The answer to that question is, “It depends.” The facts of your case are your starting point, then a review of the police evidence gathered is second, followed by an in-depth knowledge of Georgia DUI laws.
Case wins for a criminal defense attorney are critically important. This is especially true for DUI case wins, since many people think that driving under the influence cases are hopeless. For those who have the most advanced training on police tactics and field sobriety tests, winning a DUI case comes far more often. When it comes to DUI in Georgia, our criminal attorneys have thousands of DUI case wins to their credit. Below are 40 accounts of case wins for criminal cases in Georgia, and most pertain to drunk driving or drugged driving.
Case #1 – Motions Appeal Results in Favorable DUI Case Outcome in Cherokee County State Court
Description: After investigating our client’s case, we found that her drunk driving arrest was illegal. We filed a pre-trial motion to have the arrest thrown out; however, the judge denied our motion. Believing that a mistake was made, we appealed this decision and the Georgia Court of Appeals granted our appeal. Because the original ruling was overturned, all of the evidence obtained as the result of our client’s arrest — including her breathalyzer results — were excluded and her DUI was dismissed, saving our client’s job in the process.
Outcome: DUI dismissed after appeal
Case #2 – Client Acquitted of DUI in Jury Trial in Atlanta
Description: Our client – a man with a history of psychiatric issues – went out with a neighbor for pizza and beer after working all day. While our client only had a beer and a half, he also took a number of prescriptions for his bipolar disorder, including Lithium, Halcion, and Paxil, around the time that he was drinking. Instead of going home after going out with his neighbor, our client instead decided to go to his girlfriend’s apartment, taking her car, which was left at his condo.
When he reached the gate of his girlfriend’s condo, he found that the access code didn’t work. Frustrated, he rammed the metal gate. When the vehicle became wedged in the gate, he tried to dislodge it by putting the car in reverse, then drive, etc. Eventually, he was able to dislodge the vehicle when the front bumper was detached; however, he awakened most of the other condo occupants in the process of dragging the gate across the asphalt.
Our client then left the scene and ran a red light, almost striking a police car that had been dispatched to the scene of the gate crashing. The officer pulled our client over, who appeared to be unstable at the scene and refused to take any roadside breathalyzer tests.
At trial, the officer testified that our client smelled of alcohol and seemed to be wasted. Upon cross examination, we established that the arresting officer had no “drug recognition expert” training and that he never asked our client if he was taking prescription medication. We then called our client’s girlfriend, neighbor, and a doctor to the stand. By showing that our client was not impaired by alcohol due to having less than two regular-sized beers all day, but rather was impaired by prescription medication, we were able to argue that our client was NOT GUILTY of DUI-alcohol (as accused) but was being affected by his prescription drugs. He was not accused of DUI-drugs.
Outcome: Not Guilty of DUI-alcohol after a three-hour deliberation in Atlanta traffic court.
Case #3 Charged in Atlanta Municipal Court With DUI After Hitting a Telephone Pole
Description: After hitting a telephone pole near downtown Atlanta, our client and a female who was unconscious and still inside the cab of the small pickup, sustained serious injuries. The fire department and an ambulance arrived first, followed shortly by a police officer. When the officer first saw our client, our client was standing next to the fire truck. The case was booked into the Atlanta Municipal Court.
The officer reported smelling alcohol on our client’s breath and asked how the accident happened; however, our client could not remember the events that led to the crash. The officer arrested our client and took him to the Atlanta Detention Center police station, where he blew a 0.20% on a breathalyzer.
During pre-trial motions, we argued that the officer did not have any independent witness or other credible evidence that our client was driving, other than what the ambulance driver and a bystander told him. Our motion to suppress the evidence was granted; however, it was then appealed and reversed by the prosecution enough to go to trial. The appellate court found that all evidence pointing to our client was hearsay.
