Four DUIs - One Stop

Posted by Richard Lawson | Oct 11, 2013 | 0 Comments


According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution as reported on their website,  Saturday morning at around 11:00 am in Cherokee County on Highway 9, Victoria Lynn Tucker was stopped by a Milton police officer for driving erratically. Upon making contact with her, the officer noticed she had trouble opening her eyes and had slurred speech.  According to the officer, "I could not understand anything that the driver was saying to me."

Even though the officer stated that he had trouble understanding what she was saying, he did note in his report that she stated that she was fine.  The officer also noted that she smelled of alcohol and stumbled when she got out of the car.

Unfortunately, he also noticed something else...three children in the back of her SUV.  Only one of the young passengers belonged to Tucker, and all three children were ultimately released to other parents.

When Tucker was asked to exit the vehicle, she allegedly stumbled and had trouble standing.

She was arrested, and police searched her vehicle, finding an open bottle of vodka (predictably Smirnoff), a brown paper bag and a receipt from Beverage Depot, dated October 5 and time stamped 10:10 am, approximately one hour prior to the stop.

Tucker faces charges for Child Endangerment and FOUR COUNTS OF for her own actions and one count of DUI for each child in the vehicle.

In one incident Victoria Lynn Tucker faces conviction for a felony DUI in Georgia, and the potential of five years in prison, a ten to twenty year suspension of her driver's license, 480 hours of community services, thousands of dollars in fines and the stigma of having a felony conviction on her record for the rest of her life, making it difficult, if not impossible for her to obtain gainful employment.

But let's look at this case from the perspective of an experienced Cherokee County DUI lawyer.

We begin with the stop.  Ms. Tucker was allegedly stopped for 'driving erratically.' This is basically the same as Failure to Maintain Lane, discussed on our site. Depending on the officer's exact testimony, this may be a case where the officer had no reasonable suspicion to make that stop.  Driving over a lane divider can be called 'erratic' by a police officer.  Courts and judges in Georgia aren't so convinced. Merely driving over a lane divider, without other traffic violations, especially where other traffic is not affected generally does not rise to the level of suspect behavior required by the reasonable suspicion standard.

If an evidentiary hearing regarding the reasonableness of the stop was conducted and the judge agreed that she was stopped unreasonably, the case would come to an end with her charges being dismissed.

But let's continue with our analysis.  Once the officer stopped the vehicle, he noted that he 'couldn't understand anything she was saying.'

And yet, presumably he got all of the required information from her, noted that she'd said she "was fine," and did not make note mention of his inability to conduct a proper DUI investigation due to the incoherence of Ms. Tucker.  These facts shed serious shadow on his credibility as a witness.  It is entirely possible that his determination to complete a DUI arrest with children in the back seat and score one for his arrest record clouded his interpretation and re-counting of the facts.

The other fact that needs to be addressed (and remember, this is just an overview of the facts as presented in news articles), is that her stop occurred only about one hour after she purchased the alcohol!  There could not have been much alcohol absorbed into her system in the hour between her purchase and her stop.  It's entirely possible that if the officer had given her a breath or blood test immediately after the stop, that she wouldn't have been impaired at all!

What this case exemplifies is the that no set of facts, no officer testimony, no news article, should be simply accepted for whatever the officer or reporter wishes to convey.  A deeper look and an experienced analysis, done by an expert Georgia DUI Attorney, can take what seems to be an iron-clad case, and show it for what it truly is: a case filled with reasonable doubt.

There is help if you have been arrested for DUI in Cherokee County:

If you have been arrested for a DUI in Cherokee County, or anywhere throughout the Atlanta or Northern Georgia area, contact the Law Offices of Richard S. Lawson immediately.  We offer a free consultation and can analyze the facts of your case and help you receive the best possible outcome.  For more Georgia DUI Information, continue to check back on our site for weekly updates.

About the Author

Richard Lawson

Managing Partner at Lawson & Berry:


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