Tag Archives: DUI defense lawyer

State Representative Arrested for DUI in Atlanta

State representative John Andrew (Kip) Smith was arrested for DUI in Atlanta last Friday.  Officer Z.A. Kramer pulled over the lawmaker after he ran a red light at the intersection of Peachtree and Pharr Road in Buckhead. According to the AJC, the police record indicated that Smith admitted to having one beer 45 minutes before he was pulled over after the officer allegedly noticed the scent of alcohol and Kip’s watery eyes.

Rep. Smith initially refused the field sobriety test (walk-and-turn or one-leg-stand test) and breath test when the officer requested and instead asked to be taken to a hospital for a state chemical blood or breath test, but then consented when the officer told him that they only did that if he were arrested for DUI.  According to reports, Smith then blew a .091 (over the legal limit of .08) on the officer’s breathalyzer test and was placed under arrest for DUI.

Two additional officers then arrived on the scene where Smith completed two more breath tests rendering results of .099 and .100 respectively. Kip Smith has been charged with three offenses:  two DUI charges and one charge for failure to obey a traffic control device.

The intention of this post is not to exploit the wrongdoings of a public figure, but to reiterate the importance of knowing your Georgia driver rights.  Smith initially followed my suggestions of “what to do if stopped for DUI” by refusing the field sobriety test and requesting a state chemical test; however, he did himself a disservice by eventually consenting.

As you can read, the results of different breathalyzer test equipment can vary significantly depending on the age of the machinery and even the experience of the officer administering the test.  While the other details of this case will certainly surface as Smith goes to trial, the event serves as an ideal opportunity to reiterate what you should do if you’re pulled over for DUI regardless if this is your first DUI or third DUI in Georgia:

1.)  Take your DUI seriously

2.)  Hire an experienced DUI attorney

3.)  Don’t delay your DUI hearing

4.)  Don’t rely on advice of friends

5.)  Don’t base the hiring of an attorney on money alone

Of these tips, the most important is hiring an experienced DUI attorney to handle your case if you find yourself in this situation.  Visit my website to learn more about my experience as an Atlanta DUI, Georgia vehicular homicide, and commercial driving offense attorney.  You can also connect with me on Facebook and Twitter for more tips on defending your driver’s rights.    

Rates of Female DUI Increase throughout the Last Decade

A recent study published by The Century Council and the Traffic Injury Research Foundation shows that the number of females arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol has increased 36% over a decade. The report, which will be available in full later this month, states that while men are often seen as the primary offenders in drunk driving cases, the number of women involved has increased steadily since 1980 and was up 29% from 1997 to 2007. Researchers examining the phenomenon offer various explanations for this spike in female DUI statistics. One theory is that more women are drinking and then driving than in past years. Some researchers believe that the spike in women’s arrests is due to changes in the legal system including fewer male arrests and changes to the DUI law enforcement policy that bring more attention to women whose blood alcohol content levels are more affected by alcohol consumption. The study indicated,

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Why Every DUI Arrest should be Aggressively Defended

This past week I had 2 cases that exemplified why every DUI arrest must be aggressively defended. By that, I mean that a qualified, experienced DUI attorney should look at both the Defendant’s evidence and  the State’s evidence before making a decision to plead guilty.  A guilty plea to a DUI stays on your criminal record and driving record for life, and carries not only a social stigma but can  prevent a person from obtaining employment. Case 1: Client supposedly backed into a car in the parking lot of a bar, although there was no damage to either car. My client suffers from anxiety disorder which causes her to vomit when placed under stressful situations. The police officer reported that my client’s speech was slurred, that she was unsteady on her feet, and that she had vomited in her car. Additionally, his report said she refused to do any field tests and refused the State breath test. The prosecutor would not dismiss or reduce the case, so we set the case down for a bench trial. By fully investigating the case, I learned that even though my client did originally refuse the State breath test, at the jail she told the sheriff’s deputy that she would take the test, but the arresting officer refused to let her take the test, violating the law. The arresting officer failed to put that in his report, however. By having the sheriff’s deputy appear and tell the prosecutor what had happened, the prosecutor agreed to dismiss the DUI. This was extremely important to my client as she was an employee for a public school system. Case 2:  Client was involved in a one car accident when a deer ran in front of him. No one witnessed the accident. He called his girlfriend to pick him up from the scene. About an hour later, Suwanee Police showed up at his house, had him perform field tests, arrested him for DUI, and he agreed to a State breath test, which registered .14. However, the client, as well as his girlfriend, both testified that the client had drank after arriving home. In addition the breath test was administered more than 3 hours after the accident. The State eventually agreed to dismiss and reduce to reckless driving. At first glance, it would have appeared to be an impossible case to defend, with the accident, performance on field tests, and a .14 breath test. So next time you hear someone say that they were arrested for DUI and are planning on pleading guilty without talking to a DUI lawyer, try to convince them to call me!

Should DUI cops have to follow the law?

There is a firestorm brewing in Georgia over what is commonly called an “Administrative license suspension hearing”. In Georgia, the State can try to suspend your license before you are convicted of a DUI; the process for this to happen is that an officer signs a sworn document, swearing under oath that he/she arrested you for DUI and you either registered above a .08 or you refused the test. Apparently, cops have been filing these sworn reports without actually swearing in front of a notary; this is the same as not swearing under oath at all.  A few of my fellow DUI defense lawyers have successfully obtained restraining orders, keeping the State from moving forward in these cases until they can prove that they followed the law.  The Georgia Appellate Courts have routinely allowed the police leeway in not following the Constitution or Georgia laws when DUI arrests are involved, from not having to tell a person that all field tests are voluntary, to not having to follow rules in administering the State Breath test machine used to convict people of DUI. Perhaps now the pendulum is swinging back to at least middle ground… the cynic in me bets NOT!

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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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