Georgia State Patrol Nighthawks

If you have been arrested for a DUI in Georgia,  Georgia DUI trial attorneys James “Skip” Sullivan and Bob Chestney are available to discuss your case anytime – including after-hours and weekends!  Call us at 404.816.8777

Chestney Law FirmThe Georgia State Patrol Nighthawks work in conjunction with the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.  The GSP Nighthawks receive grants to supplement their budget through Federal and State funding, the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety including the H.E.A.T. program (Highway Enforcement of Aggressive Traffic), and other sources.  The Georgia State Patrol Nighthawks DUI Task Force was created in 2004 in the Atlanta regional area and has been expanding since then.  The primary goal of the GSP Nighthawks DUI Task Force is to combat impaired drivers/drunk drivers.  The Nighthawks frequently utilize programs through the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety such as Operation Zero Tolerance, Click it or Ticket, 100 Days of Summer HeatHands Across the Border, and others.

In Atlanta, the GSP Nighthawks regularly patrol Buckhead, Midtown, Virginia Highlands,  Interstate 75/85 and Georgia 400 corridors.  In the late fall of 2009, the Nighthawks added the Nighthawks DUI Task Force North and Nighthawks DUI Task Force South.  The North Nighthawks DUI Task Force extends from Clayton County, Cobb County, DeKalb County, Atlanta/Fulton County, Gwinnett County, and Athens-Clarke County.  The North Nighthawks regularly conduct roadblocks and strategic traffic enforcement after UGA football games.   The South Nighthawks Task Force is mainly made up of Chatham County (Savannah), and Bulloch County.   In 2012, the Nighthawks started a Middle Georgia DUI Task Force that encompasses Macon and Columbus.

The Nighthawks, like all Georgia State Patrol Troopers, are trained in DUI detection and have, at a minimum, received the 24 hour standardized field sobriety course endorsed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).   Some Nighthawks DUI Task Force Troopers have received additional DUI training such as ARIDE (Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement), or DRE (Drug Recognition Expert).  All Georgia State Troopers are certified by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to operate the Intoxilyzer 5000.  The Nighthawks are currently being certified on Georgia’s newest breath testing instrument, the Intoxilyzer 9000.

Our Georgia DUI attorneys challenge a GSP Nighthawks DUI case like we would any other DUI case.  One of the benefits of a Nighthawks case is that most of their patrol vehicles are equipped with video and audio.  Their video equipment has some features similar to a DVR or TVO that many people have at home for their TV’s.   Their equipment is continuously recording, but will not preserve anything until the Trooper either manually activates recording, or the Trooper activates his emergency equipment (lights).  Then the video will preserve somewhere between 30 and 60 seconds of time before activation and typically the Troopers will run their video until it is turned off when they reach the jail or their final destination.  Videos can be obtained or viewed through the court process.

Current members of the GSP North Nighthawks include:

B.R. Boyd, B. Coker, S. Collins, Sergeant J.C. Cronin, R. Gianoulis, C.M. McEntyre,  L.J. Mullen, J. Nelms, B.C. Parker,  J. Pyland, S. Tarpley,  and M. Tennant.

How our skilled attorneys build a successful DUI defense:

To build a strong DUI defense in Georgia, our experienced Georgia DUI lawyers start by learning everything possible from the information you present.  Based on this core information, he or she can find more evidence by using specialized resources as needed to determine if all testing and other details of your arrest were accurate and legal.  This determination is the basis for a strong drunken driving defense in Georgia.  We have our own in-house investigator that gathers information, videos, 911 calls, possible surveillance videos, police reports, documents road/scene conditions and more.  There are times when we use the services of toxicologists, accident reconstructionists, private investigators, breath test/field sobriety experts, medical professionals, video illustrators, to name a few, to help build a solid DUI defense in your case.  Our lawyers analyze a case from the initial stop or reason why the police were involved, looks for suppression issues with the admissibility of field sobriety tests or state chemical tests (breath, blood, or urine tests), and develop strategies in how to best conduct administrative license suspension hearings, preliminary/committal motion hearings and trial.  Our team approach is an effective way to ensure we have covered all the bases in defending your Georgia DUI.

Can I just enter a guilty plea myself and avoid hiring a lawyer?

There is a saying that “a person who represents himself has a fool for a client.”  DUI cases are one of the most serious cases that are prosecuted in municipal courts or State Courts.  Even if you think you are guilty and may not want to fight your case all the way, there are matters that a skilled DUI lawyer is better able to handle than someone representing him or herself.  Here are some reasons why you may consider hiring the Chestney Law Firm rather than representing yourself:

  • You can put your driving privileges in jeopardy if you simply go to court and enter a guilty plea.  If you have been arrested by a Georgia State trooper, you should have been served notice of an administrative license suspension action.  If you  enter a guilty plea without properly addressing the administrative license suspension action, you will not be able to get a limited permit (if you are eligible to get one at all) until the administrative action is closed properly.
  • If your license is administratively suspended for refusing the State’s chemical test from losing an administrative hearing or failing to submit a request for a hearing within 10 business days from the date of your arrest, your driving privileges will be suspended for a year with NO PERMIT.  Properly coordinating and handling the criminal case and the administrative license suspension action can improve your chances of being able to drive.
  • Other charges in addition to your DUI charge may be more serious and carry more punishment than the DUI charge.
  • Sometime the prosecutor gives a bad plea recommendation.  Even if you decide not to contest your case, an experienced DUI attorney who is familiar with Atlanta, Fulton, and Dekalb Counties can assess a plea offer to determine if it is worth taking or moving your case to state court, or you may decide to take your case to trial.
  • If you decide to represent yourself at trial, the Georgia Rules of Evidence still applies to you.  Lawyers go to law school for years to learn these rules and you will be at the mercy of a skilled prosecutor and judge if you are not careful.

Call our experienced Georgia DUI lawyers today:

If you are facing a Georgia State Patrol DUI charge, license suspension action, or have been ticketed for a serious traffic offense, contact our experienced Georgia DUI lawyers today.  We will meet with you free of charge to discuss your options, and provide advice based on our experience in the court where your case will be heard.  Contact us today at 404.816.8777.  Our Georgia DUI lawyers are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week  to discuss your case.