Tag Archives: Gwinnett DUI attorney

Georgia Drivers Have a New Way to Be Haunted by Prior DUIs

There are many reasons why a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) conviction can be disastrous. Besides the immediate consequences of license suspension, jail, probation, community service, etc., a DUI conviction ALWAYS stays on your driving and arrest records. While some drivers already know that a prior DUI conviction can result in a harsher sentence for any future DUIs, there is another, lesser-known reason why you don’t want a DUI conviction: if you are arrested for a subsequent DUI, the prior DUI conviction MAY be introduced into evidence at trial against you.

Georgia is one of the few states (potentially the only state) that allow such evidence, which used to be known as “similar transaction evidence”. That is because a prior criminal conviction generally is only admissible to show motive, opportunity, intent, preparation, plan, knowledge, identity, or absence of mistake or accident.  And since DUI is not a crime where someone specifically intends to drive while impaired, (unlike, say, a crime spree where someone robs several banks), most states have ruled that prior DUIs are just not relevant to a current DUI charge.

Oh, but not Georgia, where the Constitution seems to apply to every citizen except those charged with DUI!  In the recent case of State v. Jones, decided on June 1, 2015, the Georgia Supreme Court held that prior “other acts” evidence (the new name for “similar transaction evidence”) IS admissible for the purpose of showing a general intent to drive while either impaired or over the legal blood alcohol limit.

So, when charged with a first time Georgia DUI offense, it’s wise to hire an experienced traffic attorney specializing in DUI defense to try to fight that charge as aggressively as possible in hopes of avoiding a conviction, because if convicted, the DUI stays on your record forever and can come back to haunt you should you ever receive another DUI arrest.

Fast Facts about Alcohol

When many people hear about DUI charges, they often have the misconception that only heavy drinkers need to be concerned about the possibility of one day facing a DUI charge. However, any driver can be forced to defend themselves against an accusation of a DUI. Throughout my 35 years of legal experience, I’ve noticed that many DUIs are the result of a simple lack of information, whether it’s a misunderstanding about how much of an effect alcohol can have on the brain, or an underestimate about the dangers of driving drunk. To help Georgia drivers develop a better understanding of alcohol and its effects, I’ve compiled some quick facts and statistics that can help you become a safer driver.

gwinnett dui attorney

There’s no question that drinking and driving can have real and powerful consequences. But similarly, drunk drivers aren’t the only ones who find themselves in defense against a DUI charge. The best step any driver can take is to be knowledgeable about their rights. To learn more about your rights as a Georgia driver, explore my website or join me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, or contact me to schedule an appointment regarding you DUI or traffic law case.

Lesser-Known Georgia Traffic Laws

One of the many lessons I learned from my extensive experience as an Atlanta traffic lawyer is that all judges have their own way of making fair and law-based decisions, but that the “I didn’t know it was illegal” defense generally isn’t successful. It is the responsibility of each citizen to know the laws that apply to them, and to know their rights so they can protect themselves. In the interest of helping Atlanta drivers become more proficient in the laws they need to observe, I’ve listed and explained a few Georgia traffic laws that citizens tend to overlook.

Lesser-Known Georgia Traffic Laws
  1. Open Container Laws – Every state has its own laws regarding open containers of alcohol in a vehicle, and with the Atlanta area being home to a diversified mix of citizens from all parts of the country (and the world), many residents don’t realize that they need to be familiar with a new set of laws when they move. In Georgia, it is illegal for anyone in a vehicle (driver or passengers) to be in possession of an unsealed container of alcohol. This applies to all vehicles on any Georgia roadway as well as on the shoulder of any Georgia roadway. So if your car breaks down, make sure your passenger doesn’t start working on the case of beer you were bringing home while you wait for the mechanic.

  2. Feticide by Vehicle – Most citizens are aware that when an auto accident takes someone’s life, the driver at fault can be charged with vehicular homicide. However, fewer citizens are aware that Georgia also has a “feticide by vehicle” law. This means that if an auto accident causes the death of a fetus at any stage of development, the driver responsible can be charged with feticide by vehicle. Like vehicular homicide, feticide by vehicle can be a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the alleged traffic offense that lead to the accident. This is yet another reason that anyone involved in an auto accident should be evaluated by medical professionals as quickly as possible, regardless of whether or not they feel injured.

