Tag Archives: DUI lawyer 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.

4 Rules to Live By if You Are Stopped by Police: A New Spin

You probably know by now that as an experienced DUI lawyer, I am an advocate for simple tips that can save you a lot of trouble if you are ever faced with an under-the-influence dilemma. Due to changing conditions in the law world, I’ve revamped my 4 Simple Rules to reflect the best behaviors you can practice in a traffic stop. Though nothing is ever simple when it comes to traffic stops, these rules are proven to help.

what to do if pulled over by police in Georgia
  1. Never admit to drinking or anything else. This rule has remained constant throughout the years. This does not mean deny drinking, it means do not admit or deny drinking or anything else. If you admit drinking, then he or she should ask you what you were drinking, how much, and when. You help an officer tremendously in proving you guilty of DUI when you admit to having multiple drinks, regardless of any other evidence that would tend to prove you were not impaired. 
  2. Do not submit to any roadside field sobriety evaluations.  Roadside tests are voluntary, but an officer doesn’t have to tell you as much. While he/she may show you how to do the evaluations, they never tell you exactly how they are “scoring.” If there is no video evidence, a cop can basically say anything in his report about how you performed on the evaluation. In fact, most DUI Task Force officers admit that they would not take the field sobriety tests if asked. Just say no.
  3. Invoke your 4th Amendment right against unreasonable searches. Though this only works in certain situations, you do have the right to refuse an unreasonable search.  There are current cases on appeal which involve the issue that a warrantless search of a person’s blood, breath, urine, so forth, may violate the 4th Amendment, and that the police can easily obtain a search warrant now, in a DUI case, for blood. Also, one should NEVER consent to a warrantless search of one’s car.
  4. If you take the State chemical test, always ask for an independent test of your “other bodily substance,” such as hair or saliva.  If you refuse to take the state chemical test, not only are you subject to losing your license for a full year with no permit, you may also have your blood drawn with the results being used against you. Once you do take the designated State tests, you are entitled to an independent test of your own choosing of your blood, breath, urine, or other bodily substances (such as hair or saliva). This way, the burden shifts to the officer to reasonably accommodate your request or the State test cannot be used against you.

Regardless of the situation at hand, do your best to remain focused on not providing evidence that would tend to prove your guilt of DUI.  For more information, contact me, Mickey Roberts. Be sure to follow me on FacebookTwitter, and Google+ for Georgia law updates and news.

New Advice on Whether to “Take the Test” After DUI Arrest

For many years, I have advised people to “refuse” to take a State blood, breath or urine test after arrest if they thought they might register above the legal limit of .08.  Now, due to changing conditions, we must rethink that position.

Georgia law says that if you are arrested for DUI, you are “required” to take a test of your blood, breath, urine, or other bodily substance. However, you do have the right to “refuse” to take such test(s). If you take the test(s), you have a right to an independent test of blood, breath, urine, or “other bodily substance.”

should you take test after dui arrest

The question of whether to take a state test after arrest has always been a troublesome one. On one hand, Georgia law says that when you “refuse” to take a test, your license could be suspended for a full year. That is known as an administrative license suspension (ALS) and must be initiated by the arresting officer.   So, if you could get past the license hearing, you had done yourself a favor by not providing the State with your blood alcohol level.

The problem is, we are seeing more and more cops showing up for the ALS hearing and insisting that our clients sign an agreement whereby the client agrees to plead guilty to the DUI, and the cop then agrees to withdraw any one year suspension.  These agreements, under a recent Georgia case, can now be admitted into evidence against you, if you decide to go back on the agreement and fight the DUI.

Georgia law says that if you refuse testing, then “NO TEST SHALL BE GIVEN.” However, the legislature changed the license law a few years ago to add that nothing in the law would prevent a police officer from “obtaining evidence by other means”.  Recently, some police agencies have started obtaining search warrants to forcibly draw a person’s blood if that person has refused to agree to a State breath or blood test. Not only that, but these officers are also seeking a one year license suspension even after obtaining the suspect’s blood!

While there are currently legal actions arguing that a person or driver’s rights are violated by these forced blood draws, we must take another look at our options when deciding whether to take the test or not.

