Ten minute DUI not guilty verdict

Ten minute DUI not guilty verdict by Jason Cerbone - Savannah, Georgia DUI attorneyShe was charged with DUI less safe (alcohol) and Failure to maintain lane. It took the Chatham County jury ten minutes to reach a verdict. Not guilty to DUI less safe. Guilty to Failure to maintain lane. That was the fastest DUI not guilty verdict that I’ve ever had.

Also, this was the first time that I was put in contempt of court and put in a holding cell. So there I was. The judge took me out about ten minutes later and said nothing about it. It was a misunderstanding. But the jury was waiting and a I had a trial to finish. I stayed focused.

She was driving home and using her phone for GPS. She hit a center median and broke her axle, and the air bags exploded hitting her in the face, she lost control of her car and it stopped in the elementary school parking lot across four lanes. A street sweeper saw something. He called the police. The officer did field sobriety on her, but didn’t call for medical assistance. And this is important because the DUI field sobriety expert who testified for my client said that he would have never asked her to do field sobriety and would have called for medical assistance because she was hit in the head by exploding air bags and she crashed. It didn’t matter that she said she was alright. He would have called for help. But the officer did not. Instead, he gave her the field sobriety tests.

DUI police officers are trained that people who are overweight by 50 pounds or more may have difficulty performing the tests. She was over 50 pounds overweight, and this was the key, I think. Not that she was overweight, but that the jury felt awful for her. When I made that point, the room went cold, and dead silent and the witnesses asked about her weight didn’t want to talk about it. So, now this uncomfort lasted longer because I had to make the point. Anyway, she walked out of the court house that evening and said “Thank you.” “Your welcome”, I said.

Judgment: Not guilty in the State Court of Chatham County

DUI Total Dismissal in State Court

win-winWyatt is a top-level Gulfstream Engineer and he needed to beat this DUI to keep his job. He was charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) – 40-6-391, and Speeding.  We were ready for the jury trial. The field sobriety test expert witness came to Savannah, Georgia the night before. This case had been rescheduled several times, and Wyatt wanted this case to end. When I walked into the courtroom that day, the police officer was not there. The Assistant District Attorney asked the judge for a continuance. The judge looked at me and asked if I had any response.

I objected to a continuance, because Georgia law says that a continuance shall not be granted to the State, except upon a reasonable showing therefore. The State must first show that they filed a formal and proper motion. The Chatham County Assistant District Attorney in this case didn’t file anything. My client hired an expert witness to show the jury why the field sobriety tests in this case were bad. Our expert is from Atlanta, Georgia and he came to Savannah last night for this trial. If this case is continued Wyatt will have to hire and pay the expert witness all over again. That would be a total waste of money. We are ready for trial. We object to continuance. We ask you to dismiss this case for lack of prosecution.

The Chief State Court Judge dismissed the DUI charge and the Speeding charge. We won.  It was 10:00 a.m. and this case was over.  Wyatt and I walked out of the State Court of Chatham County and went and ate a nice breakfast.

Judgment – DUI Total Dismissal in State Court

DUI Blood Test Reduced to Reckless

Mission checkMy client ran a stop sign, crashed, and flipped his truck. He took a blood test which came back at .208. The trooper allowed this case to be negotiated down to Reckless driving at the Preliminary Hearing in the Pooler Municipal Court of Chatham County Georgia.  My client was charged with the following criminal charges:

  1. DUI Alcohol less safe – 40-6-391(a)(1)
  2. DUI Blood test 40-6-391
  3. Possession of open container in vehicle passenger area – 40-6-253
  4. Failure to stop at a stop sign – 40-6-72(b)

Final Outcome

The charge for DUI less safe was dismissed. The charge for DUI blood test was reduced to reckless driving.  The charge for Possession of open container in vehicle passenger area was dismissed.  The charge for Failure to stop at a stop sign was dismissed.  I don’t know what to say really.  Except that anything is possible if you fight your DUI blood test or breath test or any DUI charges.  Just don’t give up and plead guilty, because anything is possible.

