Traffic Stops in Georgia

Document Sample
Traffic Stops in Georgia Powered By Docstoc
					Traffic Stops in Georgia
Pull over at the first safe            Stay calm & courteous                 mitting guilt, inform the officer
place – Immediately                    Smile. Be friendly to the officer,    that you try to be a courteous
If you see police lights in your       they are only doing their job.        and law-abiding driver and that
mirror, pull over as soon as pos-      They are much more likely to          you would appreciate a warning
sible in a safe, well-lit place that   issue a ticket(s) if you are being    instead of a ticket.
won’t put you, or the officer at       rude or belligerent.
risk. Turn off your engine and
                                                                             What do I do if
radio, and have your passengers        DO NOT admit guilt                    I’m issued a ticket?
                                       Many police cars have video cam-      Take a few minutes to write
keep quiet.
                                       eras and audio recorders. What        down exactly what happened.
While the officer reviews your in-     you say or do may be recorded,        Record the date, time, place,
formation in his car, quickly review   and can be used in court. For         weather, traffic conditions, offi-
this Guide (without fumbling or        instance, if the officer asks, “Do    cer’s name, badge number and
digging to find it) to reduce your     you know why I stopped you?”          note any inconsistencies in the
chances of getting a ticket.           your reply should be “I’m not         officer’s reason for stopping you.
                                       sure why, officer.”                   Don’t worry about signing the
As the officer                                                               ticket; it is not an admission of guilt.
approaches your car –                  DO NOT make excuses                   Refusing to sign the ticket
Keep your hands on the wheel           Making excuses will not get you
Make the officer comfortable                                                 can become grounds for
                                       out of a ticket and can be taken
about approaching your car. Place      as an admission of guilt. The offi-   the officer to arrest you.
your keys on the dash and keep         cer has probably heard it all any-    DISCLAIMER: All information contained
your hands relaxed and on the          way. In particular, do not make       herein is provided for the purpose of
wheel. Roll down your window           up a story to explain your alleged    providing basic information only and
and turn on your dome light dur-       violation as it can come back to      should not be construed as formal
ing dark or dimly-lit conditions.      haunt you in court.                   legal advice. The authors disclaim any
If you don’t have your insurance                                             and all liability resulting from reliance
or license ready, do not get it        Ask for a warning                     upon such information. You are strongly
                                       If the officer has not begun          encouraged to seek professional legal
until asked by the officer. Any                                              advice before relying upon any of the
movement may be interpreted as         writing a ticket, yet states that
                                                                             information contained herein. Legal
searching for a weapon or hiding       you have violated the traffic law,    advice should be sought directly from a
contraband.                            ask for a warning. Without ad-        properly retained lawyer or attorney.

