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 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.
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!
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.
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.
Client stopped by GSP Nighthawks for Speeding and Failing to Maintain Lane on Piedmont Road in Buckhead. Struggled with field sobriety tests, arrested and blew .098 at the jail. We provided extensive medical records including a spinal fusion to explain poor performance, emphasized clean 35-year spotless driving records, and the City Solicitor agreed to drop the DUI, and allow a plea to Reckless Driving and Speeding. Probably saved client’s banking executive position.
Young female client pulled over in Buckhead by GSP Nighthawks for Failure to Maintain Lane. Arrested for DUI, refused breath test, but Trooper obtained a search warrant for blood. GBI test result was 0.122. After a contested hearing on our motions, the State conceded that the arrest was illegal, and dismissed both counts of DUI. Client simply pled Nolo to FTML, paid a fine and took a Defensive Driving course. Case closed.
Our young female client was stopped by the Georgia State Patrol Nighthawks in the Buckhead area for rolling through a stop sign. She had actually stopped at the balk line, then rolled forward to check for traffic before entering Roswell Road from a side street. After the case was bound over to Fulton State Court, a motion was filed challenging the traffic stop. When the State could not carry its burden of showing that the trooper had reasonable grounds to initiate the stop, our motion was granted and the entire case dismissed.