In a must win case, Skip Sullivan and Bob Chestney were able to avoid an administrative license suspension for our CDL holder while his DUI case was pending and got a Not Guilty verdict from a judge in Fulton County State Court. Our client was asleep in his vehicle alongside a roadway in Sandy Springs. While on patrol, a Sandy Springs police officer came upon our client’s vehicle parked on the side of the road with the two driver’s side tires over the solid while fog line. Our client was asleep in the back seat of his car with throw up in the back of the car as well as outside on a door handle and on the ground. Once awoken and out of his car, client was very disoriented and showed visible signs of impairment. During the course of the investigation, the Sandy Springs officer had client sit back in his car. Client then proceeded to start up his car and revved the engine multiple times. The officer then turned off the car, grabbed the keys and got the client out of the car. As Sandy Springs DUI officer was called to the scene to assist in the DUI investigation. After performing field sobriety, client was arrested for DUI in Sandy Springs, Improper Parking, and Failure to Change Address within 60 days. At trail, Mr. Sullivan crossed examined the officers on their observations and argued the the judge that the prosecution had not met its burden of proving that defendant moved his vehicle at any point and if the prosecution was able to prove that the vehicle moved at some point, the prosecution had no evidence whether client was impaired at the time the vehicle was parked at that location. The Fulton County State Court judge agreed and found our client Not Guilty of DUI, Not Guilty of Failing to Change Address within 60 Days, but Guilty of the Improper Parking charge (Georgia DDS assesses no points for this offense). Client was able to save his Georgia CDL and his career.
Bob Chestney had the pleasure of being interviewed by Rose Scott on Closer Look, NPR station WABE 90.1. He, along with representatives from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety and Georgia State Patrol discussed a wide range of issues relating to DUI arrests in Georgia. With the holiday season upon us, expect Georgia State Patrol and local Georgia law enforcement agencies to be conducting concentrated patrols and sobriety checkpoints. Check out the interview below:
Client arrested in Forsyth County for DUI, and he refused the state-administered breath test. He has a 2012 DUI conviction, so this would have been a 2nd in 5 years, subjecting him to about six months in jail and a lengthy license suspension if convicted again. Bob Chestney was selected as lead counsel, and several motions were filed, including a Motion to Suppress his Refusal on Georgia Constitutional grounds (based on the recent Olevik v. State decision by the GA Supreme Court). At the motion hearing, the State agreed to reduce the DUI to Reckless Driving with no jail.
Although we had lost the ALS hearing, resulting in a 12-month license suspension for the refusal, that suspension will be immediately terminated and deleted from his driving record.
Client was arrested in Atlanta by Trooper Tarpley in 2014, blew .069 but admitted taking some Rx medication, so blood test was requested but refused. Reckless Driving was offered in Atlanta, but client declined the onerous conditions. In Fulton County filed a last-minute accusation charging DUI Alcohol Less Safe. Case was set for trial, and State amended accusation to DUI Combination Drugs/Alcohol. Partner Bob Chestney moved to quash the amended DUI count, and the Court granted the motion. Client entered a plea to Reckless Driving with much more reasonable terms than those offered in Atlanta.
Our client was stopped by a Georgia State Patrol Nighthawks DUI Trooper in Atlanta for failure to maintain lane. The failure to maintain lane was obvious on the patrol car video and it took a while for our client to stop. Our client also did not perform well on field sobriety evaluation and was arrested for her Atlanta DUI and Failure to Maintain Lane. She refused the state breath test. The case was moved out of Atlanta Municipal Court by her former attorney who was not associated with our firm. Her former attorney was disbarred from the practice of law by the Georgia Supreme Court while the case was pending. An arraignment date was missed due to the fault of her former attorney and she was arrested for failing to appear for court. She subsequently hired Chestney & Sullivan and we promptly got her case back on a court calendar. Mr. Chestney and Mr. Sullivan filed various motions, including a motion to dismiss due to the delay of the prosecution bringing this case to trial. The Fulton County State Court judge agreed with Mr. Sullivan and dismissed all charges against our client.
Our 23-year old client was involved in a parking lot scuffle and collision, showed significant signs of drug impairment, and was arrested and charged in Atlanta with DUI-Drugs and Reckless Driving. Case bound over to State Court of Fulton County, where the Court sustained our demurrer to both counts, finding them lacking sufficient detail to allow us to fairly defend them. Bob Chestney handled the hearing, and subsequently negotiated a plea to Reckless Driving. Since he had completed drug treatment, done community service and was able to pay his fine, our client even avoided probation.
Client was stopped for rather sloppy driving near Perimeter Mall by Dunwoody Police, and arrested for DUI. Her previous attorney had the case bound over to DeKalb State Court, and filed some boilerplate motions, which were all denied. The Court held that both prior DUI convictions could be used by the State at trial. Client retained Bob Chestney at the last minute, with the case set for trial. We were able to convince the judge to allow us to file an out-of-time motion to suppress the prescription drugs found during a search of her purse, and which she was alleged to be impaired from. Prior to a hearing on this motion, the prosecutor who had a long history with Mr. Chestney offered to drop the Dunwoody DUI charge with a plea of Nolo Contendere to Reckless Driving.
Client was stopped for speeding in Hall County, did poorly on field sobriety tests and was arrested for DUI (his second). He agreed to a blood test at the jail, resulting in a BAC of .134. Bob Chestney argued that the test results were inadmissible because the state did not prove the blood test was administered in a reasonable manner under the Fourth Amendment. The judge agreed, and suppressed the test results. Without those results, the assistant solicitor agreed that the DUI case would be difficult to prove, so the case was closed with a plea to Reckless Driving.
Under 21 student at UGA was stopped by Georgia State Patrol Nighthawks late at night for hitting the curb on a right turn. Although the trooper smelled the odor of alcohol, our client denied drinking. He reluctantly agreed to field sobriety tests (mistake), and was arrested for DUI in Athens, Underage Possession of Alcohol and Improper Turn. He wisely refused to submit to any breath test.
The charges were filed in Athens State Court. Although the judge ruled that the trooper did have reasonable grounds for the traffic stop, prior to trial Bob Chestney was able to persuade the prosecutor to drop the Athens DUI charge, in return for a plea to Reckless Driving and a conditional discharge on the Underage Possession charge. This saved our young client’s driver’s license and criminal record.
Out-of-State client was stopped for speeding on I-85 at about 8:00 am on his way to the Atlanta Airport from a wedding in Montgomery. His breath still smelled of alcohol from the parties the night before, so the State Trooper felt the need to investigate further. After performing typical roadside gymnastics, he was subsequently arrested for DUI. Since he understood only his GA driving privileges would be suspended for refusing a state-administered test, that is the option he chose. Upon discovering a prescription pill among his belongings, he was also charged with a drug offense
Motions were filed challenging the search and seeking exclusion of evidence, and at the scheduled hearing, Bob Chestney persuaded the prosecutor in Troup County to accept a Nolo plea to Reckless Driving, with all other charges being dismissed.