Chestney & Sullivan partner Bob Chestney discusses Georgia DUI law on NPR station 90.1 WABE

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:

https://www.wabe.org/episode/closer-look-cabbagetown-vandalism-nighthawks-dui-task-force/

Roswell Fleeing and Attempting to Elude: Reduced to Reckless Driving

Our client was clocked doing 92 in a 65 mph zone on Georgia 400 south by Roswell Police.  The Roswell police officer attempted to catch up to our client to initiate a traffic stop.  Our client took a quick turn onto a side street and ran through a stop sign while the officer was pursuing him with his emergency equipment on.  Client eventually stopped and was placed in an investigatory detention and charged with speeding, fleeing and attempting to elude, and reckless driving.  Fleeing and attempting to elude carries a very harsh statutory mandatory minimum penalty of 10 days in jail.  Mr. Sullivan was able to convince the prosecutor in Roswell that this particular case did not warrant the prosecutor pursuing the fleeing and attempting to elude charge or the speeding charge (a 4 point offense) and negotiated a plea to only the reckless driving charge, avoiding jail time for our client. 

Carrollton Driving While License Suspended: Dismissed

Our client was stopped by a City of Carrollton police officer and cited for driving while license suspended.  The license was suspended prior to the stop due to our client paying a speeding ticket on line and not realizing that it caused a $200 assessment by Georgia Department of Driver Services for super speeder.  The assessment went to an old address and caused the license to be suspended for failing to pay the $200 DDS assessment on time.  Mr. Sullivan was able to assist his client in clearing up what was causing the license suspension, which in turn helped Mr. Sullivan negotiate a full dismissal of the driving while license suspended charge in Carrollton Municipal Court.  

Covington DUI Refusal: Reduced to Reckless Driving

A concerned citizen was following our client and called in to Georgia State Patrol that our client was failing to keep the vehicle in a single lane.  A Georgia State Trooper spotted our client’s vehicle and also noticed it failing to maintain the vehicle within the lane.  The trooper initiated a traffic stop in Covington, Georgia and after a brief conversation, allowed our client to drive off.  The Trooper then saw our client drive off onto the shoulder of the road and stopped the vehicle again.  A DUI investigation began, where our client performed field sobriety evaluations and tested high on a portable alcosensor (almost twice the legal limit).  Our client was subsequently arrested for a DUI in Covington.  Mr. Sullivan was able to convince the prosecutor that the client performed well enough on field sobriety evaluations that a jury might not convict on the DUI charge.  The prosecutor agreed and a plea to reckless driving was negotiated. 

Johns Creek Underage (Under 21) Alcohol Possession: Dismissed

Our seventeen year old client was involved in soliciting a person to buy alcohol for him and a friend in Johns Creek.  At the same time of the purchase, Johns Creek Police Department was conducting a sting operation to catch people who buy alcohol for kids who are under 21.   Once the sale of alcohol was complete and our client and friend received the alcohol, Johns Creek moved in and detained our client and friend.  Our client was then charged with underage alcohol possession in Johns Creek.  Mr. Sullivan was able to get his client into a pretrial diversion program, which our client completed successfully.  This resulted in the charge being dismissed by the court.  This also saved our young client from having a criminal history, let alone a conviction for underage alcohol possession.  

Braselton Traffic Tickets: Driving While License Suspended, Speeding Dismissed

Our out of state client was stopped for speeding in Braselton going 90 mph in a 70 mph zone.  A license check determined that our client’s out of state license was suspended.  Mr. Sullivan was able to convince the prosecutor to dismiss the Braselton Driving While License Suspended  charge and the Speeding charge (which would have resulted in a super speeder assessment by Georgia DDS if convicted).  A plea to Basic Rules and a city ordinance was negotiated, where the charges would not be reported to Georgia Department of Driver Services and would also not be reported on client’s criminal history. 

Spalding County DUI, .40 Blood Test: Reduced

In her Spalding County DUI case, our client lost control of her vehicle and crashed into a collision repair shop parking lot in Spalding County.  A witness saw the accident and called police.  Georgia State Patrol responded and conducted an investigation.  Due to the accident, no field sobriety evaluations were performed, but the trooper noticed a very strong odor of an alcoholic beverage from our client.  Our client was transported to the hospital for treatment. Our client was charged for DUI in Spalding County and blood was draw for testing at the GBI.  The blood test result was .40, five times the legal limit.   Mr. Sullivan was able to persuade the prosecution that due to the delay of the case and admissibility issues of the state’s blood test to dismiss the DUI charge, resulting in a negotiated plea to Too Fast for Conditions and Reckless Driving.  

Gwinnett DUI refusal: Reduced to Reckless Driving

Mr. Sullivan’s client failed to maintain her lane to the point that she struck a curb and blew two tires out, observed by a citizen who called the Gwinnett Police.  Client was visibly intoxicated and had very thick, slow, and slurred speech.  Our client also could not keep balance while walking.  After a DUI investigation, she was arrested for DUI in Gwinnett County.  The Gwinnett DUI case began in Gwinnett Recorder’s Court, but after plea negotiations failed, the case was sent to Gwinnett State court to preserve our client’s right to a jury trial.  On the day of trial when the case was called, the prosecution offered a reckless driving disposition that our client accepted. 

Atlanta DUI Refusal: Dismissed

Our client clearly did not stop at a red light in Atlanta (on video) and a Georgia State Patrol Trooper made a traffic stop.  Client looked good on the video and had no slurred speech.  Performed reasonably well on field sobriety evaluation.  Client refused a portable breath test and was arrested for an Atlanta DUI.  Mr. Sullivan rejected a reckless driving plea offer in Atlanta Municipal Court  as it may affect travel to Canada and sent the case to Fulton County State Court for a jury trial.  Mr. Sullivan successfully negotiated a plea to running a stop sign (which our client clearly did) and a basic rules violation (does not get reported to the Georgia Department of Driver Services). 

Atlanta DUI Combination Drugs/Alcohol Quashed in Fulton County

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.