Most of my clients want to do everything possible to avoid having to go to court. I can't blame them. If you have a DUI charge pending, going to court feels like another opportunity for something bad to happen. Usually, going to court means a lot of anxiety for my client. However, motions hearings should not be stressful for you. Generally, during a motions hearing, you will not need to do anything. You will just need to be present and listen to the testimony of the police officer (or other witnesses) and the argument of your lawyer and the prosecutor. Motions hearings in your DUI case are an opportunity for you to win your case prior to a trial.
How are motions hearings an opportunity to win your DUI?
If success at a motion to suppress is defined in terms of having the motion granted, success is seldom achieved. The most common use of motions to suppress is to develop a trial advantage and, consequently, improve the plea offer.
We develop a trial advantage by demonstrating to the prosecutor various problems with their case. For example, let us look at a case in which the arrest report described a defendant as “faking” when attempting to blow into the breath testing machine. However, the discovery showed that our client submitted “sufficient” samples, but the first sample produced an “invalid sample” result at 12:03 a.m. The officer subsequently tested our client at 12:08 a.m. and 12:11 a.m., which produced results of .099 and .110. The performance of the defendant's breath test directly violates the 20 minute waiting period. However, these results are admissible in Georgia. Use the motions hearing as an opportunity to have the officer tell the prosecutor that he failed to adhere to his training in the administration of the breath test and he incorrectly recorded the evidence in his incident report.
Cases improve during the course of live testimony. During motion hearings, issues are developed and some just arise which were previously unknown. Cases that seem hopeless, develop hope. Be rigorous in your preparation, and you will uncover favorable evidence. When you develop favorable evidence, plea offers improve (i.e., the DUI is frequently dismissed or “reduced”).
Even in a motion hearing where the evidence does not change substantially during the hearing, you have an opportunity to lock the officer into his testimony. You have an opportunity to observe the officer's testimony and to observe his demeanor. Learning how the officer addresses difficult issues prior to the trial can be the difference between winning and losing at trial.
There is one final note on the use of motions to prepare for trial: have the motions taken down and transcribed. Having a transcript to prepare from for trial is invaluable.
 See, State v. Palmaka, 266 Ga. App. 595, 596, 597 S.E.2d 630 (2004)(“Any deviation from the operator's manual goes to the weight to be given the test results and not to their admissibility.”).
Do you need help with a DUI case?
If you need help with a pending DUI case, call The Sessions Law Firm today for a free consultation. There are a lot of pitfalls that people (and lawyers) fall into in DUI cases, and the filing of motions is certainly one of those areas. Motions need to be filed within 10 days from the date of arraignment or a court may refuse to hear pre-trial motions. Do not waive this important right.