DUI Arrests in Atlanta by the Georgia State Patrol or the Atlanta Police Department

Posted by Richard Lawson | Feb 08, 2013 | 0 Comments

Atlanta DUI Lawyer - Atlanta DUI Attorney

If your DUI case is going to be heard in the City of Atlanta Municipal Court, you may have been arrested by either a Georgia Department of Public Safety Officer (Georgia State Patrol) or an Atlanta Police Officer.  The Georgia Department of Public Safety has organized a team called the Nighthawks specially trained to patrol and investigate possible DUI drivers in Atlanta.  The Atlanta Police Department utilizes a DUI task force that specializes in these investigations. While very similar, there are also many differences between the two agencies in how DUI arrests are handled and how their cases proceed.  Your Atlanta DUI Lawyer will know how to deal with both the State Patrol and the Atlanta Police Department.

Almost every Nighthawks or DUI task force officer will be trained by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration to administer and score standardized field sobriety evaluations.  During the standardized field sobriety tests, the officer will be evaluating your performance by looking for certain clues. These clues, if observed, may provide the officer with probable cause to arrest you for DUI. The Atlanta Police and the Georgia State Patrol use Field sobriety testing. to determine if there is probable cause to arrest someone for DUI in Atlanta GA.

Many State Troopers are now being trained as Drug Recognition Experts as well.  This specialized training is important if the driver is suspected of being under the influence of substances other than alcohol. It is my position that DRE is completely designed to find whatever the arresting officer already believes insofar as impairment is concerned.  As a result, drug recognition is a make believe “science” that should not be believed by anyone. As an Atlanta DUI Attorney, I know how to attack the “science” of Drug recognition experts.

In order to properly defend your case, your DUI Attorney in Atlanta will need access to records of the arrest from the arresting agency. Almost of the Nighthawk vehicles are equipped with video equipment to record the driving that led to the stop, the State Trooper's interaction with the driver, and any tests that were performed in the field.  The trooper is also required to write up an incident report for each arrest.  In order to get access to these records, your attorney will need approval from the court. Your DUI Lawyer in Atlanta will file for discovery and for open records to get the information needed to defend your DUI case in Atlanta.

Atlanta PD's DUI task force officers do not always record their arrests on video.  And the videos can be very difficult to obtain when they are available, even when requested by the court directly.  The incident reports can be obtained at APDs Central Records Unit located on Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway.  Only the DUI Task Force in Atlanta has video reordering in their vehicles.  As a result, there will only be video in a small percentage of DUI arrests in Atlanta.

Once you are placed into custody, the arresting officer is required to read you an Implied Consent Notice to request a chemical test to determine if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  If you refuse to submit to this testing, the officer may still be able to get a warrant to obtain a forced blood draw.  In Atlanta, this tactic is most often utilized by State Troopers and has not yet been successfully challenged. It has become commonplace for the Georgia State Patrol to do a forced blood draw.  The worst part of forced blood draws is that you suffer the consequences of a refusal while still having a test used against you.

State Troopers almost always submit sworn reports of DUI arrests to the Georgia Department of Public Safety which call for a license suspension to be imposed 45 days after arrest.  You only have 30 days to appeal the suspension and request a hearing.  At this hearing, State Troopers are represented by legal counsel just as you are.  In contrast, the Atlanta police officers, like most agencies, are not represented by counsel and have more authority to resolve their own cases.  That means the Atlanta PD attends the ALS hearing without counsel.

Whether you were arrested by a State Trooper or APD officer, your Atlanta DUI attorney will need to investigate the circumstances of your arrest and obtain records and training histories to properly defend your DUI case.  At our office, all cases are investigated for potential defenses.  Our Atlanta DUI Attorneys are here 24/7 to listen to you and come to your defense.  Our Atlanta DUI Lawyers will help you when you need it most.  Call now to speak to an Atlanta DUI Lawyer now.

About the Author

Richard Lawson

Managing Partner at Lawson & Berry:


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Georgia DUI Defense Attorneys

At the Law Office of Richard S. Lawson, we have offices conveniently located throughout metro Atlanta and throughout Georgia. If we do not have a convenient office, we will come to you. We practice throughout Metro Atlanta and North Georgia. If your case is in an area we do not serve, we will find you an attorney in your area free of charge. Our office is part of a State-wide network of Georgia DUI Lawyers. Contact us 24/7 for immediate legal help. Our attorneys are standing by. Your DUI Case will not defend itself. Your Best Georgia DUI Defense Begins Here!