Understanding Motions in Georgia DUI Cases
Georgia DUI lawyers understand that the best chance of winning your case starts with an understanding of Georgia DUI law and how filing and arguing motions can form the foundation of an affective DUI defense. Georgia DUI attorneys use motions to ask the Court to make favorable rulings for our clients. A favorable ruling in a motion can be the difference between being found guilty at trial and acquitted.
Most people realize the State holds many of the cards when they are arrested for DUI. The playing field starts unequal, and the fact that the government has the power to arrest and detain someone suspected of a crime is just one of the ways the State has an advantage. In addition, police and the prosecutor control the access to the evidence and the availability of their witnesses.
The State also has unlimited resources to use in your prosecution, and only a government could use the tax dollars and their citizens to prosecute them. Most significantly, the prosecutor has the absolute authority to choose who is charged with a crime and for what charge. This prosecutorial discretion is not reviewable by any court, and that is why Georgia DUI defense attorneys should specialize in how to fight a case in court with an effective motions practice.
Motions are the legal means in which the defense attempts to use the court system to level the playing field. The State has the power to arrest, while the Court has the power to compel the State to play by certain rules. These rules are covered by the statutory and constitutional protections in our laws. Our laws limit the power of the government from arresting people without probable cause, pulling people over without articulable suspicion, illegally detaining people, and from withholding exculpatory evidence (evidence that would tend to show a person was not guilty). A motion is a request to a court to compel the State's to follow the rules and not violate the rights of people accused of a crime.
A Georgia DUI lawyer from our office knows exactly when and how to use motions to protect your rights and shift the leverage in your case away from the State and to the Defense. Richard Lawson is a former Georgia DUI prosecutor who has seen how motions can help people accused of DUI for almost 20 years. He is the top-rated and most reviewed lawyer on Avvo. Call today and see what motion may be filed in your case and how they could help you achieve the best possible results.
A Review of Motions in Georgia DUI Cases:
What are Motions?
A motion is simply an attempt to get the Court to issue a ruling. For example, to exclude certain evidence from the trial of the case, or to require the State to produce evidence that the defense feels should have been turned over during discovery. One of the reasons it is so important to have an experienced DUI lawyer on your side is that in many instances they can use motions to exclude certain items of evidence in your DUI case, and the exclusion of these items of evidence can lead to the State dismissing or reducing your DUI charge.
When Various Motions are Filed:
Motions must be what the law calls “timely,” meaning that it is made at the right time. Certain motions must be made at (or prior to) arraignment. These include special demurrers, motions to quash, motions to suppress, a demand for copy of accusation/list of witnesses, Brady motions (for exculpatory evidence), and pleas in bar (for former jeopardy and statute of limitations). Other motions must be made prior to trial. These include speedy trial demands, motions in limine, motions for severance, motions for continuance, and discovery motions. A few motions may be made at any time. These include general demurrers and motions to dismiss. Our experienced Georgia DUI lawyers not only know what motions to use, just as importantly, they know when to use them.
A Few Types of Motions in Georgia DUI Cases:
Motions to Suppress: A motion to suppress seeks to exclude evidence based on the violation of constitutional rights. In DUI cases, a DUI defense attorney may make a motion to suppress all evidence against a defendant because the arresting officer lacked reasonable “articulable suspicion” to stop the vehicle. For example, in Jones v. State, the entire stop that lead to a DUI charge was deemed to be in violation of the Fourth Amendment because the officer blocked defendant into a parking lot, rendering the subsequent encounter non-consensual, and the arresting officer could not cite any criminal activity performed by the defendant prior to the stop. Id. at 291 Ga. 35, 727 S.E.2d 456 (2012).
Motions In Limine: A motion in limine usually is a “just prior to trial” motion that seeks to suppress or allow the admission of certain evidence. A ruling on a motion in limine is subject to modification by the Court during the course of trial. These motions are typically based on violations of rights that do not rise to a constitutional level. For example: the failure of the police to properly advise a DUI defendant of his implied consent rights. This type of motion is also used to ask a judge to make evidentiary rulings such as holding the prosecutor to certain legal standards for the admission of evidence at trial.
Brady Motions: A Brady motion seeks the disclosure of evidence favorable to the defense (either exculpatory of the crime or impeaching of any witness, on the issue of guilt or sentencing) that the State possesses. For Brady to apply, the evidence must be either exculpatory of the crime or impeaching of any witness, and the defense must not possess it or be able to obtain it through the exercise of reasonable diligence. For example, in Harridge v. State, a vehicular homicide case where the prosecution failed to divulge to the defendant that preliminary test results showed the presence of cocaine and marijuana in the decedent's urine. Id. at 243 Ga. App. 658, 660-661, 534 S.E.2d 113 (2000).
Motion to Dismiss (For Destruction of Evidence): A motion to dismiss for destruction of evidence seeks to have the case thrown out on the grounds that a defendant's due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment were violated by the destruction of potentially useful evidence. In order to prevail on a motion to dismiss for destruction of evidence, the defendant must show bad faith on the government's part. For example, in State v. Blackwell, the police destroyed a defendant's urine sample despite the fact that one of two prior tests had revealed no drugs in his system. He had requested permission to perform an independent test, the court had granted his request, and an Order to preserve the sample was filed with the court and served on the District Attorney, but the State crime lab destroyed the sample anyway two months later. Id. at 245 Ga. App. 135, 537 S.E.2d 457 (2000).
Call Experienced Georgia DUI Defense Attorneys Today for Immediate Help:
The use of motions in Georgia DUI defense can be the most affective way of getting a case reduced to reckless driving or possibly even dismissed. It is why DUI defense is not something that can be done without a Georgia DUI attorney by your side.
Our attorneys exclusively practice DUI defense in Georgia. Call now to speak to an experienced attorney who knows how to handle motions in serious cases. We are here to help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week because your situation deserves immediate attention.