If you refuse to take the test, not only are you subject to losing your license for a full year with no permit, you may also have your blood drawn, with the results able to be used against you.

Once you do take the designated State tests, you are entitled to an independent test of your own choosing of your blood, breath, urine, or other bodily substances . Once you request an independent test of your choosing, the officer must “reasonably accommodate your request, or otherwise the State test cannot be used against you.  As I am not aware as to whether the State is capable of testing “other bodily substances” for blood alcohol level, you might consider requesting an independent test of a bodily substance other than blood, breath or urine.

I would suggest you specifically request a test of either hair or saliva. Then, the burden shifts to the officer to reasonably accommodate your request. For more information, contact me, Mickey Roberts. Be sure to follow me on FacebookTwitter, and Google+ for Georgia law updates and news.

Case of the Month: DUI with Drugs Involved Turns into a City Ordinance Violation

While marijuana laws are changing all over the United States, the facts remain unchanged in Georgia: have it in your possession or drive under the influence, and law enforcement will not be happy. For an example, let’s examine this edition of my Case of the Month series featuring underage DUI involving marijuana.

dui with drugs

An underage client of mine was stopped by a police officer for making an illegal left turn.  When the officer approached the car, he smelled the telltale odor of marijuana drifting from inside. My client admitted to smoking marijuana prior to being stopped with his girlfriend, a passenger in the car. 

After performing field sobriety evaluations, my client was arrested for DUI for being under the influence of marijuana. When the officer requested a urine test, my client consented.  The urine test came back positive for marijuana. Georgia law states that a person is guilty of a DUI if that person “drives a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana to the extent that person is rendered incapable of driving safely.”  Since marijuana is detectable in urine even a month after use, it is possible to be convicted of this type of DUI weeks after it was last used, if the State can prove, through physical appearance, driving, and field sobriety evaluations, that you were incapable of driving safely. This is part of what makes marijuana DUIs so tricky.

Because of my client’s age, even a plea to reckless driving would have resulted in a 6-month suspension. The key to a urine test is that by the time marijuana (or its inactive ingredient) gets into your urine, you are no longer under the influence of the effects of the marijuana.  In this case, I was able to resolve the case as follows: the DUI was reduced entirely, and the client pled to a city ordinance violation, which did not go on his driving record or on his criminal history.

There are hundreds of ways to win a DUI case, especially when you consult an experienced DUI and traffic lawyer in your area. We just need to be open and creative enough to find the way for each particular case. To contact a reputable lawyer in Georgia, contact me, Mickey Roberts. Be sure to follow me on FacebookTwitter, and Google+ for traffic law updates and news.

A DUI Lasts Forever (Almost)

Valentine’s Day reminds me of roses, candy, and diamonds. There used to be a commercial that said, “Diamonds are forever.”

DUI in GAWell, just like a diamond, a DUI arrest and conviction can last forever in Georgia. There are two types of “records.” One is your driving record with Drivers Services. A DUI conviction (or guilty plea) stays on the driving history forever. While the ramifications for future license suspension, insurance problems and employment may not last past 10 years, these are still potential problems you must deal with should you decide to plead guilty or be found guilty of a DUI.

A DUI arrest is another matter. Under current Georgia law, which changed in July 2013, an arrest record (which is accessible to the public) can only be restricted under very specific conditions. Mainly, you MUST have all of the charges dismissed, either by agreement with the prosecutor or through a not guilty verdict.  If the DUI is amended, say to reckless driving, then the public still has access to the arrest (although the record should show that the DUI was amended to a lesser charge). If the DUI is dismissed, but you are found guilty on other charges such as speeding, failure to maintain lane, etc. then, again the arrest will still show on your public record.

Therefore, you must always take into account your driving and criminal records when trying to decide how to handle your DUI.  I have spent years and have hundreds of case experiences in attempting to resolve DUI cases with records restriction as one of our goals. If you are concerned about your driving record or criminal background checks, you MUST hire a DUI lawyer with some expertise in that area.

If you are arrested for DUI or other traffic violations, contact Mr. GaDUI today. Also be sure to follow me, Mickey Roberts on FacebookTwitter, and Google+ for more traffic law updates and news.  

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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.
DUI lawyer atlanta