Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

Secretariat won beyond a reasonable doubt - Cerbone DUI Defense in Savannah Georgia

 

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

Secretariat won beyond a reasonable doubt.

In America, before the government can ruin your life, they have the burden of proof.  A girl’s life is on the line in Savannah, Georgia.  The State of Georgia must rule out all reasonable doubts that she is guilty of DUI. You all have heard this before.  The government must disprove all reasonable doubts.

Wouldn’t you agree that a reasonable doubt exists if the DUI breath test is broken? So then, the Chatham County District Attorney must disprove this doubt and prove that their breath test machine was functioning properly.

Isn’t there a reasonable doubt if the District Attorney doesn’t prove to you that Rachael is a good candidate for the DUI field sobriety tests?

Proof beyond a reasonable doubt is the highest level of certainty in the American Justice system.  Has the District Attorney presented proof beyond a reasonable doubt that rules out everything but alcohol as a cause of Rachael’s failure to maintain lane and speeding?

Presumption of Innocence

Rachael is a citizen accused in Savannah, Georgia.  She is fully cloaked with the presumption of innocence. The law says you have to start out biased in favor of the accused. You must start out on Rachael’s side and you cannot change unless you are given the strongest proof known to the law. Rachael starts presumed to win, and she can only lose if the State of Georgia completely disproves all other explanations, using science, no matter what Rachael does.

Imagine this is a football game.  The prosecution in a DUI trial (dressed in orange and blue) starts on its own goal line.  Unless the District Attorney moves the ball all the way up the field, proving each and every thing beyond a reasonable doubt, you must find her not guilty.  You must root for Rachael (dressed in red and black) to be found not guilty.

Proof beyond a reasonable doubt puts the prosecution on the goal line, but the presumption of innocence puts twice the normal number of  red and black defenders on the field.  The Constitution of the United States of America gives every accused these defenders to battle against the State.  Rachael, simply by being accused is given these defenders without her ever having to say a word, present a witness, or doing anything.  These defenders are you.

Levels of Proof

We start with a hunch. It is a guess. In DUI trials a hunch is good for nothing. It can be used for nothing.

Reasonable Suspicion

Would you agree to vote guilty if at the close of the prosecution’s case you were reasonably sure that Rachael was guilty of DUI?

Reasonable suspicion is the amount of evidence a cop needs merely to stop you.

It is reasonable and trustworthy information that a person committed a crime.

For example, a sergeant of over 25 years experience in the same neighborhood sees some people who do not belong there. They are black. But, this isn’t important; they could be white in a black area, or Chinese in a Mexican part of town, whatever. So, the cop watches them. He notices two of them walk up and down the same block and look into the store window. Are they looking for a friend? Waiting on a shopping spouse? He doesn’t know. Instead, he walks up to them and demands they stop.

That’s it. Reasonable suspicion is not even close to the ultimate standard of beyond a reasonable doubt that the prosecutor must produce.

Probable Cause

Would you agree to vote guilty if at the close of the prosecution’s case you were convinced that Rachael probably is guilty of DUI?

This is the amount of evidence a cop needs to arrest you, or to strip-search your wife.

It means that it is more likely than not that a crime has been or is being committed. Not a suspicion, nor a hunch, or even reasonable cause. We need more. We need to know something is up. This is all the cop had the night he arrested Rachael. The law allows him to arrest you if the cop has probable cause. No where near the amount of proof you need today to find Rachael guilty of DUI.

Preponderance

Would you agree to vote guilty if at the close of the prosecution’s case you were convinced it was more likely than not that Rachael is DUI?

Commonly referred to as the tipping of the scales, this is the burden used for someone to take your money in civil law suits.

If you are not prepared to bankrupt your own mother over the facts in this case, then you are not even close to a finding of guilt.

Clear and Convincing

Would you agree to vote guilty if at the close of the prosecution’s case you had clear and convincing evidence that Rachael was a drunk driver?

The government needs this much evidence to take away children from parents or to allow children to decide their parents’ fate late in life.

This level does not have a number attached to it, but it lies between preponderance and beyond a reasonable doubt. No doubt is 100%. Preponderance of evidence is 51%. Reasonable doubt and clear and convincing must fit between these two levels.