During the non-jury trial, the prosecution brought in several witnesses; however, none had direct proof that our client was driving. The Atlanta judge, who had believed the case should have been dismissed and made that ruling, now had considered the full case and all evidence, and ruled that the State had not proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
Outcome: Acquittal of all DUI charges
Case #4 – Underage DUI With a 0.16% BAC and Case Dismissed at Lilburn Municipal Court
Description: Our client, a 20-year-old Vanderbilt student, was at home in Gwinnett County for spring break. After going out with her friends, she accidentally drove off the road into a wooded area in the city limits of Lilburn. A former high school classmate, who lived in Lilburn, stopped and tried to help extricate the car from the muddy ditch. When the car could not be driven back onto the road, he drove the female to her parents’ home. Shortly after she arrived home, the Lilburn Police Department called and asked our client’s father to bring her back to the scene. Not knowing that he had a choice, the father drove his underage daughter to the location of her stranded vehicle. The Lilburn officer then arrested our client for failure to maintain lane and DUI.
Our client was asked to take a breathalyzer test at the Lilburn Police Department and blew a 0.16%.
Mr. Head took the DUI and failure to maintain lane case to trial, where the officer testified on the prosecution’s behalf. However, because the officer did not have evidence that our client drank before the accident – rather than after – we were able to object to a number of his statements. The officer never asked the driver of the vehicle (when she returned to the location of her stranded vehicle) WHEN she had consumed the alcohol that was in her system.
Outcome: Not Guilty of all charges at a bench trial in Lilburn Municipal Court
Case #5 Client Charged With DUI After Testing With a BAC of 0.18% at Forsyth County State Court
Description: After failing to dim his headlights and after rolling through a stop sign, our client was pulled over by a Forsyth County DUI task force officer. Our client took the implied consent breathalyzer test, but requested an independent blood test at Northside Hospital, located approximately 30 minutes from the Forsyth County jail. The officer refused to accommodate his request, saying our client needed to choose a closer facility. Even though our client was familiar with Northside Hospital, and wanted to obtain his independent blood test at this facility, he was taken to the small hospital in Cumming for his blood test, where the reading showed a 0.18% BAC.
Because his request for being taken to Northside was denied, Mr. Head filed a motion to exclude the State breath test results since our client was denied his request to go to a medical setting of his own choosing. This motion was denied by the trial judge in Forsyth County State Court, and Mr. Head immediately appealed this court ruling. The Court of Appeals reversed the Forsyth County judge’s ruling, stating that there was no reason why our client’s request to be transported to Northside Hospital should not have been honored. Without this breath test evidence, the prosecution dropped the DUI charge and allowed our client to plead to a lesser offense. The client was then able to keep his driver’s license and avoid a DUI conviction.
Outcome: DUI dismissed in exchange for a reduced charge
Case #6 – Client Pulled Over For DUI Due to Lipstick Application in Clayton County State Court
Description: After a hard first day at her new job, our client picked up a six pack of beer and went to visit her brother. She drank three beers at his house in five hours, before leaving for home at midnight. While she was driving, she applied her lipstick while looking in her rear view mirror, causing her to drive too close to the vehicle in front of her as well as to cross the yellow line when driving in a curve. She was pulled over by two officers, who immediately asked her to step out of the vehicle and begin performing field sobriety tests. While the Clayton County police said she passed these tests, an Alco-sensor portable breath test detected the presence of alcohol and she was placed under arrest for drunk driving.
We entered a “not guilty” plea for our client and filed 14 separate pre-trial motions, challenging the prosecution’s evidence. Because the trial was going to take so long to begin, the prosecution reduced the DUI to reckless driving, which allowed our client to retain her full Georgia driver’s license.
Outcome: DUI dismissed for reduced charge
Case #7 – Officer Perjury in a DUI Case in Gwinnett County State Court
Description: Our client, who was from Texas, was charged with drunk driving after blowing a 0.16% BAC. While he wanted to plead guilty to his charge, Mr. Head encouraged him to reconsider after explaining that the arresting officer was notorious for violating residents’ constitutional rights and lying in DUI cases. The Texas licensee was very interested in not having a conviction on his Texas driver’s license, so he hired Mr. Head to fight his DUI case. This Gwinnett County police officer claimed that there was no video of our client’s arrest, when, in fact, there was video from the scene. The officer falsified official police department records to hide the lie.
Mr. Head was able to prove not only that the officer lied under oath during our client’s Administrative License Suspension hearing, but that he also broke into the county’s records room to alter a daily log report, as to which vehicle he was assigned to drive that evening. Upon establishing the officer’s perjury and illegal actions, our client’s DUI case was dismissed. Mr. Head took this information of the officer’s perjury and falsification of records to the District Attorney. The officer later turned in his badge and gun, resigned as a Georgia law enforcement officer, and agreed to never work as a police officer again. All of his other DUI cases were dismissed due to his lack of credibility.
