Georgia DUI Accident Cases: A Few Thoughts on the Defense of These Difficult Cases
Charges that arise from Georgia DUI accident cases that also involve alcohol and/or drug consumption can be very challenging, if not overwhelming, to many lawyers. When they encounter an accident that involves alcohol and/or drug consumption, they automatically believe the DUI charge is insurmountable. This view is probably based upon the inability of people to objectively evaluate the cause of the accident. Your DUI lawyer must not work from the assumption that the accident was caused by the alcohol and/or drugs. I recognize this fear, but it has been my experience that in comparison with the “standard” Georgia DUI charge, the accident case which gives rise to a DUI charge is generally a much more defensible case.
The first reason why I “enjoy” defending accident cases is because the accident provides a viable alternative for the manifestations of impairment typically relied upon by DUI officers in Georgia. Instability, difficulty walking, bloodshot eyes, watery eyes, slurred speech, difficulty walking, and difficulty maintaining balance can all be explained by way of the accident. The issue that the State has in accident cases is overcoming the reasonable alternative explanation for these indicia of impairment. In an accident that involves moderate to severe impact, I have had good success defending those cases based on an officer’s inability what’s caused by the accident, as opposed to the alcohol and/or drugs that my client allegedly consumed.
The second reason why accident cases are generally very defensible is that they typically present difficult issues for the State to overcome. Many DUI accident cases involve multiple officers. After witnesses are sequestered, I can typically take advantage of the opportunity to develop conflict in the stories and observations of the officers. Whenever I have different stories from officers in a DUI case, it naturally resonates well with jurors as a conflict in the evidence and reasonable doubt. Again, I will rely on the jury charge that says reasonable doubt comes from a conflict in the evidence. Whenever you have multiple officers involved in a case, it naturally leads to legal issues which arise from the State’s (in-)ability to establish that my client was not placed in custody or that he should have been Mirandized prior to the administration of field sobriety tests or questioning.