As reported over the past month, a longtime Atlanta City Councilwoman was recently arrested and charged with driving under the influence (DUI) after refusing to take a chemical test, allegations to which she pleaded "not guilty." The councilwoman, who has been serving on the Atlanta City Council since 1993, told reporters from WSB-TV that she plans to remain in her position despite the arrest and allegations. She also stated that she plans to run for re-election and that she will "continue to work hard for the citizens."
According to reports from the Atlanta Police, the councilwoman was arrested in early May after she ran a red light and was seen driving on the wrong side of the road. She admittedly told officers that she had been drinking, but later refused to take a chemical test. Media backlash was strong, and they had enough ammo to latch onto. As stated in police reports, the councilwoman appeared to be intoxicated, and she had difficulty operating the door of her vehicle.
She was also reported to have been turning the vehicle on and off while attempting to exit her car. Naturally, media outlets throughout the region latched on to the story, making it well known that the longstanding councilmember had been arrested, as well as possibly losing sight of their objectivity in efforts to shun her behavior. Despite such backlash, the councilwoman and her attorney remain intent on denying all allegations and the councilwoman has no plans to step down from her post.
Collateral Consequences of DUI Allegations & Convictions
The councilwoman's story serves to highlight the fact that DUI allegations and convictions can create numerous collateral consequences beyond court-mandated punishment alone. Criminal penalties for a DUI are indeed stiff, consisting of possible terms of imprisonment, large fines, court-ordered education classes, and various ongoing costs. Additionally, license suspensions have their own way of severely inhibiting the personal, professional, and financial well-being of convicted individuals. While the criminal repercussions are well-known, few may realize that, just as in this situation, even being accused of a crime can be enough to tarnish one's reputation, and to threaten their professional career.
It's true that while the American judicial system upholds the standard to treat all individuals accused of a crime as innocent until proven guilty, societal judgment and simple human nature make others quick to come to their own opinions and decisions before one is reached by the court. For all intents and purposes, the councilwoman may very well be innocent, but coverage of this story in the media and conversations throughout various water holes and neighborhoods in the Atlanta community may reflect an entirely different viewpoint – and one not so savory.
Protect Your Reputation & Future by Working with a Seasoned Atlanta DUI Lawyer
With such devastating consequences at stake, the threat of losing one's reputation, professional career, and future financial security can be the last straw for many. Public opinions about DUIs are strong, and the fact remains that a DUI is a criminal offense, and one that will be seen by potential employers, schools, landlords, and others who conduct background checks. Many may understand the tangible, measurable penalties they face, by few may realize that DUI convictions can subject them to numerous and profound collateral consequences.
If you or your loved one is currently facing DUI allegations, do not be led to believe that convictions for this criminal offense, especially when aggravating circumstances are present, are not without their consequences. In many ways, DUI convictions can significantly impact one's personal, professional, and financial well-being, and the risks are far too serious to not find the proper, experienced representation you need to protect your future. Learn more about the charges and penalties you face, and the ways in which a proven Atlanta DUI attorney can help, by contacting the Law Offices of Howard J. Weintraub today.