Explaining Evidence in a Georgia DUI Case
Very often I am told, “they don't have any evidence against me.” This statement reveals a lack of understanding as to what constitutes evidence.
Direct evidence proves a fact without the need for reasoning or inference. Eyewitness testimony is an example of direct evidence. A chemical test, such as a breath test is also an example of direct evidence. If a person witnesses snow falling from the sky,that is direct evidence that it is snowing.
A fact can also be proved by inference and reasoning. This is called circumstantial evidence. With circumstantial evidence, reason and common sense must be applied to the circumstances proved. So, if a person wakes up in the morning and sees snow on the ground that is circumstantial evidence that it has snowed over-night. This would most certainly be sufficient evidence to prove (circumstantially) that it has snowed.
As anyone can see, if there was a need to prove that it had snowed over-night, it would not be necessary to have direct evidence of the snow falling from the sky. Circumstantial evidence would be more than sufficient.
In Georgia, Juries are instructed that they can consider circumstantial evidence in deciding the guilt or innocence of the accused, and that the comparative weight of circumstantial evidence versus any direct evidence is for the jury to decide. However, juries are also instructed that to convict on circumstantial evidence alone (implying that a jury can convict on only circumstantial evidence) the evidence must preclude any other possible explanation in the case.
Specifically, Georgia law states: “To warrant a conviction on circumstantial evidence, the proven facts must not only be consistent with the theory of guilt, but must exclude every other reasonable theory other than the guilt of the accused.
Can a Georgia DUI Be Proved By Only Circumstantial Evidence?
The short answer to the question is “yes.”
In all cases that do not involve chemical testing, the State uses circumstantial evidence against the accused. In order to try to prove their case, the State will show the manner of driving, the appearance of the accused, the odor of alcohol on a person's breath or person, and the ability to perform physical agility tests (also known as field sobriety tests). Even, the alleged refusal to submit to testing is circumstantial evidence of guilt.
In fact, Georgia juries are instructed that they can presume that a person refused testing because they were aware that they would not pass a chemical test. However, that is a rebuttable presumption. So, the ability to convict a person of DUI in Georgia on circumstantial evidence is actually codified in our law. Our law is designed to allow a conviction by circumstantial evidence alone.
Another Reason People Need Affective Representation and Advice by a Georgia DUI Lawyer:
A DUI Lawyer has many roles, including but not limited to evaluating the evidence in the case. Not all evidence is admissible in court. For example, the numeric result of the roadside Alco-Sensor is not admissible in Georgia courts.
So, in this example your Georgia DUI Lawyer is trained to make sure improper evidence is not presented in court or considered by a jury. It is just one example of how important it is to have someone that knows how to evaluate evidence for both admissibility in a person's case and for the efficacy of the evidence.
As for efficacy, the most important role played by your Atlanta DUI Lawyer is to evaluate the chance of conviction based on the evidence in the case. With our extensive experience, we are able to predict the chance of conviction and the probability of getting a case reduced to reckless driving. Nothing is more important in a person's case then being able to predict a possible outcome. However, no prediction is possible until the evidence in the case is reviewed. That is why we never offer predictions as to what will happen in a case until we have thoroughly reviewed it.
Such predictions, through the evaluation of evidence, help your Atlanta DUI Attorney steer his negotiations with the prosecutor or decide to have a trial by jury. Also, at trial understanding the complexities of the evidence helps your attorney make the best presentation to a jury. No attorney can be affective in his job without understanding how to evaluate and present evidence.
We Are Here to Help if You Are Charged With DUI In Georgia:
We are exclusively dedicated to DUI Defense and the related offenses to DUI. We are the top-rated and most reviewed DUI Defense firm in Georgia. Richard Lawson is a former DUI Prosecutor with more than 25 years experience defending people accused of DUI in Atlanta, Metro-Atlanta, and throughout North Georgia. His reviews can be found on Avvo. If charged with DUI, you only have 30 days to file an appeal of your automatic license suspension. Call now, your case will not defend itself.