What to do if you have been arrested for a DUI in Atlanta during Super Bowl week

Many people attending the Super Bowl festivities this week and the Super Bowl game on Sunday in Atlanta, are traveling from out of state.  Atlanta offers many opportunities to celebrate on any given day, even more so during the festivities leading up to Sunday’s Super Bowl game.  The Atlanta City Council announced that alcohol sales in Atlanta will be extended to 4:00 a.m. during Super Bowl week from Monday, January 28, 2019 through February 4, 2019.  Also, law enforcement agencies such as the Atlanta Police DepartmentGeorgia State Patrol,  Cobb, DeKalb, Forsyth, and Gwinnett police departments will increase their patrols and sobriety checkpoints to target impaired drivers.

No one plans or intends to get arrested for a DUI, but it happens.  If you are from out of town, experienced DUI attorneys at Chestney & Sullivan Law Firm is available to speak with you about your Georgia DUI case anytime -including weekends!  We understand that you will need to travel back home when the Super Bowl is over.  We can represent you in your Georgia Driving Under the Influence case and will appear on your behalf in most courts in Georgia for your first court date so you don’t have to.  In many Georgia jurisdictions, you will not have to appear in court until we tell you to. 

If you have been arrested in Atlanta for a DUI, the Atlanta City Detention Center (Atlanta City Jail) and Atlanta Municipal Court have changed their policies regarding bonds pursuant to a city ordinance passed by the Atlanta City Council in February, 2018 to eliminate the “cash bond” practices.  Unfortunately that change has impacted folks with the ability to pay a cash bond to get out of jail sooner as all DUI cases now have to appear before a judge for bond (Chapter 62, Article II, Division 1, Section 62-31 of the City of Atlanta Code of Ordinances).  This means that a person arrested for Driving Under the Influence on Friday in Atlanta, might have to wait until Sunday afternoon to see a judge to bond out before the Super Bowl Game.  One silver lining is Mercedes-Benz Stadium is in walking distance from the Atlanta jail, so there is still a possibility of making it to the Super Bowl.  If you were arrested late Saturday night, you may or may not make the first appearance calendar in Atlanta on Sunday.  The Atlanta City Detention Center is located at 254 Peachtree Street, SW, Atlanta GA 30303.  Their phone numbers are 404.865.8001 and 404.865.8010.  For bond information, click here.  A number of bonding companies are located on Peachtree Street right next to the city jail.  Chestney & Sullivan may be able to expedite the bond process to get defendants out of jail sooner. 

Call Chestney & Sullivan immediately if you, a friend, or loved one have been charged with a DUI in Atlanta or anywhere in Georgia.  Action will need to be taken quickly regarding a possible license suspension that is a separate action from the DUI criminal case.  We can also discuss defense strategies and begin an investigation into your Georgia DUI charges.  Also, important surveillance video footage is not retained for very long in many Georgia jails.  If  the surveillance video from the jail is not ordered within a very short period of time, it will be lost forever.  Some clients may say “great, I don’t want anyone to see my jail video.”  However, we often find that jail videos can help us successfully defend DUI’s.  If the video is not helpful, by the time the prosecution decides to inquire about jail video, it is often recorded over by the jail, and we are under no duty to disclose or turn over any video that we may have to the prosecution. 

It is also important that an investigation is started right away for possible defenses, especially in Atlanta, as court cases move very fast and if a proper investigation is not conducted quickly, negotiations may be hampered in resolving a case to something other than a DUI. 

Call us today at 404.816.8777 to discuss your case.  You will be glad you did.  We are available 24/7.  We can also meet face to face for an initial consultation free of charge.  Our office is conveniently located in the Buckhead section of Atlanta at 3110 Maple Drive, Suite #103, Atlanta, Georgia 30305. 

Georgia State Patrol Chamblee DUI, Speeding and Failure to Stop at a Red Light: Not Guilty DUI and Speeding

James “Skip” Sullivan took over a Chamblee DUI case from another law firm that was transferred to DeKalb State Court for a jury trial.   Our driver was stopped by a Georgia State Patrol Trooper (Nighthawks), for speeding and failing to fully stop before a stop bar at a red light (vehicle was past the stop bar into the intersection).  When the trooper initiated his emergency equipment, our client pulled into the nearest gas station and stopped.  Apparently our client had to use the rest room pretty bad, but was stopped by the trooper for a DUI investigation.  After realizing that our client really did have to use the rest room, he was allowed to do so.   Then the Trooper had him perform field sobriety evaluations, which our client did poorly (still complaining his stomach hurts).  He was arrested for DUI but refused to be handcuffed, resisting arrest.  Once under arrest, our client refused to submit to a state breath test.  The prosecutor refused to negotiate a lesser charge, so  Mr. Sullivan took the case to jury trial.  The jury found our client not guilty of DUI, not guilty of speeding, guilty of the Obstruction of a Law Enforcement charge, and a mistrial was declared on the Red light charge (jury could not reach a unanimous verdict on that charge).  Although we received a guilty verdict on the Obstruction of a Law Enforcement charge, the DeKalb judge agreed with Mr. Sullivan that the First Offender Statute applied even after a jury verdict if the client decides to use it and the judge accepts it, meaning if the client completes his sentence requirements successfully, the Obstruction charge would be dismissed without a conviction! 

