Many people fall victim to the misconception that a positive Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) “breath test” reading means an automatic DUI conviction. In reality this is not the case. There are many ways to challenge DUI case and many questions the prosecutor has to answer to get a conviction. When I was a prosecutor here in Fulton County, we knew that even with a BAC reading that was over the limit, we still had a case that needed to be proved. Here are some of the challenges to test results that we use when defending DUI cases at The Law Offices of Douglas B. Chanco.
Blood Test Challenges:
- Was the testing equipment accurately calibrated and maintained?
- Was the specimen handled according to proper procedures?
- Was the documentation completed properly?
- Is there a clear chain of custody for the specimen?
- Was the test preformed properly?
- Were the calculations done right?
Breath Test Challenges:
- Was the testing equipment accurately calibrated and maintained?
- Were the proper procedures followed?
- Did the officer adhere to the observation period?
- Are there any health factors which could have artificially inflated the test result?
Field Sobriety Test Challenges:
- Were the proper instructions given for the tests?
- Did the driver actually show signs of impairment?
- Did the officer have reasonable suspicion to make the stop?
- Were the constitutional rights of the driver maintained?
- Were the proper procedures followed?
- Did the driver exhibit signs of impairment?
These are some of the questions which need to be asked when defending a DUI. Of course it takes a highly trained and experienced attorney to make these challenges. This is why it is in your best interests to consult with a qualified attorney early on in your case, regardless of how bad the details look.
If you need a DUI lawyer in the Atlanta area, please call 1-855-9-ATL-DU for a free case consultation.
If a police officer suspects you of drunk driving, they will likely ask you to perform the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests. The problem is that these are not tasks that we do on a daily or even yearly basis. For example, they will ask you to stand on one leg for 30 seconds without swaying. That’s not natural. We never stand on one leg. We’re not flamingos!
Nonetheless, the officer will ask you to stand on one leg despite the fact that not being able to stand on one leg is not specifically related to alcohol impairment. There plenty of people who because of old age, illness, weight, injuries, tiredness or plain clumsiness will not be able to stand on one leg- ever. I know plenty of heavy-set police officers who themselves can’t stand on one leg.
The sad fact is that if a police officer- in their personal opinion, suspects you of being drunk and you happen to do poorly on these acrobatics then you are getting arrested and that is no laughing matter.
The first installments of the new Intoxilyzer 9000 have gone into effect around Georgia. The plan is to phase out the older Intoxilyzer 5000EN.
While the state and the manufacturer tout the improvements and technology in the new machine, the reality is breath testing itself is faulty. It is not specific only to alcohol and can be “set off” by many other substances including mouthwash, paint thinner etc. This can create a high number of false positives.
Many times the only to sort things out is to challenge the breath tests in a court of law because by default, judges and jurors believe that the tests are sound and reliable. To do this you will need an attorney who specializes in DUI cases and has attended specialized testing focusing on breath testing.
If you have been charged with a DUI, please call 1-855-9-ATL-DUI for a free case consultation.
If you are going out this weekend beware of DUI checkpoints.
It is common for police to setup checkpoints on major roadways in and around Atlanta during holidays. With many Halloween parties planned for the weekend, the police will be out in full force.
Before you go out, make sure to read: Georgia Drivers, Know Your Rights! Knowing your rights and making the right moves can decrease the chances of you being falsely arrested.
If you are arrested call 1-855-9-ATL-DUI! Under Georgia DUI laws, you will face jail time and a year-long license suspension even for a first offense. This is why it is important for you to contact a qualified Atlanta DUI attorney immediately.
Many people assume if they blow over .08% they are doomed to a DUI conviction. This is not true. Contrary to what many people believe or have been told, the breath machine is not absolutely accurate. In fact, all over the country, there are reports of faulty DUI breath machines producing inaccurate readings. A trained and experienced DUI lawyer can challenge breath test evidence and many times can be successful in exposing the weaknesses in it and getting the evidence thrown out.
The breath machine currently in use in Georgia is the Intoxilyzer 5000. This machine is so faulty, that a county judge in Pennsylvania, recently ruled that the results from this machine are unreliable. Dauphin County Pennsylvania judge Judge Lawrence F Clark, Jr. writes in his opinion in Commonwealth v Schildt, “As a result of the evidence produced at the hearing, it is now extremely questionable as to whether or not any DUI prosecution which utilizes a reading from an Intoxilyzer 5000EN breath testing device could presently withstand scrutiny based upon the startling testimony of the commonwealth’s own witness, Mr. Faulkner, at the hearing.
Mr. Schildt was defended by Attorney Justin McShane of Harrisburg who is one of the finest lawyers in the country. Not only did Attorney McShane win the case for his client, he was able to bring a substantial change to the way DUI is handled in Pennsylvania.
Mr. Schildt made the smart choice and selected a lawyer who had the training and knowledge to challenge the evidence against him and it made a big difference in the end.
This is why you should take your time and choose a DUI attorney who will handle your case with care and attentiveness. Preparation and details win cases.
At The Law Offices of Douglas B. Chanco, your case will never be handed to a junior attorney. I will personally handle every aspect of your case and use my knowledge and experience to protect your rights. For a free case consultation please call 1-855-9-ATL-DUI.
The Gerry Spence Trial Lawyers College is a unique experience and I am very thankful to have attended it. I certainly learned a lot from it.
