DUI Dismissal can result when a driver is too drunk to understand what he is being informed of.
A Georgia Supreme Court ruling earlier this year has created a legal trick by which drunk drivers are getting key evidence against them thrown out, by arguing they were too drunk.
“It certainly is a ruling that’s going to impact every DUI case,” said DUI defense attorney Mike Hawkins. And our Orange County DUI Lawyers agree – it’s a valid defense under solid legal principles that could result in the dismissal of DUI charges.
“Think about consent in any context, it has to be knowing and intelligently given,” said Hawkins, which he argues a driver cannot do when they’re intoxicated.
National College of DUI Defense Attorney Lance Tyler first won this argument for his client John Williams, who was pulled over for a alleged DUI in 2012. The case went all the way to Georgia’s Supreme Court, which ruled this year that Williams may not have “actually” consented to giving his blood, and that Gwinnett State Court Judge Joseph Iannazzone should reconsider his earlier decision not to suppress the results of his blood test.
“The defendant wasn’t actually capable of an informed waiver of his constitutional rights,” Tyler had argued to Judge Iannazzone. A week later, Iannazzone kicked out Williams’ blood test, along with the blood alcohol concentration results (BAC) for five other drivers whose cases he’d heard.
More shockingly, Hawkins has said, “If a DUI defense lawyer is not raising the ‘Williams issue’ I frankly think it’s malpractice”.
This case put the prosecutor in the strange position to argue that the defendant was not in fact, too drunk to know what was going on. Normally prosecutors would argue that the defendant was intoxicated to the maximum amount possible.
Successful “Wiliams” arguments have been filed elsewhere in Georgia — in Cherokee, Fulton, and DeKalb counties also.
Just like in California, officers and prosecutors in GA have traditionally relied on what’s called “implied”consent, an express condition given when you get your driver’s license.
But this current case calls into question that consent, and the language officers are required to read to drivers in that state.
The driver’s blood alcohol concentration registered .225, but Judge Iannazzone threw out the evidence, noting that the driver also had “a pretty good accident” which could have ”rattled” him.
The judge’s order says, “This court finds that the State was only able to show that Defendant’s responses indicated acquiescence to the officer’s request… but was unable to show actual consent.”
DUI Dismissal to be contested.
The DUI Prosecutors in several cases in Georgia plan to appeal individual cases in that state. Stay tuned.