   TICKETS? Call 404-373-8000
Georgia DUI Traffic Stops & Checkpoints
What if I’m asked                         What if I’m asked                         best choice may be to refuse all
about drinking?                           to take a test?                           testing. If you are underage or
You will have to make a judgment          There are two types of tests you          were involved in an accident with
call about how to answer. First of        could be asked to take. Field Sobri-      an injury, your best course of ac-
all, donít lie. Lying leads to com-       ety Tests (FSTs) cover a variety of       tion may be to refuse all testing.
plications if the officer decides         physical tests to determine sobriety.
to charge you with DUI or DWI,
                                                                                    I tested over the legal limit.
                                          In Georgia, there is no legal conse-
remember that everything you do           quence for refusing FSTs (except
                                                                                    Does that mean I am guilty?
or say is probably being recorded.        that the prosecutor will later argue      NO! Sobriety tests are merely
You may wish to answer that               that you refused because you were         evidence against you and not con-
your attorney has instructed              under the influence of alcohol).          clusive proof that you violated the
you not to answer questions like          Since these tests are generally used      law. There are many, many factors
that without him or her present.          to gather evidence and many factors       to consider when planning you de-
A. If you have not been drinking, tell    can influence your performance,           fense, including the conduct of the
the officer you have not been drinking.   politely refusing to take FSTs can        police officers, the accuracy of the
                                          be the right decision in most cases.      test and how it was administered
B. If you have engaged in very light      If you choose to refuse these tests,      as well as the timing of the test.
drinking and believe you are not un-      ask the officer if you are free to
der the influence of alcohol, tell the    leave or if you are under arrest. If he   ALWAYS request an inde-
officer you have had something to         says you are under arrest, tell him       pendent test of your sample.
drink but are not under the influence     you wish to speak to your lawyer          In Georgia, you have a right to
of alcohol, because being honest          before any further proceedings.           an independent test of your
may help you later in your defense.           Refusing to take breath tests, on     own choosing. The officer must
                                          the other hand, typically result in se-   accommodate your request by driving
C. If you are under the influence of
                                          vere consequences. In Georgia, your       you to the nearest medical testing
alcohol, politely inform the officer
                                                                                    facility (but you are responsible for
that your attorney has instructed you     driver’s license will be automatically
                                                                                    the expense of this test). Always
to never answer an officer’s ques-        revoked for a year and your refusal
                                                                                    request your own test, preferably
tions without him or her present.         to submit to the breath test can be       of your blood or urine, so that the
                                          admitted as evidence against you.         sample can be preserved as evidence
What if I’m asked to get                      If you believe you are sober and
out of my vehicle?                                                                  (as opposed to a breath test, which
                                          want to keep your license, submit to      cannot be preserved).
In Georgia, an officer has the right      the breath test, and if given a choice,
                                                                                    DISCLAIMER: All information contained herein is provided
to order you and any passengers out       choose the more accurate blood            for the purpose of providing basic information only and
of the vehicle. Failing to comply may     test (less chance of a false positive).   should not be construed as formal legal advice. The authors
give the officer grounds to arrest you.       If you believe you are not sober      disclaim any and all liability resulting from reliance upon
                                                                                    such information. You are strongly encouraged to seek
Be polite, comply with the officerís      and are willing to sacrifice your         professional legal advice before relying upon any of the in-
requests and smile for the camera.        license to improve your case, the         formation contained herein. Legal advice should be sought
                                                                                    directly from a properly retained lawyer or attorney.

   TICKETS? Call 404-373-8000
Searches and Arrests in Georgia
What if the officer asks to                   What do I do if I’m arrested?              you of your rights. The best course
search my vehicle?                            Remain cooperative and polite with         of action is to not answer any police
                                              the officer(s). Do not resist, struggle    questions or engage in communication
Do not consent to anyone searching your                                                  about your arrest with anyone until
vehicle! Do not hand the officer your         or argue with the officers – keeping
                                                                                         you have spoken with your attorney.
keys or unlock or open doors for the          in mind that the entire encounter          During the process of being arrested,
officer, as this will imply permission.       is probably being video taped.             processed and jailed there are eyes and
Generally speaking, an officer requests       Refuse to answer any questions the         ears everywhere.
permission to search your vehicle as he       officer(s) have and do not engage in
looks for weapons, illegal drugs or evi-      ‘polite conversation’ with them at         What do I do now?
dence of drinking, all things that could      anytime. Simply and politely state         Find yourself a good attorney to
put you in jail if they are found. Politely                                              handle your DUI. There is simply too
state that your attorney has advised you
                                              that you have been advised by your
                                              attorney not to speak with them            much at risk to handle the situation
not to consent to police searches.                                                       yourself. Call 404-373-8000 and we
                                              without your attorney present.
                                              Do not speak to ANYONE about               will arrange for you to have a FREE
What if the officer threatens                                                            consultation with one of our experi-
to call for a warrant or drug                 your case (police, friends, relatives,
                                                                                         enced DUI attorney’s. On our website
sniffing dogs?                                cell mates or staff) until you have we also
                                              met with your attorney (you never          have additional information to help you
Again, refuse to consent to the search.
You will be no better off by consent-
                                              know who is listening). Contact an         understand the charges against you, the
ing to the search, and many times             attorney ASAP, either directly or          potential outcomes and how you can
officers use these types of threats to        through a close friend or relative.        fight the charges and protect your rights.
convince you to consent.                      Request a hearing to determine bail
                                                                                         Do not wait! Georgia will auto-
                                              at the earliest possible time.
What if the officer wants to                                                             matically revoke your license unless
search my person?                             What happens to my vehicle?                you take steps to protect it—AND
Do not consent to police searching your       Unless the police allow a passenger to     THIS MUST BE DONE WITHIN 10
person! Do not open your jacket or            take possession of your vehicle, it will   DAYS OF YOUR ARREST. If your
pull out your pockets as these action         be searched, towed and impounded.          license has been suspended, we may
may imply you have given consent to           During a legitimate arrest, the police     be able to help you get a provisional
                                              are allowed to search your person          license that will allow you to work
be searched. Georgia allows allow offi-
                                              and your vehicle, whether you have         and go to school. Troy Hendrick &
cers to pat an individual down (frisk) to     consented or not.
make sure no weapons are present (for                                                    Associates is here to help you stay
the safety of the officer). ‘Reasonable,      What if I’m not read my                    on the road, keep your record clean
                                                                                         and protect your rights.
articulable suspicion’ is the standard for    (Miranda) rights?
officers justifying a pat down and can        Charges against you will not be dis-       DISCLAIMER: All information contained herein is provided
                                                                                         for the purpose of providing basic information only and
mean just about anything. Following the       missed because you were not read           should not be construed as formal legal advice. The authors
Guidelines for a traffic stop is the best     your rights. In some cases a judge         disclaim any and all liability resulting from reliance upon
way to avoid this type of search and          (not the police or prosecutor) will        such information. You are strongly encouraged to seek
                                                                                         professional legal advice before relying upon any of the in-
gives you the best chance to challenge        refuse to admit evidence against you       formation contained herein. Legal advice should be sought
them in court.                                that was obtained without notifying        directly from a properly retained lawyer or attorney.