Would you want a judge to take your child away from you if he was 75% convinced you were unfit? Would you want your family to be able to commit you to a mental hospital if they convinced a judge 80% of the way? No. You would want the person deciding your fate to be surer than that. You would want them to be clear and convinced, not “pretty sure,” or “reasonably certain.”

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

Would you agree to vote guilty if at the close of the prosecution’s case you only had a slight doubt that Rachael was guilty of DUI?

If there is any doubt in a criminal case, the verdict is not guilty.

This decision is one you must live with for the rest of your lives. When you put your head on your pillow tonight, you should be able to relax and think back to this moment and smile, because you know you did the right thing.

You’ll never have a peaceful nights rest again if on the evidence presented by the District Attorney you find Rachael guilty of DUI.

Look at the picture of Secretariat again and ask yourself: “Has the government won their case beyond a reasonable doubt?”

The idea  for this blog post came from the best DUI lawyers in the world.  They are part of an organization called the National College for DUI Defense.  Bruce Kapsack, the DUI Lawyer from California and his book Innovative DUI Trial Tools gave me some awesome inspiration for this post. Justin McShane is the DUI lawyer and Scientific guru from Pennsylvania who shared with me the idea to use the photograph of Secretariat.  When he told me about that…well it brought it home for me.  For some more reading about this see Lawrence Taylor’s DUI blog posts: Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, and Breathalyzers: Accurate Beyond a Reasonable Doubt?

 

 

DUI breath test triggers false number

Two more minutes. If the Georgia police officer had waited two more minutes we would not be here. That is because a good breath test requires a full twenty minute waiting period. These are not my rules, They are the government’s rules on how to provide a breath test that you may rely on. It is you who must be outraged at this behavior. It is not fair for the government to take short cuts with one law to enforce another. Because, when you take a short cut, you may not be getting correct samples. And, in this case, bad results will result in a terrible outcome.

Robert Smith is falsely charged with DUI in Savannah, Georgia. Robert is a hard-working man. He’s got a family, friends, and a busy life. But, when the officer saw him he expected to see a drunk and so he did. The prosecutor sees a defendant. But, Robert and I want you to see him. He’s a citizen accused, not a statistic. And when you do, you will see an innocent man.

I am preparing Robert’s case for a DUI jury trial in Savannah, Georgia. Here are some of the things that are wrong with the Georgia DUI Breath machines.

The Georgia DUI breath test apparatus (Intoxilyzer 5000) can give a high reading because of many things.

The Georgia DUI breath test apparatus (Intoxilyzer 5000) can give a high reading because of many things. It will detect things other than alcohol. And these substances will be registered as if they were alcohol — even if there is no alcohol. Interferrents are anything not alcohol that can cause a reading on the machine. There are a lot. Is the cop’s blackberry going off when you blow? Are you receiving a text message while you blow? Peppermints, pizza, bread, and Sprite are a few of the many things that will trigger the apparatus as if they were alcohol. See Why Breathalyzers Don’t Measure Alcohol. See Driving Under the Influence of….Bread? Also, watch a video from a seminar that I went to in Atlanta by A. W. Jones, the world’s leading alcohol expert on this flawed scientific evidence.

Regulations require the police officer to follow protocol. Did he?

Because you are innocent, the prosecution must prove that at your test this equipment was in working order, properly maintained, and test administered correct according to protocol.

Residual mouth alcohol detector can be tricked.

Studies have shown that the average person may have over 100 different chemical compounds on his breath at any given time. Scientists have found that 70 to 80% of all compounds on the human breath contain the methyl group. The methyl group is common. Quite common. It is a part of things like propane, butane, isoprophyl alcohol, methane, ethane, ethly chloride, acetic acid, butadiene, dimethylether, dimethylamine, dimethylhydrazine — to name but a very few of the many. And ethyl alcohol as well — the compound found in liquor.

The apparatus detects alcohol by shooting infared light through the breath sample. And the more alcohol in the sample, the more infared light or energy is absorbed, resulting in higher readings. It is the ethyl group inside of the ethyl alcohol compound that absorbs the energy — not the ethyl alcohol compound itself. So if there are any of these commonly encountered compounds that contain methyl groups the Intoxilyzer will read them as ethyl alcohol. If there are 10 or 15 such compounds in the sample, the apparatus will add them all up and then show them as ethyl alcohol. This apparatus detects any compound containing the methyl group as if it was ethyl alcohol — even if it is not.

