All too frequently, criminal defense attorneys in Georgia rely upon the state's evidence in evaluating their client's case. Sometimes logistical difficulties, financial difficulties, or just laziness result in a reliance upon the state's investigation. This case can be a huge mistake, and making a decision as to how an DUI-accident or vehicular homicide case should proceed without an independent crash-scene evaluation of the accident scene may result in a decision that is blind to the other half of the accident.
Consider a recent misdemeanor vehicular homicide case that we defended in Marietta, Georgia. If you simply reviewed the state's evidence, you would have thought that this was a pretty clear case of our client crossing over the roadway into the lane of oncoming traffic while he rounded a turn. However, our visit to the scene of the accident revealed a whole of the set of considerations.
When we visited the scene, we saw that there was a distinct gouge in the pavement in which our client was supposed to be traveling at the time of the accident. The gouge is significant because it could be indicative of the point of most severe impact. If the gouge was the point of most severe impact from this crash, then we had a very plausible argument that the initial impact was within our client's lane. The gouge had not been discussed in the state's investigation, and, in fact, it appeared to be totally disregarded during their investigation.
It is always a difficult decision as to whether to disclose such evidence to the state. After a lot of consideration, we decided to disclose this finding with the state, and it paid dividends for our client. After disclosing the photographs of the gouge that we found at the scene of the accident, the momentum of the negotiations changed remarkably. We were ultimately able to negotiate a dismissal of our client's vehicular homicide charge in exchange for a nolo contendere plea to failure to maintain lane. Our client did not have to do any jail time and his driver's license was not suspended.
If you have questions regarding a DUI-accident case or a vehicular homicide charge in Georgia, contact The Sessions Law Firm today for a consultation.
It is important to remember that while this post specifically addresses the important of an independent investigation in a vehicular homicide case, this lesson applies to every criminal case. Criminal defense attorneys should never rely solely upon the investigation conducted by the state. A thorough investigation beginning with the client's recollection of the events is essential to the defense in every criminal case.
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