DUI Blood Test .208 Reduced to Reckless Driving

Not Guilty to DUI in One Hour

Not guilty to DUI less safe in one hour. DUI investigation by Jason Cerbone - Savannah DUI lawyer

“I’m so nervous,” he said. “They have a verdict in one hour…Is that good?” “I don’t know,” I said, “I’ve seen it go both ways.” The Clerk of the Chatham County State Court read the verdict: “For the charge of DUI less safe, we the jury find the defendant, Mr. B not guilty.” He grabbed my arm. I looked him in the eye. They looked red and watery. I was glad for him.

Mr. B is from Jamaica. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia with his wife and child. He works for Delta. The night that this happened he was working in Chatham County. He had worked from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. He went out, had two beers, and headed back to the Condo on Tybee Island. He got pulled over on Butler Avenue for Speeding by a Tybee Island police officer.

The police officer asked him, “Do you know why I stopped you?” Mr. B said, “Because I was going too fast.” The police officer asked him if he wanted an accuracy check on the radar, and Mr. B said “No.” The Tybee officer smelled alcohol and saw that his eyes looked sleepy and told him to get out of the car. The cop asked how much he had drunk. Mr. B told him two beers. He asked him to do some field sobriety tests and within nine minutes he handcuffed Mr. B and arrested him for DUI less safe alcohol 40-6-391(a)(1) and Speeding 40-6-181.

I needed to prove that the police officer gave the field sobriety tests wrong, and invalidated them. The thing was that this police officer was straight and true. He is a good man, and I rather liked him. So there I was; I had him on cross-examination and I knew he gave the field sobriety tests wrong. Half-way through, I decided to stop challenging him face to face. I called in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration DUI Detection & Standardized Field Sobriety Tests Instructor. He testified that the Tybee police officer did not do the field sobriety tests correctly which made them invalid and unreliable.

There was no video, so I called an investigator to the stand and he showed the jury photographs of where all of this happened on Tybee Island.

We started at nine in the morning and finished around eight in the evening. It took the jury one hour to decide to let Mr. B go home not guilty to DUI less safe, and guilty of Speeding. I am grateful because the Judge of Chatham County State Court gave us a fair trial, and that to me is a square shake.

Judgment – State of Georgia v. C.B. R11110270

Not guilty to DUI in Chatham County Georgia

In the State Court of Chatham County Georgia, the jury gave the verdict: Not guilty to DUI, less safe (alcohol) 40-6-391(a)(1). The charge for no headlights was dismissed.

Calvin was asleep when the phone rang. Kat and Mike needed a ride home. He had been with them earlier. He had gone downtown in Savannah around seven that evening. He had three beers and went home at ten because he was tired and had to work the next day. Now it was three in the morning and Calvin got up. He drove back downtown to Savannah. He picked them up and headed back to Pooler when he got pulled over by the Savannah Chatham Metropolitan Police for no headlights.

The cop saw that Calvin wore a wristband from a bar in Savannah. He ordered him out of the Infiniti. On I-16 he had Calvin do some DUI field sobriety tests. He found Calvin’s attempts to be wrong. He arrested him for DUI, less safe (alcohol) 40-6-391(a)(1); and no headlights. He locked him in handcuffs. He put him in the back of his car. Then he asked Calvin to take a breath test at the the Chatham County Georgia jail. Calvin said “No,” because he had done everything else the cop asked and look where that got him.

We hired a DUI field sobriety expert instructor.  He testified that the police officer did the One Leg Stand wrong as well as the Walk and Turn, and invalidated both of them.  We also hired an investigator to take pictures of the location in Chatham County Georgia. He testified that the shoulder of I-16 was not flat and level and was in bad condition.

In the end the jury gave the verdict: Not guilty to DUI, less safe (alcohol) 40-6-391(a)(1) in Chatham County Georgia. The violation of the headlights requirement charge was dismissed.

Judgment: State of Georgia v. C.J. R12090453

DUI to Failure to use due care Chatham County

HandshakeIn the Pooler Municipal Court of Chatham County, Georgia my client (we’ll call him Joe) was charged with DUI less safe – 40-6-391(a)(1), and Failure to maintain lane – 40-6-48. He pleaded guilty to Failure to use due care.  The charges of DUI less safe – refusal, and Failure to maintain lane disappeared.

