Tag Archives: Atlanta traffic law firm

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+.

5 Common Questions about BUI in Georgia

1. What is a BUI? The Georgia law of boating under the influence says no person shall operate a vessel while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination thereof, when it is less safe to do so; while having a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or above within 3 hours of operating such vessel; if there is any amount of marijuana or a controlled substance in their blood or urine; or has prescription drugs in their blood and is rendered incapable of operating a vessel safely. what is a BUI?

2. What is considered a “vessel” for BUI purposes?
“Vessel” means every description of watercraft, other than a seaplane on the water or a sailboard, used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on water and specifically includes, but is not limited to, inflatable rafts and homemade vessels. The vessel does NOT need to be motorized.

3. Can my driver’s license be suspended if I am convicted of BUI? No, only your “privilege to operate a vessel” can be suspended. Your privilege to operate can be suspended anywhere from 30 days to 5 years, depending on the number of BUI convictions you have.

4. What gives the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) the right to stop my boat? Under current Georgia law, the DNR or any other law enforcement officer can stop your vessel for any reason, including verifying proper documentation and safety equipment on board. The police do NOT need articulable suspicion to stop you as they would need when stopping your car.

5. What are the penalties for a BUI conviction? Besides loss of privilege to operate a vessel for a period of time, BUIs are misdemeanors punishable by a maximum of 12 months in jail and a $1000 fine. BUIs are very similar to DUIs, with officers using field sobriety tests, portable breath tests, and intoximeter breath machines to prove your guilt. Therefore, it is important to hire an experienced BUI and traffic lawyer who will aggressively fight for your rights. If you require legal representation for BUI or any other traffic offense, contact MRGADUI today. Be sure to follow Mickey Roberts on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for more information on Georgia traffic laws.

Georgia to Lower the Legal Limit for Boating and Drinking

As the warmer seasons arrive, popular spots like the lake and beach fill up with families, swimmers, and boaters. With recent stories of boating accidents occurring on the lake, Georgia state legislators have discussed the existing blood alcohol limits for boaters. Currently, Georgia’s blood alcohol content (BAC) limit for boat drivers is 0.10, up 0.02 from the standard in place for driving a motor vehicle under the influence. Governor Nathan Deal and other state legislators have been pushing to lower the limit to 0.08 to match the driving law stating, “If you are too drunk to drive an automobile, you are too drunk to drive a boat.” Of course .08 is just a legal limit imposed; no studies show that a person is “drunk” at that level.mr gadui

Gwinnett traffic and DUI attorney Mickey Roberts has represented clients for traffic and DUI offenses on the road and on the water. Even though 0.02 is not a drastic change, it should remind boaters to think again. Boat accidents are just as dangerous as car accidents, and Mickey encourages boaters to understand the laws of operating a boat on a lake or river in Georgia. While we are all familiar with the fines and penalties related to a DUI conviction, a BUI (boating under the influence) conviction has the same consequences whether you are operating a small boat or a yacht.

If you are suspected of boating while intoxicated, you will be pulled over by police that patrol Georgia’s lakes and rivers. The protocol remains the same as if you were suspected of driving a car under the influence with being asked to perform field sobriety tests and/or submit to a breathalyzer test. Consequences for a BUI conviction will still include fees and possible jail time, and the ability to operate a boat is suspended. As Mickey often reminds his clients, it is important to remember the 4 simple rules when stopped by police to avoid incriminating yourself and to understand your rights as a driver.

The state House of Representatives has passed Governor Deal’s proposal, however, it is still under review from the Senate. Be sure to stay up-to-date with our blog for more traffic law news. To inquire about legal representation for DUI or other traffic offenses, contact Mr. GaDUI today. Also, connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Teen Driving Under Your Influence

Recent studies show that young drivers make up the highest percentage of drivers involved in motor vehicle crashes:  the leading cause of death for U.S. teens. According to a 2010 study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 187,000 drivers between the ages of 15 and 20 were injured in motor vehicle crashes and an additional 1,963 drivers were killed. Though, the most troubling fact is that most teenage car crashes are 100 percent preventable.

Because of driving inexperience and unsafe driving habits, teenage drivers are more prone to engage in reckless or distracted driving. Statistics show they are more likely to speed, neglect seatbelts, text, and even drink while driving. They are also unable to recognize dangerous situations or poor road conditions where these habits can contribute to serious injuries – or even death.

As a parent, it’s imperative to discuss safe driving behavior and stress these types of consequences. Here are a few topics you should be sure to discuss with your teen:

1. Cell phone use– Regardless of age or experience, cell phone use is always dangerous while driving. Talking on the phone and texting while driving are both extremely distracting for any driver because it interferes with keeping focus on the road. Teens should consider turning their cell phones off, or even storing it somewhere out of reach while they drive to avoid the temptation.

2. Limiting number of passengers– Like cell phones, friends can also be distracting for any teen driver. Statistics show that teen drivers are more likely to engage in risky driving habits with peers than when they’re alone. More passengers in a vehicle heighten the risk of distraction.

3. Seat belt use– This is something all drivers should do, not just teens. Seatbelts are the single most effective tool for saving lives and preventing injuries. Seat belts can make the difference between life and death.

4. Substance abuse– No substance abuse should be tolerated, especially for underage teens. Any amount of alcohol for an individual under 21 raises their risk of receiving a DUI in addition to jeopardizing lives. You should also discuss the risks of being a passenger in a vehicle with a driver who has been drinking or using other illegal substances.

5. Reviewing state driving laws– Discuss curfew times set by the state and the minimum number of practice hours required before getting a driver’s license. Ensure your teen fulfills all requirements and sets a foundation for safe driving. In addition to the state of Georgia’s driving laws, you should also discuss your expectations and restrictions of their driving privileges.

A parent will always worry about their teen hitting the roads for the first time, but educating them about safe habits, along with the consequences and rules of driving will help reduce the chances of an accident. Check out my website for more information on driving issues and DUI help and be sure to connect with me on Facebook and Twitter.

New Federal Transportation Money Brings Funds for Teen Driver Programs, Education, and Enforcement

The Federal Transportation Bill signed into law last month brings with it $46 million for state incentive grants to fortify distracted-driving programs over the next two years as well as $27 million for states that adopt safety standards like graduated licensing programs and prohibiting cell phone usage while driving.

Teen drivers in Atlanta would be the group most directly influenced by a change to our existing state graduated drivers’ license programs. Currently, in agreement with the standards set forth by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, teen drivers must be at least 15 years old to obtain their drivers’ permit.  As well, new drivers must log at least 40 hours of practice driving, 6 of which must be completed at night before they are eligible to take the written and field driving tests to obtain a Georgia drivers’ license.  Once they have their license, teens may not carry any passengers for the first six months, no more than one passenger under the age of 21 for the second six months, and no more than three passengers in the car at one time until the driver reaches 18.

While Georgia hasn’t made any official announcements about changes to the current cell phone and driving laws or teen driving laws, some safety group representatives are optimistic about the potential of the new Federal funds, “We know that new drivers have more crashes than more experienced ones,” says John Ulczycki, group vice president at the National Safety Council.

As a father who has defended clients charged with traffic violations in Atlanta for more than 30 years, I understand firsthand the long lasting effects teen driving violations like speeding, reckless driving, and under 21 DUI can have on a young person’s adult life.  Be sure to continue reading my blog and connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for the latest teen driving law updates.

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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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