David Graves DUI Charge
In 2005, Georgia State Representative David Graves of Macon asserted his right to travel to and from legislative committee meetings without arrest after he was stopped at a police roadblock and charged with driving under the influence. This safe travel provision was written in 1789 and grants representatives immunity when traveling to and returning from legislative events.
The Georgia State Constitution states that “The members of both houses shall be free from arrest during sessions of the General Assembly, or committee meetings thereof, and in going thereto or returning therefrom, except for treason, felony or breach of the peace."
Unfortunately, Cobb State Court Judge Irma B. Glover rejected Graves’ legislative immunity defense, though he was leaving a dinner committee meeting. Prosecuting attorney Gary Jones argued that there was insufficient evidence that the assembly was an official committee meeting, though the committee met immediately after leaving the Georgia capital and Graves was still identified as a legislator by wearing his legislative pin.
William C. “Bubba” Head, Graves’ legal representation and one of the top DUI defense attorneys in the nation, filed a motion to appeal the lower court’s ruling to the Georgia Supreme Court immediately after the immunity was rejected.
Following Glover’s ruling, Attorney Head stated, “I think this situation is so unique that it needs to have an appellate court review.”
Graves’ arrest occurred at a police roadblock on Feb. 15 after he and his legislative committee members attended a dinner meeting to discuss their plans for the next day in the legislative session. Though he did not take a breath test, he was arrested and charged with drunk driving after voluntarily informing the police officer that he had a couple of drinks with his dinner.
The time-honored legislative immunity provision is part of the Georgia State Constitution. Georgia is one of many states including such a provision.