Model Arrested for DUI Plead to Reckless Driving

Jason Cerbone Voted Best DUI Attorney fighting for people Arrested for DUIElena was arrested for Driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) with .02 grams or more under 21 years of age – 40-6-391(k)(1); Underage possession of alcohol – 7-3-24(b); and Speeding – 40-6-181 by the Richmond Hill Police Department. The police officer claimed that he “detected an odor consistent with that of an intoxicating beverage,” coming from Elena. The police officer wrote in his arrest report that he asked Elena if she had been drinking, and she said she had consumed a “little bit” of alcohol. The cop asked where it was, and she said in the trunk. The cop opened the trunk and found a bottle of Jose Cuervo Tequila Silver, a bottle of Smirnoff Vodka Green Apple, a bottle of Malibu Red, a bottle of Stella Artois Cider, and a bottle of Firestone Vineyard. The officer asked Elena to do a Preliminary Breath Test (PBT) on the street. She did and the PBT result showed the presence of alcohol. The officer then arrested Elena and read her the Implied Consent Rights.  Later, she gave two breath tests at the police station and the results were .099 and .094.

The biggest problem with this DUI arrest was that the officer failed to do any of the three field sobriety tests before he arrested my client. The field sobriety tests should have been done first. And then if he wanted to confirm the results of his field sobriety tests he may do a preliminary breath test (PBT). According to the DUI Field Sobriety Training Manual, “Many experienced DUI officers rely on the PBT less as their confidence in DUI Detection increases.”

In the Bryan County Municipal Court of Richmond Hill, Georgia Elena plead guilty to Reckless Driving. The Speeding charge was merged, and so was the Underage posssession of alcohol.

Judgment: Model Arrested for DUI Plead to Reckless Driving

DUI Dismissed at Tybee Preliminary Hearing

Jason Cerbone gets DUI dismissed for no probable cause

My client, (I will call him John) is a successful entrepreneur who owns a vacation home on the beach on Tybee Island, Georgia.  He was charged with DUI less safe (alcohol), Open container, and Following too closely.  This would have been his fifth DUI in life. This could have been bad. But, it turned out good. You always have a chance. Always.

The preliminary hearing is a critical stage. The purpose of the preliminary hearing is to see if there was probable cause that a person committed a crime. This is a low burden of proof. Ninety-nine percent of the time there is probable cause. But, sometimes probable cause is not proved. This was one of those times.

It was 4:30 p.m. in the Tybee Island Municipal Court when our case was called. We hired a court reporter and she was there to make a record of the preliminary hearing. I told the judge to order the witnesses out of the courtroom so that each police officer could not hear the testimony of other officers.

Officer One testified. She was the primary police officer who made the police report. The primary officer is the officer who makes the decision to arrest. Officer One said she smelled alcohhol on John, and his eyes were red and glossy. Officer One said Officer Two talked to John. That’s all. At that moment I knew something was wrong. On cross-examination, I got Officer One to tell the court that she didn’t make the decision to arrest John. She said that Officer Two made the arrest decision.

Officer Two testified. On cross, Officer Two said, “I was not the arresting officer.” He said that Officer One was. Then he said that Officer Three read John his Implied Consent rights. That was it. The district attorney said “Let’s talk.” We agreed that John may plead guilty to reckless driving and the DUI charge will be dismissed. Here is the the result:

  1. DUI less safe (alcohol): Dismissed, Negotiated guilty plea to reckless driving
  2. Open container: Dismissed
  3. Following too closely: Dismissed

Anytime you are in the courtroom, you have a chance.  Even at the preliminary hearing.  Case closed.

Judgment: DUI dismissed at Tybee Preliminary Hearing

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.