A woman was arrested after leading Georgia law enforcement on a low-speed chase on GA 400 in Alpharetta and Roswell. A call came into 9-1-1 from a concerned resident, stating that a driver "was swerving all over the road on Old Milton Parkway."
The woman, Kimberly Favors of Cumming, Georgia, was driving a white four-door Honda Accord. As officers first approached her vehicle from behind, an officer observed her swerving in and out of the marked lanes. The officer attempted to make a traffic stop. Favors instead continued along the road at a "slow speed" according to officers. Traveling between 40 and 45 mph, she swerved into the emergency lane and the second right lane.
Officers were finally able to box her in while on the GA 400 just south of Holcomb Bridge Road inside the city limits of Roswell, Georgia. Once she was stopped, three officers moved quickly on her vehicle and ordered her to exit. She refused to open her door and exit her vehicle, so another officer opened her passenger door to get her out.
Favors was taken to WellStar North Fulton Hospital for a medical evaluation. Afterward, she was taken to the Alpharetta Jail. As a result of her actions, she was charged with DUI less safe, failure to maintain lane, and failure to yield to an emergency vehicle.
Combination of Charges
In Georgia DUI cases, it is common for the prosecutor to charge a driver with multiple criminal offenses for the same actions. One reason prosecutors do this is to "stack" your charges, making you susceptible to longer jail terms, higher fines, and more restrictions on your license.
In some cases, stacked charges like this can result in stacked penalties if you are convicted. However, in many cases, the conduct for the different charges are too similar to face multiple punishments.
The Doctrine of Merger
The doctrine of merger applies in criminal cases. It occurs when a person is charged with multiple crimes for a single act. Under certain circumstances, when the conduct of the multiple crimes is so similar, it may be improper for a Georgia court to sentence you separately for the crimes. Instead, in these circumstances you can be charged only with one of the crimes, and the rest are "merged" into the other.
Cases where merger may apply:
- Lesser included Offenses: A "lesser included offense" is a crime which is the less culpable version of another, e.g., theft is a lesser included offense of robbery. If a person is convicted of multiple crimes, and one is a lesser included offense of the other, it will likely be merged into the higher crime.
- Attempted Crimes: If you are convicted of both an offense and the attempt to commit that same offense, your attempt conviction will merge into the completed crime.
- Elements of the Crime: When the elements of two separate crimes are the same or are nearly identical, the two crimes may merge, as it would be inappropriate to be charged with two crimes that are different in name only.
Consult a DUI Attorney in Georgia
If you have been arrested for DUI, you need to fight for your rights at every step of your case. Multiple charges do not need to result in multiple punishments. An experienced Georgia DUI attorney knows the law of merger and how to defend your case. Contact us today for a free consultation.