Outcome: All DUI charges and other charges dismissed
Case # 8 – Failure to Follow Proper Protocol Leads to DUI Dismissal in DeKalb State Court
Description: Mr. Head’s client, a skilled computer consultant, was pulled over after changing lanes to avoid a slow vehicle. The officer asked how much our client—who had been out with some coworkers and had six beers over the course of several hours—had had to drink. When our client responded that he hadn’t had much, the DeKalb County police officer asked him to take a portable field sobriety test. Our client then asked the officer several questions regarding the ramifications of taking the portable breath test and about the calibration of the unit. The DeKalb officer stated that “nothing would happen” if he refused to take the preliminary breathalyzer and that the portable breath device only tested “positive”. Both statements were untrue, which the officer knew. The client declined to take the portable test, which he was entitled to do. But the client told the DeKalb law enforcement officer that he would take a blood test.
The officer arrested our client for DUI and took him to DeKalb Medical Center for the blood test. The nurse refused our client’s request for a second sample, and the police officer’s blood test showed a 0.13% BAC. The officer, who neglected to read the Miranda Warning to our client, then refused our client’s request to make a phone call. After being taken to the police station, our client was held for over 12 hours before being booked or allowed to make a call.
During the pre-trial motions, we argued that there was no probable cause for a custodial DUI arrest, since no field sobriety tests or portable breath test evidence was obtained before Mr. Head’s client was cuffed. Although Mr. Head demanded a copy of the videotape evidence (which was favorable to our client) several times, the officer did not bring it to court. At a pre-trial motion hearing, seeking to exclude the blood test, and to challenge the DUI arrest, the DUI case was “nolle prosed” (dismissed). Mr. Head’s client ended up pleading guilty to a $250 speeding ticket.
Outcome: DUI charge dismissed
Case #9 – DUI With Breathalyzer Refusal in Alpharetta Municipal Court
Description: Our client was parked on Birmingham Highway in Alpharetta, GA, when two Fulton County officers pulled over and determined she was impaired. The officers improperly administered several field sobriety tests and read the Implied Consent warning before placing our client under arrest. During cross examination during the pre-trial hearing, the arresting officer had a difficult time explaining why our client was arrested for drunk driving. He claimed that it was partially due to her admitting to consumption of alcohol and to having an open can of beer in the car. However, after Mr. Head cross-examined the officer, it was clear that the open beer can was only discovered after the arrest, and that it was inside a closed Styrofoam cooler.
The judge presiding over the pre-trial hearing was sitting in for a full-time judge and refused to throw out the case. However, the officer failed to appear at the trial, leading to a dismissal of the DUI. This allowed our client to avoid termination at her job and to move on from her charges.
Outcome: DUI case dismissed
Case # 10 – DUI Arrest in Sandy Springs on Georgia 400 – Case Was Bound Over to Fulton State Court
Description: When our client was stopped on Georgia 400 for speeding, the officer suspected he was DUI and asked him to perform field sobriety tests, which the officer claimed he failed. At the police station, our client blew a 0.098% on the breathalyzer.
There was no video of our client’s arrest, so we decided to cross examine the officer by using the officer’s Intoxilyzer breath test student manual. As a result of his incorrect statements, the jury felt as though the officer misled them regarding what happened at the breathalyzer test location that occurred after arrest.
Outcome: Not Guilty of DUI
Case #11 – Client Acquitted After Allegedly Failing Field Sobriety Tests and Breathalyzer at Gwinnett County State Court
Description: Our client, who did not speak English very well, was stopped on 316 and asked to perform field sobriety tests, which the officer said he failed. In addition, the officer later claimed that our client pretended to blow into the breathalyzer, but never provided an adequate breath test sample.
During jury selection, we sought to select jurors who would be sympathetic of our client’s limited English proficiency. We also produced video evidence from the jail showing our client acting and walking in a normal manner. After seeing the evidence, the jury agreed that the prosecution did not prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt.
