Tag Archives: DUI Defense Atlanta

Why You Should Never Consent to a Search of Your Car

The 4th Amendment protects us from unreasonable searches of our bodies, homes and cars, among other things. There seems to be an epidemic of cases where police officers stop someone for a minor traffic violation, then pressures the driver into consenting to a search of their car.  Of course we only know of cases where drugs have been found; those are the cases we see in the appellate courts. Who knows how many times cops have searched vehicles and found nothing?

what to do if pulled over by police in Georgia

I am sure you have seen cars stopped by police while traveling on our expressways.  Because of my law practice, I pay particular attention when I see these instances; even though I may be traveling by at a fast speed, when I pass a stopped car and I see officers searching the car, I pay close attention. Many times, quite frankly, the drivers are either black or Hispanic.

No doubt these police officers are “profiling” drivers of color; they pull over the drivers on minor traffic offenses (or make one up), with the express intention of searching the car for drugs. This is the routine: cop pulls you over, say for speeding, takes your license, and after having checked on your license status comes back and asks if he/she can search the car for drugs. If you say “no,” the officer threatens you. The officer may ask you why you are exercising your rights, and ultimately will threaten to “bring the drug dog” if you will not give consent to a search.  Fortunately, the Georgia Appellate courts have sided with our Forefathers in upholding the 4th Amendment in these cases. In the past 12 months alone, the Georgia Appeals Courts have reversed 4 or 5 trial courts who have ruled these searches as legal. 

You might say, “Well I don’t carry illegal drugs in my car, so who cares?”  As a middle aged white male who doesn’t fit the profile of a drug courier, I really don’t have much expectation that a cop will ask if he can search my car.  But if you have children, and especially if you are black or Latino, the truth is that there is a high likelihood that at some point in time they will be stopped and will be asked to consent to a search.  

I recently won a motion to throw out such a search, where my 20 year old client was stopped for a brake light being out; she had not been drinking, nor was there any evidence which would have indicated she had any drugs in her car.  After 28 minutes of threats by the officer, who eventually called a drug dog, my client “consented” to a search.  A half pill of methadone was found in the car; this was a car that had been used by several members of her family, so in reality she did not know what was in her car.  Because the stop was for a brake light and because there was no probable cause to prolong the stop and ask for a search, the case was thrown out against my client.

In addition to DUI defense, I handle any case involving the stop of vehicles by police, including felony drug cases.  Hiring a qualified, knowledgeable DUI attorney can be very beneficial to winning your case.  If you are arrested for DUI or other serious traffic violations, contact me, Mickey Roberts, today. Also be sure to follow MrGaDUI on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for more traffic law updates and news.

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+.

How Lawyer’s Knowledge and Relationships Can Win Your DUI Case

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 an ongoing debate in legal circles as to how lawyers should charge. On one side is the old-school hourly billing crowd, who believe lawyers should charge by the hour. On the other side, is a new group who believes a lawyer should charge based on his/her knowledge and experience.

With the experience I’ve gained during my years of practice, I do see the benefit in charging based on knowledge, which can be illustrated by a recent case. Throughout my 32 years of practice I have accumulated a vast amount of knowledge on matters involving not only the law, but also about certain courts, police departments, prosecutors, and judges. That knowledge and the relationships derived from practicing for 32 years is in many ways invaluable.

My client was charged with a DUI, and registered a .17 on the State breath test. At first glance most lawyers would assume that it would be impossible to win a DUI case like this one. After looking at the video, however, I found that there were some issues in the case involving not only probable cause for the arrest, but whether the test should be excluded from evidence because of the way the officer read the Implied Consent warning.

I first approached the officer and told him, in a nice way, of my concerns about the breath test; after hearing me out, he agreed, and he went to bat for my client in talking to the prosecutor about reducing the charges. Then I talked to the prosecutor, whom I have known for over 25 years and eventually he agreed with me and reduced the charges.

Without the relationships I have developed with the officer and prosecutor and the reputation I maintain, I would have struggled more to have the charges reduced. In my opinion, experience, knowledge, and relationships are invaluable when it comes to DUI defense.

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+.

Radar Speed Detection Reinstituted in Gwinnett as Traffic Fatalities Jump

Have you recently noticed more police out in Gwinnett County using radar guns to catch speeders? In January 2011, only one year after the state of Georgia instituted the super speeder law, the option for Gwinnett County police and many city police in Gwinnett to use laser and radar speed detection was revoked due to an unresolved conflict between the county and city governments.

Although Georgia State Patrol could still use radar and laser detection to track drivers’ speed and Gwinnett police were able to catch speeders by pacing drivers, this revocation surely affected the number of speeding citations issued. According to an article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Gwinnett County police alone issued 29,000 speeding citations in 2010, and three-fourths of these citations were determined through the help of laser and radar gun detection.

In February 2012, the conflict was finally resolved and radar guns were returned to Gwinnett police. The police influenced by the dispute reported they operated just fine without the radars, but were definitely glad to have them back. They believe drivers are more likely to slow down if they know police are on the roads clocking their speed. With recent car accidents earlier this month resulting in three traffic fatalities over the span of five days in Gwinnett, you can probably expect to see even more police on the road.

On Friday, April 6th, a box truck crashed into the rear of a Nissan Altima sending both vehicles into a pickup truck and a minivan on I-985 S under Buford Drive. The driver and passenger of the Nissan died on impact. The other individuals involved suffered minor injuries. Police determined speed and alcohol were not factors in this accident, but the box truck driver was charged with two counts of second degree vehicular homicide. Second degree vehicular homicide is a misdemeanor resulting in a maximum sentence of 12 months, but first degree vehicular homicide is a felony and can result in 3 to 15 years in prison and license suspension.

The other traffic fatality in Gwinnett occurred April 10th at the intersection of Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road and Sugarloaf Parkway when a driver turned left in front of another driver as the stop light turned from green to yellow. The driver who was struck on the right side of his vehicle died at the scene. This incident is still under investigation to determine right of way and if speed was a factor, but driving while under the influence of alcohol did not seem to be a factor.

A leading Atlanta DUI defense lawyer, Mickey Roberts has seen many lives take an unfortunate turn due to drunk driving and vehicular homicide charges. He urges driver’s to drive carefully. Whether you drive carefully to avoid a speeding ticket or to prevent harm to yourself and other drivers, it’s important to be cautious as one bad decision can result in harsh consequences. If you have been arrested for DUI or other traffic violations, contact MrGaDUI today. Be sure to visit his website to learn more about driver’s rights, and connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ if you haven’t already.

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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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