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/

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. 

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.  

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.

Atlanta DUI, speeding: Reduced to Reckless Driving

Our software engineer was pulled over by the Georgia State Patrol in Atlanta for driving fast in a convertible Porsche.  Unfortunately for her, while speeding she did not use her turn signals. According to the State Trooper who pulled her over, she was going 53 m.p.h., then 65 m.p.h., and then 70 m.p.h.  Her performance during field sobriety testing was not great, but her one leg stand performance was not indicative of impairment.  Although she performed the field sobriety exercises, she refused the State’s test.  Despite marginal evidence, she was arrested for DUI in Atlanta under five different sections—essentially, the Trooper couldn’t formulate an opinion as to what she was under the influence of.  Adam Brown was able to point out the major holes in the case, and the State offered to dismiss all DUI counts, in exchange for a plea to reckless driving.

Atlanta DUI, Speeding; Georgia State Patrol: DUI dismissed

Our out of state client was stopped for speeding in downtown Atlanta by a Georgia State Patrol Trooper.  Client agreed to perform field sobriety evaluations.  The trooper was a big officer, who stood uncomfortably close to our client during the evaluations on the side of a busy highway.  He was arrested for DUI and when the Georgia Implied Consent Notice was read to our client to submit to the state breath test, our client asked if the results may prevent him from being arrested (no matter what the results were).  The trooper said he was under arrest no matter what happens.  Our client refused to take the breath test.  Mr. Sullivan conducted an administrative license suspension hearing and was able to successfully cross-examine the trooper.  The audio recording of the hearing was presented to the prosecutor, who subsequently dismissed the Atlanta DUI in exchange for a plea to Reckless Driving in Atlanta Municipal Court

Atlanta DUI Refusal, Improper U turn: Reduced to Reckless Driving

Mr. Sullivan was able to save our client’s license from being administratively suspended for a year for refusing the state’s breath test after being arrested for an Atlanta DUI by a Georgia State Patrol Nighthawks DUI task force trooper.   Our client made an illegal u turn in view of the trooper and was stopped in a gas station parking lot.  Our client’s passenger was having a medical emergency.  Our client had noticeable slurred speech, but performed reasonably well on field sobriety evaluations.  He was arrested for DUI and refused the state breath test at the jail.  Mr. Sullivan was able to negotiate a dismissal of the DUI charge in exchange for a plea to Reckless Driving, avoiding an Atlanta DUI conviction, but also avoiding a one year suspension of our client’s driver’s license. 

Atlanta DUI, Georgia State Patrol, Refusal: Dismissal of all charges

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.  

Atlanta Georgia State Patrol DUI Refusal: reduced to Reckless Driving

Our client was stopped by Georgia State Patrol in Buckhead for no headlights.  Client smelled of alcohol and marijuana.  Admitted to smoking marijuana a few hours prior to driving.  Performed field sobriety evaluations and was arrested for DUI.  Our client refused the state administered breath test and his license was suspended administratively for one year (no permit available).  Mr. Sullivan sent the case over to Fulton State Court from Atlanta Municipal Court had the case expedited for trial.  Mr. Sullivan was able to successfully negotiate a Reckless Driving disposition and had the administrative license suspension lifted upon the negotiated plea.  The DUI charge and No Headlight charge were dismissed by the prosecution.