Accidents resulting in serious injuries or death that involve alcohol or drug consumption are among the most intensely prosecuted and litigated cases in criminal law. The reason for the intensity of the prosecution of these offenses is clear and need not be discussed at-length here. Our purpose is simply to inform you of the various elements which must be proved by the state in the serious injury or death case.
A critical element in the serious injury by vehicle case involving an alleged DUI offense (also referred to as DUI – Serious Injury) is the admissibility of the state-administered chemical test. In this article, I will not attempt to address each of the issues which I consider in evaluating the admissibility of the state-administered chemical test in a DUI serious injury case. Instead, this article will simply be the first of a series of posts on this subject.
Why is the admissibility of the state-administered chemical test so important in the defense of the Georgia DUI serious injury case?
The answer to this question is relatively straightforward: without the state-administered chemical test, the prosecution generally has very little evidence of impairment or intoxication in the DUI serious injury case. Because the DUI serious injury case generally involves an accident (generally, a high-impact and traumatic accident), most of clients involved in DUI serious injury cases are not good candidates for balance and coordination tests that are generally relied upon by officers to demonstrate impairment by alcohol or drugs in DUI cases.
One of the first issues that must be addressed in this class of DUI case is whether the injury meets the definition of a serious injury. O.C.G.A. § 40-5-55, Subsection (c) defines a serious injury:
As used in this Code section, the term “traffic accident resulting in serious injuries or fatalities” means any motor vehicle accident in which a person was killed or in which one or more persons suffered a fractured bone, severe burns, disfigurement, dismemberment, partial or total loss of sight or hearing, or loss of consciousness.
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