Outcome: Not Guilty of DUI or Failure to Maintain Lane, but Guilty of Speeding
Case #12 – Client Charged With Drunk Driving After Rear Ending Police Car In DeKalb State Court
Description: Our client was traveling on Ashford Dunwoody Road when she rear-ended a police car. The officer suspected our client of DUI and called a more experienced officer to the scene. The second police officer administered the field sobriety tests and read her the Georgia implied consent warning. The client was confused about what the implied consent wording meant, and initially refused the breathalyzer test.
During the trial, the second officer testified that he read the implied consent warning again at the police station, and that our client then changed her mind about the test and took the breath test. The results were well over the legal limit. What the arresting officer did not know, however, is that the testing officer at the DeKalb County jail told us that the implied consent warning was never read at the police station—meaning that the arresting officer was lying on the witness stand. After the officer was off the stand, we told the prosecutor that he should speak to the next witness, since the arresting officer’s perjury would be exposed.
Under Georgia DUI law, a person who has refused an implied consent test cannot be required to take the DUI test, unless he or she changes his or her mind, without coercion or deception, as was done in this case. When the prosecutor came back into the courtroom, he immediately dropped the DUI if our client would plead guilty to following too closely. The client agreed to do this.
Outcome: DUI dismissed
Case #13 – Client Arrested for DUI After Previous Offenses in Cobb County State Court
Description: Our client had been arrested for two DUI offenses in the past, with one of them being reduced to reckless driving and the other DUI case resulting in his acquittal at trial. In this particular case, our client was parked in a driveway and asleep behind the wheel when two officers were called to a nearby location where a woman was locked out of her house.
The police asked our client to step out of the vehicle to perform field sobriety tests before he was arrested (and he allegedly resisted arrest). At the police station, our client refused the breathalyzer. Fortunately, there was videotape evidence of the entire roadside investigation. The police video showed that our client performed well on the field sobriety tests and acted normally. The prosecution attempted to use other law enforcement officers from our client’s prior DUI cases as witnesses, but, they were not available to testify. Therefore, the jury never heard about the fact that he was a repeat DUI offender.
Outcome: Not Guilty of DUI
Case #14 – Out of State Client Charged With DUI in Roswell Municipal Court
Description: We were asked to represent a client who was visiting Atlanta from another state. After an officer caught our client urinating next to his rental car in a parking lot, he advised our client to not drive the vehicle again, due to suspected intoxication. However, once the officer left the scene, five minutes later our client drove off and passed by the officer, who allegedly saw our client run a stop sign and change lanes without using a signal. When the officer used blue lights to pull over our client, the officer stated that the client was unsteady, had bloodshot eyes, and smelled of alcohol. After arrest, the client agreed to be tested at the police station, and blew a 0.152% and 0.155%, on the breathalyzer.
We were initially worried about this case until we found out that our client had blown into the breath test (Intoxilyzer) several times before the breathalyzer machine printed out the results. We were not given any of the earlier breath machine results, which is mandatory under the GBI Intoxilyzer training manual and Georgia DUI laws. We explained the problem to the prosecutor, who agreed to reduce the DUI to a reckless driving offense. In addition, he allowed our client to mail in the plea without having to return back to Georgia.
Outcome: DUI reduced to reckless driving
Case #15 – Charge Reduced After Fourth Amendment Violation in Doraville Municipal Court
Description: Our client, a young woman, was confronted by a third party in a parking lot for allegedly driving erratically. This person forcibly took the keys from our client before calling the police. When the police arrived, they searched our client’s car and found her prescription medication—violating our client’s Fourth Amendment protection against illegal search and seizure. After administering the field sobriety tests, the police arrested our client for DUI-Drugs.
We filed a pre-trial motion arguing that our client’s rights were violated. Upon reviewing the videotape evidence, the State decided to reduce our client’s charge to reckless driving, allowing her to avoid the DUI penalties associated with a drunk driving offense. In Georgia, a DUI-drugs conviction causes a 6-month total loss of all driving privileges.
Outcome: DUI reduced to reckless driving
Case #16 – DUI and Child Endangerment in Municipal Court Of Atlanta
Description: While on her way to bail her child’s grandfather out of jail, our client—a single mother—was arrested for drunk driving with her child (who was under 14 years of age) in the vehicle. Because this was her second DUI offense, we knew we had to do everything we could to help the client avoid another conviction. Having the child in the vehicle would mean AN ADDITIONAL DUI, so she faced TWO DUI charges in this case. We were able to convince the prosecution that there were some weaknesses in the case in order to get our client’s charges reduced to reckless driving—allowing her to avoid jail time and a driver’s license suspension.