  3. Maintaining a Current Address on Driver’s Licenses – Moving is a highly-involved process, from finalizing the paperwork at the new and old residences, to packing, to the move itself, to changing your address on all your subscriptions and accounts. But unfortunately, the one document that many movers forget to update is the one document that they’re legally required to update: the driver’s license. It may be easy to forget (after all, how often do we actually look at our driver’s license?), but according to Georgia state law, all residents are required to update their license within 60 days of moving. Fortunately, you can make this change online at the Georgia Department of Driver’s Services website.

  4. Administrative License Suspension – In some circumstances, your license can be suspended before you’ve gone to court to defend yourself against traffic charges. This is called an administrative license suspension, and in Georgia, it most often occurs when an individual who has been arrested and charged with DUI refuses to take a state chemical test to determine their blood alcohol content (BAC).

  5. Speed-Detecting Technology – While a skilled Atlanta traffic lawyer has the knowledge necessary to defend you against unwarranted traffic citations, it’s always helpful for you to know your rights as well. Many citizens think that police officers can use speed-detecting technology in essentially any way they like. But in reality, Georgia has several laws in place to protect its citizens in this regard. For instance, a police officer using a speed detection device must ensure that his vehicle is visible to oncoming motorists from at least 500 feet away. There are also laws that prohibit how near an officer can be to a speed-change zone and how steep a hill may be in order for the officer to validly use his speed-detection device to issue a speeding citation.

The best advice that I can give Georgia residents is to know the laws that apply to them. This can help you not only know how to abide by the laws, but also know when you’ve been wrongly cited or charged. However, knowledge can’t prevent everything. If you do find yourself facing a citation or charge that you don’t feel you’re responsible for, it’s important to seek the help of an experienced traffic lawyer as soon as possible. To set up a consultation about your case, contact me, Mickey Roberts.

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+.

Crackdown on Gwinnett County Texting and Driving

We’ve all heard and seen the horrifying public service announcements about the dangers of distracted driving , especially texting and driving.  While the results of not paying attention while driving can be very apparent, officers say that actually enforcing texting while driving laws is difficult.  For this reason, Gwinnett county police officers conducted a two-day undercover operation in December to catch offenders and write tickets for texting and driving. ticketed for texting and driving in georgia

During the operation, three Gwinnett county police officers were positioned in unmarked SUVs along Pleasant Hill Road.  Upon seeing someone they thought was texting while driving, they signaled to other officers down the road to pull the car over.  During the crackdown, officers wrote 17 citations during one, 11 hour span.  Gwinnett Police Cpl. Jake Smith said in article from The Gwinnett Daily Post that these results were “pretty telling” of the problem’s prevalence. Smith said that similar operations will not happen regularly because of the man power required; however, drivers should be aware it will happen intermittently in the future.

As a Gwinnett traffic attorney with over 18 years of specialized experience representing clients for traffic offenses ranging from speeding to vehicular homicide, Mickey Roberts (MRGADUI) understands that fighting a traffic ticket can be a complex matter.  Mickey shares, “what a lot of folks don’t realize about the new texting and driving law is that you don’t need to physically be texting for police to pull you over.  According to SB360, any individual who is caught manipulating their cell phone and transferring data by texting, checking email, etc. can be cited.”

Currently, anyone who receives a texting citation also receives a $150 fine and a point on their driver’s license.  The relatively new law is still rather gray, as Corporal Smith stated in the aforementioned article about what is and isn’t allowed of driving cell users, “If you’re mounting it to the dash, or looking at it from time to time, that’s fine,” Smith said. “But you can’t be fooling with it.”

To learn more about the latest cell phone laws, visit the MRGADUI blog.  To inquire about legal representation for traffic offenses, contact Mickey G. Roberts.  You can also connect with Mickey 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.
Gwinnett DUI attorney