   TICKETS? Call 404-373-8000
Tips to avoid getting pulled over in Georgia
Avoid behaviors                            Keep your vehicle in                     drivers. Also, special days like na-
associated with                            top operating condition                  tional holidays, sporting events
intoxicated drivers                                                                 and concerts can give officers a
                                           Any problems with your vehicle,
The National Highway Traffic Ad-                                                    reason to pull over more drivers.
                                           from a burned out bulb to a bro-
ministration has identified a list of                                               Do not stand out
                                           ken trunk latch, can give an officer
symptoms commonly used by law              a perfectly legal reason to pull you     from the pack
enforcement to spot intoxicated            over. Similarly, vehicle modifications   If you are driving on any highway, do
drivers. They include:                     like window tint, custom lighting        not drive significantly faster than
• Turning with a wide radius               and mufflers that do not meet local      the speed of traffic. Troopers look
• Straddling center of lane marker         vehicle codes give officers reason to    for vehicles that stand out from
• Weaving                                  pull you over.                           others. In addition, do not weave in
                                                                                    and out of traffic, as this behavior
• “Appearing to be drunk”
• Almost striking object or vehicle        Watch for sudden                         attracts attention from troopers
                                           speed limit changes                      as well.
• Swerving
• Driving on other than                    Many local highways and city streets     DISCLAIMER: All information contained
  designated highway                       have speed limit changes that pro-       herein is provided for the purpose of
• Tires on center or lane marker           vide natural opportunities for police    providing basic information only and
                                           officers to set up speed traps. As       should not be construed as formal
• Speed more than 10 mph
                                                                                    legal advice. The authors disclaim any
  below limit                              soon as you pass a sign noting a new     and all liability resulting from reliance
• Stopping without cause in traffic lane   speed limit, you are required to be      upon such information. You are strongly
• Following too closely                    at that speed, not just slowing to       encouraged to seek professional legal
• Signaling inconsistent                   that speed.                              advice before relying upon any of the
  with driving actions                                                              information contained herein. Legal
                                                                                    advice should be sought directly from a
• Drifting                                 Be Conscious Of                          properly retained lawyer or attorney.
• Braking erratically                      “High Ticket” Hours
• Driving into opposing or                 There are certain times of the day,
  crossing traffic                         week and year when officers are
• Headlights off                           even more likely to pull you over.
• Slow response to traffic signals         The closing time for local bars gives
• Stopping inappropriately                 police an opportunity to search for
  (other than in lane)                     drunk drivers. Similarly, weekend
• Turning abruptly or illegally            nights like Friday and Saturday are
• Accelerating or decelerating rapidly     popular nights to pull over drunk

   TICKETS? Call 404-373-8000