Tag Archives: underage DUI

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.

Essential Tips for Encouraging Safe Teen Driving

While your teen is likely thrilled to obtain their driver’s license for the first time, it’s important to take this time to educate them on safe driving. Studies from the National Safety Council show that the most dangerous time of a teen driver‘s life is the first 12 months of having their license. In fact, this risk increases in the summer for a number of reasons.  Find out why below along with tips to help you encourage safe driving.

Essential Tips for Encouraging Safe Teen Driving

Set boundaries and curfews despite the season. While the school year is full of activities and curfews, things tend to loosen up around summer, leading to less restriction and more time out late with friends. One negative factor is that teens get less sleep, leading to more driving when tired (which some studies indicate is equally as dangerous as driving drunk). According to AAA research, the chances of being involved in a deadly crash doubles specifically for teens when driving at night, with more than half of nighttime crashes occur between 9 p.m. and midnight.

Remind them of the importance of the speed limit. While speeding in the warm summer air is tempting, one-third of all yearly traffic deaths in the U.S. are associated with driving over the speed limit. Adjusting speed for the current conditions and assuming hazards that may not be detectable yet can reduce the chance of accidents. I recommend having your teen place an object on their wrist such as a rubber band or bracelet), or on the steering wheel to remind them to look at their speedometer on a regular basis!

Put away your phone. While many parents preach the dangers of texting and driving to their teens, it isn’t convincing when you continue to use your phone yourself. It really can wait! The increase in distracted driving cases has greatly increased alongside the rise in popularity of smartphones. A common consequence of distracted driving is drifting off the side of the road or out of your lane, which causes drivers to overcorrect and in the worst of cases, flip their cars.

Take three seconds to fasten your seatbelt. This is another case of leading by example and not downplaying the importance of a seatbelt at all times. In addition to avoiding a citation, using lap/shoulder belts decreases your risk of being killed or seriously injured in a crash 45 to 50 percent.

Be open to honesty. Though the legal drinking age in Georgia is 21, it’s not uncommon for some teenagers to bend the rules. Let them know that in the event of them going against the law and drinking, it’s better to simply call for a ride than to risk getting on the road. This can not only save them from the possibility of getting a costly underage DUI, but from hurting themselves or others. Being grounded is better than being in jail, or worse.

The crash risk for young drivers’ does not begin decreasing significantly until age 25. Do your part by reminding your teen to always be mindful of driving safely. 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.

March’s Case of the Month: How an Underage DUI Became a Simple MIP

This month’s case shows the value of having an experienced DUI attorney who has a reputation for aggressively defending cases.  In an Athens-Clarke County case, my UGA student client was in a Pre Trial Diversion for a previous Minor in Possession (MIP) of Alcohol charge when he was arrested by Athens police and charged with DUI.

case of the monthSo now, he had a DUI charge and the old MIP charge pending in Athens. Unsurprisingly, the police report had my client as being intoxicated, but after reviewing the video, I thought otherwise of the evidence.

The cop had stopped my client for a broken taillight, yet the cop was approaching my client, and it would have been extremely difficult for the cop to actually see a broken taillight. The video revealed my client’s physical appearance to be normal. My client denied drinking and refused a breath test after arrest. Any clues on the Field Sobriety Evaluations were minimal.

Nonetheless, because the client was under 21 at the time of the arrest, any evidence of him having consumed alcohol could have resulted in a guilty verdict. We employed the use of an expert in Field Evaluations who agreed with me that the evidence was slim and was known and respected by the prosecutor. Eventually, we negotiated a plea to 2 MIPs, allowing my client to continue driving and to not have a DUI conviction on his record.

One more thing: We structured the plea so that the MIP pleas would not result in a suspension of client’s license. (He could have had a 1 year suspension!)  It is important that a traffic lawyer knows how to structure pleas for the best possible outcome, and this means the lawyer must have a thorough knowledge of Georgia Traffic Laws.

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.

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.

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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.
underage DUI