Last week, a South Georgia legislator was arrested and charged with driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol. This arrest is the second time the local lawmaker has been brought up on criminal charges this year, and the third time since 2010. Just four months ago, on April 2, he was arrested and charged with another DUI. The case for that charge is currently pending in a state court.
This time, the man was picked up shortly before 2:00 a.m. on Friday morning. According to local law enforcement officers from the Douglas Police Department's Highway Enforcement of Aggressive Traffic unit, the legislator was observed to be swerving erratically from lane to lane. He also stopped 30 yards ahead of a traffic light – a traffic light arrest reports say was green at the time. When the officer approached the vehicle, the man was reportedly confused and agreed to take some field sobriety tests while refusing to do others. He eventually refused to submit to a breathalyzer test and was taken to the Coffee County Jail for booking.
In April of 2010, a little over three years ago, the legislator was arrested under of suspicion of DUI when he was seen swerving in his vehicle. During that arrest, he submitted to a breath test and recorded a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .105. The legal limit in Georgia is .08. According to court documents, the lawmaker eventually pleaded guilty to a reduced charge for reckless driving and the DUI and other lesser charges were dismissed. Under current Georgia law, however, the reduced charge can still be used as a priorable DUI offense in his two pending cases.
If convicted of a second or even third DUI, the Georgia legislator can face serious criminal repercussions, including mandatory terms of imprisonment in a county jail. He may also be subjected to hefty fines, probation, court ordered classes, and may be required to install an ignition interlock device on his vehicle once he has served the terms of his driver's license suspension. There is also the potential that the man may face negative employment repercussions for his habitual arrests. Interestingly enough, the legislator introduced two DUI related bills during this year's legislative session. The first was a bill that would allow defendants charged with alcohol-related offenses when leaving a bar or restaurant, including DUIs, to claim entrapment during criminal cases. The second would require bars and restaurants to make breath tests available to patrons. According to his lawyer, the legislator will be entering a treatment facility to address his alcohol use.
What this case helps to illustrate is that no one is exempt from DUI allegations. Regardless of an individual's position in the local community and no matter their reputation, local law enforcement officers offer little leniency when it comes to driving under the influence. As such, the local legislator is certainly in for a long and arduous criminal case process during which he may face severe penalties for his multiple DUI arrests.
When you come to the Law Offices of Howard J. Weintraub, an experienced Atlanta DUI lawyer is prepared to walk you step by step through all stages of your case, including criminal proceedings and driver's license hearings. Equipped with decades of combined experience, our legal team is also capable of handling even the most serious DUI allegations, including those involving multiple DUIs or DUIs that result in accidents or injuries. If you or your loved one is currently facing DUI charges, place your trust in a proven firm. Request a case evaluation or contact the Law Offices of Howard J. Weintraub to discuss your case.