Acetone will trigger a high false reading

Acetone is a compound containing the methyl group. The apparatus will read this acetone and register it as ethyl alcohol. Acetone is commonly found on the breath. Diabetics usually have acetone on their breath. Anyone who is on a diet may have acetone on his or her breath. Even ordinary people under ordinary circumstances can have acetone on their breath.

An expert on blood-alcohol analysis will tell you that if you had 525 micrograms per liter of acetone in your breath, this would affect the reading on the Intoxilyzer. It would raise it by .03%, so that a true .08 would read .11.

912-236-0595 Call us personally, anytime.

Win Your DUI Breath Test

I had grown tired of standing in the lean and lonely front line facing the greatest enemy that ever confronted man — public opinion.  But, I went in, to do what I could for sanity and humanity against the wave of hatred and malice that, as ever, was masquerading under its usual nom de plume: Justice.  Clarence Darrow

I’ve been working hard in Savannah, Georgia.  Last week I was in New Orleans, Louisiana for the top level DUI seminar: Mastering Scientific Evidence in DUI Cases.  I learned very much.  I learned from the best DUI attorneys in the field.  I do this, all to give you the best fighting chance.  My favorite thing came from Mimi Coffey, the Texas DUI Defense lawyer.  She moves me — majorly.  Her website says:  “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”  – Mark Twain.   This post and the ideas for it came from me watching and listening to Miss Coffey’s presentation, “How to Win a Breath Test.”  Check out Mimi Coffey’s Personal Blog on Politics, Society, and Social Injustice.

A breath test can ruin the best of cases. Breath test cases are hard. The odds are against you. The State’s breath device expert is coming to your DUI trial in Chatham County to tell the jury that the breath slip is right. Cold day in hell before the State’s chemist testifies you are not guilty. For most folks, a breath test slip is enough.

To win a DUI case, you need two things

To win your DUI case in Savannah, Georgia, you need two things: the jury must WANT to let you go, and they need a REASON that they should let you go. To make the jury want to let you go, they must like you.  Sticking with Clarence Darrow again, “The main work of a trial attorney is to make a jury like his client.”  We’ll need your family and your friends to come to your trial and be there for you. Because if no one else cares about you, then why should the jury?

Spin the little alcohol dial and let the truth prevail

Spin the little alcohol dial and see how much alcohol it would take for you to blow .08. Also see what it would take for you to blow the number that’s on your test slip.  Bring in your fact witnesses where the two don’t add up: what you drank that night and what the breath test says you drank.  Let the truth prevail.  If the Savannah jury wants to convict you despite knowing the truth, let it weigh on their shoulders and not my lack of trying.

About the 19th Annual Mastering Scientific Evidence in DUI/DWI Cases

There were lectures on DUI forensic science, DUI trial techniques, breakout sessions on training on the major breath test machines, and a mock trial with an audio and video feed of jury deliberations shown to us inside the main seminar ball room. It was wonderful. William C. “Bubba” Head, Lawrence Taylor, Don Nichols, and the late Joyce Reese started the seminar. Their mission was to educate DUI Defense lawyers on forensic science, including the many flaws in breath and chemical testing, and alcohol measurement devices.  After 11 years, Head handed over the seminar to the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association and the National College for DUI Defense (NCDD).  Texas lawyer and NCDD regent “Troy McKinney is the General who made it so successful,” says Gary Trichter, his Texas colleague and NCDD Fellow. Gary Trichter says the seminar is “the key to the bank and attorneys should embrace the science involved in DUI defense and not fear it.”