Outcome: DUI and Child Endangerment charges dropped, in exchange for a Reckless Driving guilty plea
Case #17 – Taking Over A DUI Case From Another Criminal Defense Attorney
Description: Our client was previously represented by another DUI attorney, who convinced our client that he wouldn’t have to face the criminal charges as long as he stayed out of Georgia. This advice was both improper and unethical, by the prior DUI lawyer. After two years, our client—who was getting married—decided he needed to handle his pending charge to put his past behind him. Working with our firm on when and how to do this, he surrendered himself to the court and was granted a release on bond pending his trial. The prosecution wanted to make an example of our client by offering a deal that required him to stay in jail for a year. However, we knew this option was not suitable for our client, and took the case to trial—securing a not guilty verdict at trial.
Case # 18 – Client Arrested by State Trooper For Third DUI At Municipal Court Of Doraville
Description: Our client was arguing with his girlfriend (passenger in the car) while driving when he exited I-285, crossed over all eight lanes of traffic on Buford Highway while going southbound, hit a curb, and then went up the opposite ramp and was pulled over by a Georgia State Trooper. The trooper noticed two cases of beer in the vehicle and obtained an admission from our client that he had just left a nightclub. The trooper asked our client to take an Alco-sensor and horizontal gaze nystagmus test but did not ask him to perform the other standardized field sobriety tests due to the hazardous conditions of traffic on Buford Highway.
Because this was our client’s third DUI in five years, he had to fight his charge or risk significant jail time. During the pre-trial motions phase we were able to get our client’s refusal to take the evidentiary breathalyzer test thrown out due to an improper implied consent warning. We were also able to get the Alco-sensor results thrown out as well, due to being administered improperly.
We sought to challenge the trooper’s administration of the horizontal gaze nystagmus test during the bench trial. After undergoing cross examination regarding the test, the trooper testified about our client’s appearance and behavior at the time of arrest, without explaining what the horizontal gaze nystagmus test proved. The trial lasted only 25 minutes before our client was acquitted by the Doraville judge.
Outcome: Not Guilty of DUI
Case #19 – DUI Roadblock Ruled Illegal at Doraville Municipal Court
Description: The Fourth Amendment controls whether a DUI checkpoint is being legally operated or not. During a DUI checkpoint, local police are required to abide by pre-set roadblock site approval and supervision guidelines. After our client was arrested for drunk driving at a Doraville DUI roadblock, just north of the Oasis Goodtime Club, Mr. Head filed a motion arguing that the roadblock was not established according to existing standards. Although our motion to declare this sobriety checkpoint unconstitutional was granted, the prosecutor appealed the ruling. Fortunately for our client, the Georgia Court of Appeals upheld the court’s original ruling and our client’s arrest was deemed illegal.
Outcome: All charges were dismissed due to 4th Amendment violation
Case #20 – Attorney Charged With DUI After Rear Ending Another Vehicle at Fulton County State Court
Description: Our client, an attorney, was driving on I-285 when he rear ended another vehicle. The first officer to the scene believed that our client was under the influence, and administered several field sobriety tests before handcuffing our client. The officer was then joined by a DUI Task Force officer, who had the client step out of the other officer’s car, where the second officer then took off his cuffs, and gave the standardized field sobriety tests to him. The DUI task force officer recorded our client failing the field sobriety tests. Our client also refused to take a blood test, so he refused the implied consent test.
As this was his third DUI offense within five years, the best plea bargain offer from the prosecution included six months in jail. We filed a number of pre-trial motions, resulting in the suppression of the DUI Task Force officer’s video, all of the field sobriety test evidence, as well as any mention of the field sobriety tests and our client’s refusal to take a breath test.
After more than 38 months, the case was finally up for trial. Because almost all of the prosecution’s evidence was eliminated, the DUI charge was dismissed and our client entered a plea of guilty to reckless driving—allowing him to avoid jail time and save his career.
Outcome: DUI charge reduced to reckless driving