From the Pooler police officer’s video, you can see that Joe never crossed a lane line.  Joe didn’t even touch the lane line.  But, the video shows that the police officer did cross the right lane line when he was behind Joe.  When the police officer puts the blue lights on, Joe pulls over fine.  But, the police report says Joe almost hit the curb.  Didn’t happen — Did Joe almost speed?  Did Joe almost throw something out the window?  The report doesn’t mention that Joe braked properly, used his turn signal, switched off his turn signal, pulled over correctly, came to a complete stop, put the Mercedes in park, turned off lights, shut the Benz off, and had his license in hand before the police officer walked up.

The Pooler police officer asked Joe if he had been drinking and Joe said he had three drinks over the past four hours.  The cop then ordered Joe out of his car.  The cop asked Joe to try the Walk and Turn field sobriety test.  Joe told the police officer he couldn’t do that because of medical reasons.  The police officer then gave Joe a preliminary breath test, and then arrested Joe and asked him to take a breath test at the Chatham County police station.  Joe said “No.”

I prepared Joe’s case the same way I always do; as if it will be a jury trial in the State Court of Chatham County.  But, then a wonderful opportunity came along the way.  The police officer agreed to let Joe plead guilty to Failure to use due care instead of DUI.  What a marvelous thing.

Judgment: DUI to Failure to use due care Chatham County

DUI .113 reduced to Speeding in Liberty County

Judgment: DUI reduced to Speeding in Liberty County

In the State Court of Liberty County my client (we’ll call him Joe) was charged with DUI less safe – 40-6-391(a)(1), DUI .08 grams or more – 40-6-391(a)(5), and Speeding. He pleaded guilty to just the speeding charge. The DUI less safe and the DUI .08 grams or more were dropped.

The police report said that Joe had red, glossy eyes, and that he had a strong smell of alcohol coming from his breath.  The Liberty County Police Officer asked Joe how much he had drunk and Joe said he had three glasses with one shot of gin in each cup that he made.  Then the officer asked him when he had his last drink, and Joe said four or five hours ago.  The report said Joe was unsteady on his feet when he got out of his BMW.  The video showed that he was not unsteady.    The police officer then gave Joe a preliminary breath test.  The result showed the presence of alcohol and they arrested Joe, cuffed him, and took him to jail for DUI.

What the Liberty County police did not do was give Joe any field sobriety tests.  They should have given him three field sobriety tests (also known as roadside agility tryouts (RATS) in this order: Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, Walk and Turn, One-Leg Stand.  Then after those three field sobriety tests he should have been asked to blow in that preliminary breath test.

I got ready for the preliminary hearing.  The day of the preliminary hearing the District Attorney agreed to drop the two DUI charges and let Joe plead guilty to Speeding.  Joe agreed.  Naturally.

 

DUI down to reckless in Effingham County

Here is the real court judgment: Third DUI reduced to reckless driving in Effingham County

In the State Court of Effingham County, Georgia my client (we’ll call him Joe) was charged with Driving under the influence – 40-6-391 (DUI less safe refusal), Failure to maintain lane – 40-6-48, and Too fast for conditions – 40-6-180. This would have been his third DUI. Joe plead guilty to reckless driving. The DUI less safe refusal, Failure to maintain lane, and Too fast for conditions were dropped.

It was raining. Joe crashed into a tree coming around a curve because his steering failed. Earlier that day he bought two quarts of power steering fluid for his truck. Now sitting in his truck, his femur bone was sticking out of his leg. He was cut out of his truck and  taken to the hospital. According to the Effingham County police report he smelled like alcohol, and his speech was slurred, and his eyes were bloodshot, and he said he had drunk a couple of beers earlier. Naturally, he was charged with DUI. While he was laying there the cop asked him if he would let them test his blood for alcohol. He said OK. Then at the hospital when they tried to take his blood, he wouldn’t let them.