Tips to Avoid DUI on Saint Patrick’s Day

  1. 18 Tips to Avoid DUI in Savannah, Georgia on Saint Patrick's Day - Cerbone DUI DefenseDon’t drink and drive if you are impaired.  Don’t drive anything, even golf carts.
  2. NEVER admit that you drank any alcohol.
  3. Never perform field sobriety tests.
  4. Never blow into a portable breath test device.
  5. Be quiet.  Don’t blurt out anything to the cop to try and explain yourself because it will be used against you in court.
  6. Have your license and other documents in hand and offer these to the cop.
  7. Never sit behind the wheel if you are drunk.  Don’t even sit in the front seat of a car if you are intoxicated.
  8. Blend in with traffic because this makes it harder for the police to detect you than if you are the lone driver.
  9. Don’t be a good Samaritan on the way home because random acts of kindness bring the police around a lot.
  10. Stay in your car unless told to get out by the cop.
  11. Sleep in the back seat if you must.  Turn off the ignition and put the keys in your pocket.  Make sure the car is off the highway.
  12. Breath tests can be wrong when you have recently been around volatile fumes, like lacquer, paint, gasoline, or dry cleaning fluids. Always get a second independent test.
  13. Use the driver’s rights cards because it speaks for you to the Savannah Police.
  14. Eat well.
  15. Don’t argue with the officer. Give him your documents and say nothing except to respond to his questions.
  16. If you are in an accident, after having drank, don’t talk to anyone at the scene about anything. Never take any field sobriety tests. If anyone was hurt or killed, refuse all tests.
  17. Try to record the conversations between you and the cops because the officer’s missing or defective warnings can cause test results to be excluded from evidence.
  18. Find a skilled DUI attorney who knows the ropes. You want a DUI trial specialist because he can beat the DUI or he can probably work you a better plea deal.

 

Preliminary Breath Test

Girl blows in a Preliminary breath test for DUI at roadside

One Million people may be on the way.  Savannah’s 2012 Saint Patrick’s Day Parade could be the largest in the world.

The Preliminary Breath Test (PBT) is used incorrectly by many police officers in Savannah, Georgia.  On Saint Patrick’s Day it gets used worse.  The PBT used by the police in Savannah, Georgia is the Alco-Sensor.

The Preliminary Breath Test (PBT) is a roadside initial alcohol screening device.  It’s used to confirm the chemical basis of your impairment.  The PBT can help to confirm all other evidence and to confirm the officer’s judgment as to whether you are impaired. It’s used to show the presence of alcohol in your system.  The PBT does not show how much alcohol you have in your body, but rather if you show any alcohol in your body.  Positive Alco-Sensor result is not enough.  The PBT should never be the sole basis for a DUI arrest.  They are never checked for calibration.  Police departments lack the equipment and training.  Most importantly, they are not right.  For more information on Georgia’s Preliminary Breath Test, see Allen Trapp’s blog post : More on PBT’s (Preliminary Breath Tests): The Alco-Sensor.  Also, check out Justin McShane’s blog post: DUI Myth Busters: Breath Test Accuracy.

First: the police officer is trained to give you three (3) field sobriety tests (Eye test, Walk and Turn, One Leg Stand).  Second: based on these tests, he must decide if there is probable cause to arrest you for DUI.  Third and Last: he may give you a PBT.

A good deal of police officers do give you the PBT first or some where in between the three field sobriety tests.  This is wrong.

How High is Drunk?

How high is drunk?

What is the legal limit for DUI in Savannah, Georgia?  How much can you have before you are under the influence and DUI less safe in Savannah?  It depends.  It depends on how much time you drink.  Are you a man or woman? How big are you?  Did you drink on an empty stomach?

You Know it’s not against the law to have a drink and drive.  Rather, you break the law if you have too many drinks and drive. That’s the law in Chatham County.  If you are an adult you may drive after you drank as long as you are not “under the influence of alcohol.”  What does that mean?  Lawrence Taylor, the Dean of DUI Defense attorneys says that two glasses of wine will not put you under the influence of alcohol or over the legal limit of .08.  See his blog post, The DUI Exception to the Constitution.  But then Mr. Taylor has another better blog post with a chart, How many drinks can I have?  A Florida DUI lawyer says the two drink rule is no good.  See his blog post, Florida DUI Attorneys Discuss Why The Two Drink Rule Is Not Correct.  But, then why have you heard of people who got a DUI and they had only two drinks?  Because DUI is an opinion.  If you don’t take the breath test or a blood test, then your liberty depends on the police officer’s opinion of your sobriety.  Is this fair, accurate, and reliable?  No.  If you were my family or friend,  I’d fight it.  Fight or die.  Think of Michael Jordan.