if you are charged with a DUI or a serious traffic or criminal offense, call Chestney & Sullivan today at 404.816.8777.  Mr. Sullivan or Mr. Chestney would be happy to discuss your case with you.  

Georgia State Patrol Atlanta DUI, Obstruction of a Law Enforcement Officer: Case Dismissed

James “Skip” Sullivan represented a driver who was stopped in the Buckhead section of Atlanta for failing to stop at a red light and speeding by a Georgia State Patrol Trooper (Nighthawks)  In addition to the bad driving, our client also had slurred speech and red, bloodshot eyes.  After being asked to exit his vehicle multiple times, he refused to exit his vehicle when finally ordered to do so by the Georgia State Trooper.  He was then forcibly removed from the vehicle and placed under arrest for a DUI in Atlanta and Obstruction of a Law Enforcement Officer.  The Trooper misread a portion of the Georgia Implied Consent Notice and our client refused to submit to a state breath test.  Mr. Sullivan took the case out of Atlanta Municipal Court and demanded a jury trial in Fulton County State Court.  After multiple hearings, including an administrative license suspension hearing, the Fulton County State Court prosecutors decided to dismiss every charge except for speeding, to which our client paid a nominal fine with no other conditions attached. 

If you are faced with a DUI or serious criminal charges, contact Chestney & Sullivan today at 404.816.8777

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 radio 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/

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.  

Athens DUI (Under 21) reduced 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.

Atlanta DUI Refusal – reduced

Client was stopped for speeding in Atlanta.  The initial encounter with the Georgia State Trooper was tense with the Trooper berating client – making the client nervous.  Client did not perform well on field sobriety evaluations, due to his nervousness.  After being placed under arrest and read the implied consent notice, client refused to take the state breath test.  During negotiations, the Atlanta DUI prosecutor realized that no one would perform well on field sobriety evaluations after the initial encounter with this Trooper and reduced the Atlanta DUI charge. 

Atlanta DUI (Refusal) – DUI Dismissed

Client was pulled over in Buckhead for weaving within her lane, crossing the center line, and stopping past the stop bar. A Georgia State Patrol Trooper noted in his report that client smelled of alcohol, admitted that she had been drinking, and performed poorly on the two field sobriety evaluations she agreed to perform. Client declined to submit to provide a sample of her breath at the traffic stop and she was then placed under arrest for DUI. The Trooper noted in his report that when he attempted to place her under arrest, she resisted and a physical altercation resulted. The report that the Trooper had written (describing the client’s impairment) was one of the worst we’ve ever seen. Client had injuries to her face, legs, and arms and we took photographs of all of her injuries. The Trooper’s video recording equipment was suspiciously not working during that incident, so that definitely raised alarm bells. Laura was relentless and continued to meet with the Prosecutors working on the case, and eventually the client’s DUI was dismissed. It was critical that this client avoid a DUI conviction because she drives for her job. Client entered a plea to Reckless Driving, and other minor traffic offenses. Her license was saved, she was able to avoid a DUI conviction, and she never returned to jail! 

Fulton County DUI Alcohol: GSP Nighthawk Refusal

Client stopped for not wearing a seatbelt. Pulled over into a parking lot. Officer noticed slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, and odor of alcohol. Trooper administered the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, where client showed all six clues. Walk & turn and one leg stand not performed due to age and physical problems, refused the State’s breath test. Client rejected unreasonable terms for a reckless plea in Atlanta Municipal Court and the case was sent to Fulton County for a jury trial. After being placed on several jury calendars, client was finally offered a reckless plea with reasonable terms and accepted.

Fulton County DUI Drugs/Alcohol: GSP Nighthawk Refusal

Client was stopped in Buckhead for driving with no tail lights (running lights only after dark). Although the trooper observed 6/6 clues on HGN and scored her poorly on WAT and OLS, she appeared quite sober on the video. Even the trooper was heard to tell his colleague she showed signs of little alcohol. But because she candidly admitted she had taken her prescribed anti-depressant medication that morning as she always does, the trooper arrested her for DUI-Combination Drugs and Alcohol. Client refused to consent to blood and urine testing when she was not allowed to call her father, a lawyer, for advice. She was found Not Guilty by the judge in a bench trial.