Category Archives: Blog

License Information for New Georgia Residents

Georgia law requires an individual to apply for a Georgia driver’s license if they have resided in the state for more than 30 days. Although it is sometimes difficult for law enforcement to prove, it’s crucial to obey the law to avoid unnecessary stops. The process of transferring your license from out-of-state to Georgia is relatively simple. If you have a valid driver’s license or a license that expired less than two years ago, you can go to a local Department of Driver Services (DDS) location to receive a Georgia license. You will be asked to surrender your current license and provide proof of residency, identity, and citizenship.

If your license has been expired for less than 2 years, in addition to the information noted above you will need to take the vision exam at your local DDS.  If your license is expired for more than 2 years, you will also be required to take the written, road and vision exams. If you have lost or misplaced your out-of-state license, you will need to present an original letter of clearance or certified driving record from the issuing state at the time of application.

It’s important to note an expired or invalid license is not the same as a suspended license. Getting caught with an expired license is a lesser offense than driving with a suspended license, although law enforcement can tow your car if they decide to.  Driving on a suspended license can get you arrested and your car impounded.

Don’t forget to join me on Facebook, Google + and Twitter for more information about Georgia driving laws.

How Motions Can Win a DUI Case

There are many ways of winning a DUI case, and one way is to fight the case with “motions”. Motions are pleadings filed with the court asking it to throw out the case entirely or limit evidence that the State can use against the defendant.

The most common motion I use is called a Motion to Suppress.  This motion serves 3 purposes. First, it could possibly win the entire case, such as when the court rules the stop illegal. Second, it allows me to cross examine the cop to see if he/she can actually articulate why the defendant was arrested for DUI, whether they followed their training, and so forth. This is especially important in cases where there is no video of the arrest. I can cross examine the officer and many times show the State that the officer did not follow basic operating procedures for a DUI arrest, or doesn’t make a good witness.  Finally, sometimes the officer fails to appear for the hearing and the case gets thrown out.

One of my most recent cases shows the importance of motions: my client was stopped for weaving, supposedly failed all of the field sobriety tests, and registered a BAC (blood alcohol content) of .08 on the breath test. At the motions hearing, the officer was unable to remember or articulate my client’s physical appearance, could not articulate how he administered the field tests, and most importantly, NEVER testified that he read the implied consent warning (the warning needed as a prerequisite BEFORE admission of any State breath test). As a result the .08 was excluded from evidence. After the hearing, the State approached me and offered a dismissal of the DUI in return for a plea to reckless driving. My client readily accepted the reduced charge, and the case was over without the further expense of a jury trial for my client.

Motions are an important tool in aggressively defending DUIs, and any good DUI attorney should use motions on most DUI cases.  To learn more about the DUI defense and other traffic related services I offer visit my website and continue to read by blog.  Connect with me on Facebook and Twitter for access to the latest traffic offense news and updates.

4 Simple Rules Explained: Rule 4

mrgaduiRule 4:  Hire a traffic attorney if you’re under the age of 21 and get any tickets.

Why should I hire an attorney for a traffic offense if under 21?

When you are under the age of 21, there are certain types of traffic offenses which will result in automatic license suspension.  Rather than simply paying the ticket (meaning you are admitting guilt)and later learning that your license is suspended, consult a traffic attorney experienced in dealing with teenage driver infractions so that you’re fully aware of the possible plea consequences.

There are several ways in which the license of a teenage driver can be suspended:

  1. Any offense carrying 4 or more points; (this includes speeding 24 miles over the speed limit, passing a school bus, passing on a hill or curve, reckless driving, or aggressive driving)
  2. Hit and run or leaving the scene of accident
  3. Racing
  4. Fleeing and eluding a police officer
  5. Purchasing alcohol
  6. Using a fake ID to purchase alcohol
  7. Arrested for DUI
  8. Illegal drug possession


There ARE ways of keeping your license from being suspended if you are charged with any of the above offenses, but you need the advice of a qualified traffic lawyer to help you!  Practicing law for 32 years, I have handled 1000s of such cases.   Unless your driving record is horrific, I can normally get something worked out on your case to keep your license.

While I am able to go back and reopen your case AFTER conviction many times, it is far easier to hire me to represent for these charges BEFORE you go to court.

To schedule a consultation with me, contact my office.  You can also join me on Facebook, Google +, and Twitter for the latest teenage driver defense news.

New Law Increases Fees for DUI and Other Alcoholic Offenses

If there were no reasons for fighting a DUI conviction before, there is now. As part of a new overhaul of the criminal code in Georgia, effective July 1, 2012, the “penalties” added onto fines will equal 50% of the fine. This means that if you plead guilty to a DUI and are assessed a fine of $1000, you will still owe an additional “fee” of $500. This is in addition to other fees that go to the Peace Officers Retirement Fund and the Probate Judges Retirement Fund.

The new penalties will go to fund what will be known as the “County Drug Abuse and Treatment Program.” The penalties do not just apply to DUIs. Now a 50% penalty will be applied on possession of alcohol by a minor, serious injury by vehicle, and fleeing and eluding, as well as all drug possession convictions.

In essence, the total amount due for fines and fees now on a DUI, minor in possession, etc. could be as high as 100% of any fine amount! Although the best way to avoid such fees is not getting arrested for DUI or drug possession, etc., you can hire a qualified DUI defense lawyer to aggressively fight and win your DUI case if you are faced with such fees. The days of hiring a cheap “plea dog” lawyer are over.

Full Disclosure? Not for Georgia Breath Tests

Many of our government officials love the term “full disclosure” these days. Another word they like to use is “transparency”. Yet, the Georgia  Supreme Court doesn’t believe in transparency or full disclosure when it comes to breath tests. Take the recent case of Padidham v. State, decided May 7, 2012.

Let me set the scene. In Georgia, when you are arrested for DUI, the officer reads you the Implied Consent Warning (ICW), where he basically informs you that “Georgia law requires you to submit to a test of blood, breath, urine or other bodily substance to determine if you are under the influence of alcohol, but you can refuse to take such test(s). The refusal can be used against you in court, and that if you do take the test(s), you are entitled to additional independent tests of your choosing.”

Logic would tell us that it would help to know the results of the “State” test BEFORE deciding whether to get an independent test or not. For instance, if the State breath test showed a blood alcohol content of .08, .09, or something close to the limit, you might want to ask for a blood test or another type of test.

It would be very easy for the police to let you know your results immediately after submitting to a breath test as the machine prints out copies of the results immediately after you blow into the machine. However in Padidham, our Georgia Supreme Court holds that ALL an officer needs to do is inform you of your right to an independent test. The police do NOT need to tell you your actual test results. Once again this brings to mind the saying, “good enough for government work.”

To learn more about DUI and traffic violation defense, read our blog and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

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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.
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