I pledge allegiance

Would Michael Jordan fight?  I think he would.  I pledge allegiance to prepare every one of my DUI cases in Savannah, Georgia like it’s headed straight to a jury trial.  Like the word “can’t” does’t exist.  I am open to a good plea-bargain, if the deal means no DUI for my girl.  You see, if you walk in to plead out, you’ll never get a good deal because the district attorney knows you aren’t going to do anything about it anyway.  Your life is on the line.  You must take the chance.

To be a champion

But, the police report looks bad, you say.  Until trial the police report is irrelevant.  It doesn’t matter what it says,  the way is to not get scared and put them to the test — go to trial no matter how bad the report seems.  This is the only way.  There is no bulletproof police report.  All reports can be overcome.  All cop’s opinions can be defeated.  Now, I make no guarantees.  But, there are no foolproof reports.  And most of the time, the police report is good for making the officer look like a moron at trial.  The Police report is useless to everyone until we have the officer on the stand and can embarrass him.  I’m always working on this.  So I do it well.  I do it to slam your DUI.  I know this sounds like bragging, but you have to have confidence to be a champion and that is the only thing I ever wished to be.

The Road is a Dirty Mess

Jason Cerbone, DUI Defense Attorney on DUI Investigation in Savannah, Georgia

 The Road is a Dirty Mess

You’re scared. You’re nervous. You have trouble understanding the cop’s directions. He barks them to you one time. The ground is sloped and there is gravel. You’re alone. Strobe lights from the police car bounce, and there is a man in front of you with a gun.  You are doing the “Field Sobriety Tests” (FST’s), but which are better called Roadside Agility Tryouts (“RAT’s”).  What’s the weather like?  What time is it?  How’s the lighting?  Is there traffic?  Do you feel safe on the side of the road late in the night as the 18-wheel trucks fly by?  Vibrations and wind waves from those eighteen wheelers hit you while you tried to stand on one leg. That doesn’t make things easier. You’ve never done this before. You are being graded. If you lose, you go to jail. Oh, and the cop expects you to lose because why else would he have asked you to do the damned things?  What’s worse is that he or she doesn’t know what he or she is doing anyway.  Check out “The Cops Themselves Can’t Perform the Field Sobriety Tests,” by Justin McShane, the DUI lawyer in Pennsylvania.

The key to winning your DUI case in Savannah, Georgia begins on the road. Ever seen a road that was level? Ever seen a smooth road? The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) requires a dry level location for the DUI police to do the field sobriety tests.  So, the first thing we’ll need to do is go to the scene and take a look at that uneven road. The road is a dirty mess.  Your only way out is to beat the RAT’s in court. If I find a short-cut then we’ll take it. The RAT’s depend on the officer properly performing them on you.   I like to highlight the cop’s failure to do the tests according to procedures. I’ll show he’s shaky on the details of how to instruct, demonstrate, give and score these RAT’s. I’m trying to discredit him and weaken the State’s case.  I challenge the accuracy of the principles behind the RAT’s, the credibility of the cop, and all the details of you taking them and the cop’s grading them. The devil is in the details.  I could go on and on and on. But will save something for the ring.  Hope this doesn’t sound over-confident.  You have to have confidence to be a champion and that is the only thing I ever wished to be.

 

Don’t do the RAT’s

In Savannah, Georgia, if you’re pulled over at night and the police officer asks you to get out of the car, he’s probably checking you out for DUI.  The rest is downhill.  These field sobriety tests are very difficult to pass.  And the guy who decides if you pass or fail them is the same man who has put you in this position.  Do you trust him?  If you attempt these exercises, you will fail.  And you are going to jail for DUI.  You’ll fail because the field sobriety tests are unfair.  You’ll fail because everything is in that cop’s subjective opinion.  If the cop decides to arrest you, then you’re going to fail.  Oh,  and he decided to arrest you through the window before you got out of your car.

 

Ain’t Good Enough for Alabama

 

In 1998 Alabama abandoned the Intoxilyzer 5000 after controlled lab testing of blood and breath samples showed breath samples on the 5000 were artificially high. The apparatus failed Bama’s “quality assurance” program.  The Georgia DUI breath apparatus (Intoxilyzer 5000) is a piece of police equipment. Hospitals don’t use them. Doctors don’t use them. The apparatus is used by police in traffic law enforcement. The apparatus hit the streets for police use in 1983. The version Georgia uses is an off-shot of the original one made in 1983.

