Pre-trial motions are where many DUI cases fall apart for the state. Any DUI attorney worth his salt will typically raise and litigate three main motion to suppress issues: was there a legal basis for the police to stop and detain you; if so, did the arresting officer’s investigation rise to a level of probable cause to arrest you; and finally, once under arrest, did the officer correctly and timely inform you of your implied consent rights under Georgia law.
Legal Basis for the Stop:
An officer has to have a legal basis to use his government power to stop you. An easy example is the officer witnesses you speeding. If the officer just simply has a hunch something is wrong and it needs to be looked into then there is no legal reason for the stop. A real example, someone knows they are drunk and should not be driving and pulls their car into a parking lot and parks the car. Georgia courts have ruled repeatedly than if there is not an objective basis to investigate, like the car is parked at a business where burglaries have recently been reported, then a police officer can not investigate and if the officer does based on only a hunch than the fruits of their investigation, the evidence against you, must be suppressed and not admitted into court.
Successfully challenging the basis for your initial stop literally leads to your identity being suppressed from admission in your criminal case, because the officer did not have a right to stop you and learn it, and almost always leads to the entire criminal case against you being dismissed!
Probable Cause for an Arrest:
There is no magic amount of information to make a DUI arrest, the standard is objectively is the person being placed under arrest under the influence of alcohol to the point they are no longer safe to drive their car. It is important to know, drinking and driving alone is not enough to make an arrest. The officer has to, through their investigation, show the judge in your case there was evidence you were drinking and the alcohol in your system was having an affect on you, or in other words impairing you. It also important to note the officer must show the impairment was caused by alcohol, as opposed to injuries from a wreck or a health condition.
If your court finds the officer did not have probable cause to arrest you then any evidence found after your arrest is suppressed and this generally leads to a significantly better overall result in court.
Implied Consent Violations:
One of the strongest rights persons placed under arrest for DUI has is to be informed of their implied consent rights. The officer must read your implied consent rights as soon as possible to you once you are placed under arrest, they cannot provide you with the wrong information, and once read they cannot coerce your decision into taking their breath/blood sample. In short, if they do not get the implied consent rights completely correct then you can motion to the court to suppress whatever blood alcohol information was recovered.
The following implied consent notice is for Defendant’s age twenty one or over, see O.C.G.A.§ 40-5-67.1:
“Georgia law requires you to submit to state administered chemical tests of your blood, breath, urine, or other bodily substances for the purpose of determining if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you refuse this testing, your Georgia driver’s license or privilege to drive on the highways of this state will be suspended for a minimum period of one year. Your refusal to submit to the required testing may be offered into evidence against you at trial. If you submit to testing and the results indicate an alcohol concentration of 0.08 grams or more, your Georgia driver’s license or privilege to drive on the highways of this state may be suspended for a minimum period of one year. After first submitting to the required state tests, you are entitled to additional chemical tests of your blood, breath, urine, or other bodily substances at your own expense and from qualified personnel of your own choosing. Will you submit to the state administered chemical tests of your ( designate which tests ) under the implied consent law?”
There are a hundred legal pre trial motions: There is no limit to the way the police screw up their investigation of Defendants. In short, if there is an error in your case it should be raised with the court and litigated. If the court sides with your attorney then it can lead to an outcome you are happy with or satisfied with in your DUI case.