After meeting Joe and listening to his story, I drove to the scene of the accident in Effingham County.  I believed this was an unfortunate accident. But it was not caused by alcohol. Joe was innocent. I was ready to fight.

The solicitor general in Effingham County prepared to take this case to trial because it would be Joe’s third DUI. Early on, I tried to get him to let my client plead the DUI to something else. But he would not agree. So I got ready for trial. After months of getting ready and talking to the prosecutor and showing him the problems with the case he finally allowed my client to plead guilty to a non-DUI charge. I wish I knew why. All I know is he is a great lawyer and a good man. Maybe he believes in second chances.

DUI refusal dismissed in Bryan County

Here is the Bryan County court judgment: DUI refusal dismissed in Bryan County

John was asleep when the Richmond Hill police officer found him. He was sleeping in his truck at the Richmond Hill police station parking lot. He had been there for several hours when a police officer banged on the glass and woke him up. The officer asked him to get out of the truck. He did. The officer smelled alcohol on him. He asked if he drank. “Yes,” he said, “Yesterday.” John told them “I was in Bryan County and didn’t want to drive and thought this was the best place to be.” The Richmond Hill police officer asked him to do field sobriety tests. He agreed. He did the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (eye test) and the One Leg Stand. Then he was arrested for DUI less safe.

The police officer  didn’t see him drive. He didn’t know what time John parked in the Richmond  Hill police station parking lot. He didn’t how long he had been there sleeping. His truck was not on. The engine was not warm. The police officer failed to show that he drove within three hours of drinking alcohol.  They did not ask him to do the Walk and Turn field sobriety test. They didn’t ask him to blow in the Preliminary breath screening device.  His eyes were not red. No alcohol was found. He gave them his license. His speech was normal. He was mentally alert. They never asked how much he drank. They never asked when he drank. They never asked where he drank. They never asked what he ate. They never asked who he was with. When he got out of his truck he didn’t use his door for support. He exited his truck perfect.  He walked fine.  He did everything the police asked him to do.

In the end, the DUI was dismissed in Bryan County and my client walked away from Richmond Hill a happy man.

DUI .136 dropped for Gulfstream engineer

DUI dropped for Gulfstream engineer.

Here is what we ended up with: DUI .08 grams or more with .136 breath alcohol test dropped; Speeding dropped; Open container dropped; Failure to maintain lane dropped. Jake plead guilty to Failure to use due care in the State Court of Effingham County Georgia.

Jake is a Gulfstream engineer. His career in the Aviation industry would be gone if he got a DUI on his record. Jake’s life would have been ruined if we gave up. So, I fought Jake’s case like I was fighting for my family. Fighting is the key.

Jake was driving home one night and he sees blue lights and he pulls over. The cop told Jake he paced him doing 70 m.p.h. in a 45 m.p.h. zone. (This is important because Speeding is not one of the twenty-four nightime DUI Detection cues that police are trained to look for in DUI drivers.) Jake had his license ready for the cop before he walked up. Immediately the cop asked him if he’d been drinking. Jake told him three or four beers earlier. Jake does some field sobriety tests on an unlevel highway in the cold 50 degree night in the dark. Jake felt he did the field sobriety tests pretty well. But he was arrested for DUI and he took a breath alcohol test at the police station and blew a .136 breath alcohol test on the Intoxilyzer 5000. During the field sobriety tests and when he blew the breath alcohol test he had chewing tobacco in his mouth. This is a bit of a problem for forensic reliability. The officer did all of the field sobriety tests wrong. Any field sobriety tests instructor would show that.  The officer didn’t follow the protocols for giving the breath alcohol test because he didn’t watch Jake for the required 20 minute observation period. He also violated the breath alcohol test protocol by not removing the chew in my client’s mouth while he blew in that machine.

Anyway, I talked to the Solicitor General (the opposing attorney) several times. He is a fantastic lawyer. After showing him some of the problems in this case, he agreed to work this case out. The result:DUI .08 grams or more with .136 breath alcohol test dropped; Speeding dropped; Open container dropped; Failure to maintain lane dropped. Jake plead guilty to Failure to use due care in the State Court of Effingham County Georgia.