Articles Posted in DUI

Written by Maya Fouad

When a police officer is conducting a roadside investigation of a suspected drunk driver, a variety of mechanisms are employed as indicators of intoxication.  Law enforcement are trained to conduct specific behavioral tests and use certain devices designed to detect levels of intoxication.  Officers are often additionally trained to make more general observations of the suspect during roadside investigations of this nature.  For instance, the potential odor of alcohol, an individual’s flushed face, or the appearance of the eyes, can all also be additional indicators of intoxication; however, few evidentiary limits apply when an officer with personal knowledge testifies to such observations.  In contrast, evidence of intoxication resulting from officers performing more established methods of testing implicate more potential grounds for exclusion.  

Since 1981, the National Highway Traffic Safety Admission (NHTSA) of the United States Department of Transportation has produced a series of standardized field sobriety tests which are considered the most effective procedures for testing drivers at roadside for intoxication.  The NHSTA’s behavioral test battery has been incorporated into law enforcement training in all states to help police officers in assessing whether a suspected drunk driver is legally impaired.  The tests are administered roadside, outside of the car, and after the suspected drunk driver has been identified.  The SFST battery is composed of three tests: the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN), the Walk-and-Turn (WAT), and the One-Leg Stand (OLS).  Since 1995, the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council has made the three NHSTA-approved field tests the exclusive field tests taught to Georgia officers.

If you are charged with a DUI in the state of Georgia, you will be hit with several costs BEFORE you ever go to court to address the charges. Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty?! You WILL have to pay $150 to request a hearing re your driver’s license. Please see In addition, you will have to pay at least $25 or up to $75 to get a copy of your DUI video, depending on the jurisdiction. And finally, you will have to pay a few dollars to get a copy of the police report. Again, this is all before you go to court to address the charges. Conaway & Strickler, PC has been fighting DUIs since the 90’s – these changes have only come into effect with the downturn of the economy. The $150 just became effective in September, 2010. How ridiculous and how unconstitutional for the government to institute these charges – again, long before you actually get to court. 

Life can be messy. This is the fundamental truth that being an Atlanta criminal defense lawyer has taught me. We all know what living in modern American society is like. Stressed-out, overworked, we all strive to pay the bills, raise our families, find love and happiness, maintain employment, stay away from abusing alcohol or drugs, and somehow keep juggling all the balls of day-to-day life. When a Good Decent Law-Abiding Citizen is arrested, it often means that one of these balls got dropped.

Working with my clients has taught me better than any philosophy class that as human beings we are all innately fallible. As a criminal defense lawyer I have no need to be reminded that “to err is human”- I see it every day. My clients are people like these:

· Sasha, on scholarship to an exclusive private college in Boston. Under pressure to conform to the lifestyles of her wealthy friends, she succumbed to the pressure to shoplift a party dress “just this once.” The store’s policy against selective prosecution landed Sasha in jail and sent her parents frantically seeking legal advice.

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