 

Not the Latest Greatest

 

This isn’t the latest greatest breath apparatus on the market. Would it surprise you that the states Georgia borders: Alabama, South Carolina, Florida, Mississippi all test their breath machines at the time of testing? Just not Georgia. The National Safety Council “Committee of Alcohol and other Drugs” recommends performing an independent calibration or control test at the time of testing.  But, not Georgia.

 

Government Failed to Preserve Evidence

 

What happens to the breath test sample once it leaves the Intoxilyzer?  It’s gone like yesterday. The better machines allow the government to preserve the sample of breath that you give so you can have it checked by a CSI or forensic laboratory. Kind of like getting a second opinion. But not in Georgia. The Draeger Alcotest 7110 is “the mercedes benz” of alcohol testing. It captures full data on every single breath sample. Where is that type of machine used? Alabama, New York, New Jersey. In Georgia, you won’t get the benefit of being tested on one of these state-of-the-art machines. So your breath sample will not be saved. What’s worse? Your sample could be saved. There’s a device called the Toxi-Trap and GBI could have written a rule to save the breath sample so the jury would have the benefit of having another CSI independent (not GBI) lab analyze it. Kind of like having a second opinion.

 

In a DUI jury trial in Savannah, Georgia the government will give you a breath estimate number.  Is it correct? It ain’t good enough for Alabama, why are we still using it?

The Secret to Winning DUI Cases

Jason Cerbone, Savannah DUI Lawyer with A.W. Jones, the best DUI Alcohol Expert in the worldLast week I drove from Savannah to Atlanta to go to this DUI seminar.  The man on the left is Dr. A.W. Jones., the foremost leading alcohol expert in the world.  He’s from Sweden.  He works for the Swedish government.  Talk about the perfect expert witness for a DUI case.  The man in the red tie on the right is Bubba Head, the best DUI lawyer in Georgia. My inspiration for this post comes from these guys and that seminar.

Attitude

I know I will win. My client feels that, and the jury, and the judge, and the prosecutor. The difference between a lawyer who wins DUI cases and one who loses is attitude. Henry Ford said it best, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.”   My attitude is that I am a good DUI lawyer.  I’m prepared.  I know my stuff.  I’ve read the cases.  I’ve read the file.  I’ve interviewed the witnesses.  I’m on top of this case.  I know it better than the prosecutor.  I have confidence.  The most important thing: Stick to the goal — I want to win the case.

Never plead guilty to DUI.

Recently, I met a lawyer who pleads about 50 cases a year, and he’s methodical about them. He maybe tries one of twenty. I am not pleased with lawyers who take a case to plead it, regardless of what kind of chance they’ve got to win the case.

Never plead guilty to DUI. Ever. If that’s what you want, you can get another attorney to do it for a lot less money than you’re going to pay me. I will not take on a DUI case unless I believe I’m trying it down the road. I hold strong to my philosophy and I’m not taking a case knowing that I will not try it. I am not about to ruin my reputation by having somebody come in and after a month of fighting decide “Oh I want to plead guilty.” That does me no good. People will hear I’m pleading guilty to things. I’d rather do quality work. An American deserves his day in court.

Preparation

Preparation makes the difference. I come prepared. I am thorough. I file many motions, study lab regulations, challenge field sobriety and BAC tests, bring an expert, and even appeal when my client’s rights have been shot.   I must be better prepared.  I go to court with knowledge of the file, knowledge of the law, knowledge of the facts, and knowledge of the defenses.  If I’m not better prepared than my opponent, I could lose.  The odds in a DUI case are stacked against you by the legislation.  This is one reason I will not overload myself with DUI cases, because I know what it takes for me to do a good job.   I turn down far many more cases than I take.  Far many more.  I could make a lot more money if I wanted a volume DUI practice.  But, I’d rather hold to my rule that I’m not taking a DUI case knowing that I’ll never try it.  And, I only take a certain number of cases a year, because it’s physically impossible to be on trial that much.