One of the hallmarks of the College are the mock sessions. As students we learned how to “crawl into the hides of our clients,” to feel and experience their pain and to understand and care for them. In the course of our training, we “became” the judge, the juror, the client and the witness. By understanding these roles and ourselves better, the we gained a deeper understanding of other people.
We learned the power of credibility and how we can build more credibility in our arguments. We learned through repeated practice in the makeshift courtrooms at Spence’s secluded, austere ranch – how to select and connect with a jury, how to make an effective opening statement, how to deliver a winning final argument and empower a jury to give justice to our clients. We have learned to trust ourselves, to trust each other, and to trust juries.
By the time the several week session is over, we mastered more of the essential ingredients of trial lawyering than most lawyers learn in a lifetime. We also discussed who we are and what assets we can best bring to a courtroom. The trial lawyers who attend the Trial Lawyers College learn a new way to fight for justice and to help people realize that in America the law can still deliver justice to those accused of criminal wrongdoing. Most “students” at the College, those chosen from the 100s of applications received each year, are already accomplished trial lawyers. Many lawyers who attend the more than three week program are already some of the best trial lawyers in the country.This training takes those who have worked hard to be good and lets them learn how to become even better.
I am truly honored to have attended this prestigious program and am ready to put my knowledge and enthusiasm to work for my clients- to protect their rights and uphold justice.
Recently, I had the opportunity to attend the Trial Lawyers College hosted by prominent trial attorney Gerry Spence. Gerry is considered one of the most successful trial attorneys in America and conceived and formed the not-for profit Trial Lawyers College in 1994. His primary purpose was to share his experience and methods for success developed in his fifty plus years of practice with lawyers dedicated to obtaining justice for the poor, the injured, the forgotten, the defenseless and the damned and to train trial lawyers be better advocates for people. Gerry has an application process to be considered for admission to this college. He only accepts lawyers who dedicate their practice to representing people. No lawyers who defend insurance companies, government prosecuting agencies, or who represent large corporate business interests are permitted to attend.
The Trial Lawyers College trains a new breed of lawyer – a lawyer who is a person first, who passionately fights for and believes in justice and who gets to know and understand and care deeply about their clients. Fifty lawyers are selected from hundreds of applications NATIONWIDE each year to attend the “not for profit” Trial Lawyers College. Gerry’s mission statement is simple. He wants to ensure that those who need hope most (the people who are arrested or hurt and then thrust into a courtroom against a large interest advocate with deep financial backing) receive the skilled advocate who brings forth the justice the law demands they receive.
Over the next few blog posts, I will share some of my experiences at the Trial College. I am excited about what I have learned and am working hard to put my skills to work for all of my clients.
Beginning this October, the State of Georgia will begin transitioning from its current statewide breath testing machine, the Intoxilyzer 5000, to the manufacturer’s new model, the Intoxilyzer 9000.
The manufacturer of the Intoxilyzer 9000 CMI, Inc and the Department of Public Safety are touting the new device as more advanced and more accurate. However, the very way that these devices are designed to work leave them error prone and faulty. The result is a readout based on mathematical averages and assumptions which is then used in court as evidence in an attempt to convict people of the offense of DUI.
As a member of the National College for DUI Defense, I have attended numerous training sessions which dealt with the faulty technology in these breath testing devices. I will also be attending additional training dealing specifically with the Intoxilyzer 9000 to better understand the device and use that knowledge for my clients.
If you have been charged with a DUI using a breath testing device, please call 1-855-9-ATL-DUI for a free consultation.
You can find DUI lawyers everywhere. In a metropolis like Atlanta, you can find thousands of them.
So what do you do if you are charged with a DUI? Who do you turn to?
If you are serious about protecting your rights and want a rigorous defense of your case then you need an attorney with experience. Experience is not measured by the number of years someone has been practicing, it is measured by how much time they have really spent fighting in the courtroom.
DUI is a very serious criminal charge that carries penalties that can impact your future. This is why you need an attorney who fully understands your particular situation and how these charges can effect you specifically. After determining how the charges can impact you, an experienced DUI lawyer will chart out a plan of action designed to protect your rights.
Another reason experience counts is because most of the evidence in a DUI case is scientific. This is why DUI training is important so that a lawyer is equipped with the knowledge needed to challenge the evidence. If your attorney can find faults in the evidence, this can lead to a better deal or even result in the charges being dropped.
At the Law Offices of Douglas B. Chanco we put a premium on experience and use that to our advantages. I am a member of the National College for DUI Defense and regularly attend their intensive training seminars. I also have real courtroom experience first as a Fulton County prosecutor and as a DUI defense attorney. This give me unique perspective from both sides of the law.
Experience counts. If you want experience on your side, call 1-855-9-ATL-DUI for a free consultation.
On July 1, a number of new laws went into effect. Among them is a change to the DUI penalties for repeat offenders.
Repeat offenders who were previously required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) for eight months will now have to use it for twelve months. An IID does not allow the car to be started until two breath samples are provided and detected not to have alcohol.
One thing that should be noted is that the driver is responsible for the installation and maintenance of these devices which is very costly.
If you are charged with a DUI in the Greater Atlanta area, you can call 1-855-9-ATL-DUI for more information. Laws and penalties change often and that is why it is best to consult with a trained attorney who is experienced in DUI cases.