may be able to help, schedule a consultation with me, Mickey G. Roberts.
When you are looking to hire a DUI lawyer, which is more important: the price the lawyer charges, or the experience and reputation the lawyer brings to the table?
There is a debate in legal circles as to how lawyers should charge. On one side is the old school billable hour crowd, which believes lawyers should charge by the hour. On the other side is a new group which believes a lawyer should charge based on his/her knowledge and experience.
A recent case illustrates why I am now leaning towards the second group. Throughout my 35 years of practice, I have accumulated a vast amount of knowledge not only about the law, but also knowledge about and relationships with certain courts, police departments, prosecutors, and judges. That knowledge and the relationships derived from practicing for 35 years is, in many ways, invaluable.
In this recent case, my client was charged with driving under the influence (DUI). Even the video showed his speech was slurred, he was slightly unsteady, and he exhibited the maximum clues on the HGN field sobriety test. He also had supposedly run over a curb with his car.
At first glance, most lawyers would assume that it would be impossible to win a DUI case like this one. However, the client had been involved in a serious injury accident several years ago, which left him with some head injuries and partial memory loss. The client provided me with proof of his injuries sustained in the accident, as well as a letter from his lawyer indicating the evidence of permanent disability.
I first approached the officer and told him, in a nice way, of my concerns about whether the symptoms were the result of alcohol impairment or the result of injuries sustained by my client, and told him I would be talking to the prosecutor about reducing the charges. Then I spoke with the prosecutor, whom I have known for over 25 years, and eventually she agreed with me and reduced the charges.
Now, how valuable was it to my client that I had developed enough experience to consider other causes for this supposed DUI and established those relationships with the officer and prosecutor? Or that I had worked hard to develop a reputation with many prosecutors as someone who knows what they’re doing when it comes to DUI cases, so that if I discuss with these prosecutors that they have a problem with their traffic law case, they listen, research, and consider other possibilities?
Yes, my opinion is that experience, knowledge, and relationships are invaluable when it comes to DUI defense.
A recent local traffic law case brings to light the importance of understanding uninsured motorist insurance:
A man whose car was rear-ended in DeKalb County in 2009 recently lost his claim against his uninsured motorist carrier when the Supreme Court of Georgia determined he did not adequately prove he was eligible for coverage.
The high court unanimously reversed a narrowly divided Court of Appeals opinion on the question. The justices found that the burden of proof rested with the injured driver, rather than his uninsured motorist carrier, to show whether the at-fault driver in the wreck was technically uninsured.
What is uninsured motorist insurance and why do you need it?
Let’s say, for instance, that you are involved in an auto accident and you suffer a serious injury by vehicle. You receive a broken leg, and with surgery and recovery, your medical bills are in excess of $50, 000. On top of that, you have lost wages and of course the pain and suffering that comes with the injury.
The driver who caused the accident has the minimum liability coverage in Georgia: $25,000. Obviously, that would not cover your damages. That’s where uninsured motorist insurance comes into play.
If you have uninsured motorist coverage on your auto insurance policy, and you can prove the driver at fault was either uninsured or underinsured, you can file for payment of the difference with your insurance company.
So, if your claim is for $100,000, and you have uninsured coverage of $100,000, you could apply the $25,000 from the other party’s insurance and claim the remaining $75,000 on your policy.
Uninsured motorist coverage is relatively inexpensive. Check your auto insurance policy today and make sure you have an amount you are comfortable with. Then, in the event of an accident, contact an experienced traffic attorney to help you takes the correct steps toward the best possible outcome.