A lot of cases look unwinnable at first. Most cases look this way. But the number of cases that are unwinnable is little. I step back. I stay away from it a few days. I come back. I get creative. I ask myself, “What thing have I missed?” I ask my colleagues. I look hard.  Whenever you take a chemical test, breath, blood, etc., bring in an expert to challenge the result. If you’re headed to trial, I almost always go for a jury trial.  Most DUI cases are not dismissed before trial. But, I spend a lot of time trying to do so. The first thing I look for in a file is “Is there some way I can avoid trial?” Maybe you can talk about sloppy police procedure and get the case dismissed. But, this is not easy to do.  The State of Georgia has many opportunities to mess up. But, I’ll only catch it when I explore every one. This takes time and commitment.

Knowledge

I keep my knowledge of DUI law and science up-to-the-minute. I know my subject cold. This gives me the winning confidence. DUI’s are winnable.  But, they are hard.  DUI is a political crime. Jurors have a much different mind set toward DUI. I am a lot different than just a criminal lawyer. I read just about every DUI publication in the country, and attend about every DUI seminar.  I am trying to get a reputation with the prosecutors and with the courts and with other lawyers as being a good, sound, prepared, and professional DUI lawyer.

Three hour initial interview

I block off three hours for the initial interview.  I want no interruptions, no phone calls, or anything.  I want the client to know that while he or she is here, this is extremely serious.  I take the time to really go through an in-depth interview.  Most people come in with a negative attitude.  They think they can’t win.  Then I begin telling them how can the case may be approached and what kinds of defenses are there. No DUI case is an open and shut loser. This way you can come in for an interview and then decide if the fee is something you can come up with.

I listen.  I try and pick up on how you present your story.  What kind of a witness will you make?  I’m sizing you up.  Are we going to get along?  Am I comfortable with you?  Are you comfortable with me?  Are you telling the truth?  These are the initial impressions I’m feeling out. Do you feel good about yourself?  Want to fight the case?  Do you feel you’ve been wronged?  Do you think you have a defense? And if you do believe these things, how serious are you?  Because once we get going here, I’m committed to winning.  If you think this is not something that you want to make an investment in, it’s best you go to another DUI lawyer.

Twenty-four DUI detection clues

Twenty-Four Initial Visual DUI Detection Clues the Police Use in Savannah, Georgia - Cerbone DUI DefenseThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) identified 24 cues for police officers to detect nighttime impaired drivers.  Here they are:

Initial Visual DUI Detection Cues

  1. Weaving
  2. Weaving Across Lane Lines
  3. Straddling A Lane Line
  4. Swerving
  5. Turning With Wide Radius
  6. Drifting
  7. Almost Striking Object or Vehicle
  8. Stopping Problems (too far, too short, too jerky)
  9. Accelerating Or Decelerating Rapidly
  10. Varying Speed
  11. Slow Speed (10 m.p.h. + Under Limit)
  12. Driving In Opposing Lanes Or Wrong Way On One-Way Street
  13. Slow Response to Traffic Signals
  14. Slow Or Failure To Respond To Officer’s Signal’s
  15. Stopping in Lane for No Apparent Reason
  16. Driving Without Headlights At Night
  17. Failure to Signal or Signal Inconsistent with Action
  18. Following Too Closely
  19. Improper or Unsafe Lane Change
  20. Illegal or Improper Turn (too fast, jerky, sharp, etc.)
  21. Driving on Other Than Designated Roadway
  22. Stopping Inappropriately In Response To Officer
  23. Inappropriate Or Unusual Behavior (throwing objects, arguing, etc.)
  24. Appearing to be Impaired

You might be surprised to learn that 40 out of 100 drivers “appearing to be impaired” to cops are not under the influence?  And, 40 out of 100 drivers who are weaving or who almost strike another vehicle are also sober.  Lastly, 30 out of 100 people doing the above are not DUI.

How important are driving symptoms in a DUI case?

Driving is the most important.  So…I like to get the cop to tell the jury all the things that my client didn’t show from the above list.

Why I Fight DUI

Working - Jason Cerbone, Savannah DUI lawyer rolling golf ball on road - Cerbone DUI Defense

Better class of people.  At least they’ve got a car.  They are hard, fun, and anybody can get one.  DUI’s are different.  This is because there is much more law on DUI.  DUI law changes fast.  Very fast.  Stay tuned for a big change coming to Georgia with the Intoxilyzer 5000 source code. Enormous.

DUI is biology, chemistry, science. The science is false. The machine doesn’t work. The science is on our side. And the prosecutor’s in Savannah, Georgia are going to have to square with that. Soon. The prosecutor’s so-called expert witnesses are advocates, not scientists. There ex-police agents with new titles, like “area supervisor.” The Intoxilyzer 5000 (the DUI breath test used in Savannah, Georgia) is accurate only because the legislature says so. The evidence they need to find you guilty in a DUI case isn’t even forensic. The State doesn’t need a forensic expert to testify to the jury that their breath estimator was reliable and accurate. Rather, the prosecutor only needs to show the you that a machine makes the sample and spits it out. Is this fair, accurate, reliable? Where does the hospital keep their breath machine? They don’t use one. Why do doctors use blood testing? Because they need accuracy. And reliability. Whose choice was it to use a breath sample? Ever taken a prescription pain medicine? Did it last four to six hours? Not a full day? Scientifically, you know that most pain medications can be detected in you the next day? Not alcohol.

Inside Intoxilyzer 5000 Breath Alcohol Test Machine, Savannah, Georgia - Cerbone DUI Defense

Ain’t good enough for Alabama…

The Intoxilyzer 5000 DUI breath testing device ain’t good enough for Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina, Florida, and many more states. Sweden quit using it over 15 years ago because it’s bad, old science. Most states don’t use it. But, Georgia still uses it to convict people.

CMI, the manufacturer out of Owensboro, Kentucky now only makes the 8000 series. They will not make new parts for the 5000 machines. The design of Georgia’s instrument is over 25 years old. The computer was built and last updated in 1985. Ever owned a boat with an outboard motor? How about a lawn mower? Did it ever fail to start? Ever heard of a space shuttle exploding?

Interfering substances are not subtracted from your sample.

Filters are made to detect and subtract out interfering substances. But, GBI made the manufacturer set up a different software protocol for the Georgia Intoxilyzer 5000. This is important because if the machine is not sniffing out interferrents perfectly then your breath sample can be falsely high. But, since Georgia has chosen to not use easily available software to capture data from the machine, interfering substances will always go undetected.

No paper trail

Almost every state in the U.S.A. uses a breath machine that leaves a paper trail for you to challenge your sample. Not Georgia. Our breath test samples leave nothing. But, you are always allowed to challenge a breathalyzer’s sample. This is where I come in. Challenge. Attack. Challenge. Show me. Challenge.

DUI Exception to the Constitution

Many constitutional protections that you and I have are not there for DUI.  Instead, there are DUI exceptions to the constitution.  For example, the crime of “Failure to maintain lane” includes driving and weaving within your own lane.  The law says this is a good stop.  Roadblocks are the falsest thing out there. But, the law says it’s all good.  Unlike every other crime, you’ve got no right to an attorney until you are arrested, processed, and booked.  Make sense?  No?  That’s the point.  To make it “O.K.,” the court’s have gone and carved out what Lawrence Taylor has quoted as the ‘DUI Exception to the Constitution.”

You are required to give evidence against yourself when you get arrested for DUI in Savannah, Georgia.  This is ridiculous. In some states it’s a separate crime to refuse a DUI test. It’s coming to Georgia.  In Arizona the cops are authorized to do a forced blood withdrawal.

There’s a presumption of guilt in DUI cases because the law says if there’s a test result, we’ll let the jury “infer” guilt.  And most people think if you drink and drive, you’re guilty.  You understand it’s not against the law to drink? And drive? Rather, it’s against the law to have too many drinks and drive.  What’s the first thing a waitress says to you after “Hello?” — “Do you want a drink?”

You can tell the truth in DUI cases. This is good. The bible says “the truth shall set you free.” So it will. I’m just bringing you the truth. I like that.

Double jeopardy is here for DUI, even though the Constitution says you and I are free from double jeopardy.  You’ve got two fights in a DUI case.  First, your administrative license suspension battle.  Second, your criminal DUI case. How can this be?  Because there’s a DUI exception to the Constitution of the United States of America — that’s how.

Criminal intent or state of mind is never an issue.  So think of it as a strict liability crime.  Do this and that’s it.  We don’t care why.

Well, that’s my dish.  I must shove off.