A school resource officer from Polk County schools was arrested over this past weekend for allegedly driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol.
Officer Joy Grace Smith, age 38, was pulled over by an officer in Rockmart, Georgia on Sunday, March 17, 2019, at around 2:15 a.m. She was pulled over for failure to dim her headlights and her alleged inability to remain in the same lane of travel.
When officers approached Smith's motor vehicle, the officer reported smelling the odor of alcohol. Smith also allegedly admitted to drinking alcohol prior to driving.
The officers required her to undergo several tests, including field sobriety tests and a roadside breathalyzer. After she apparently failed these tests, she was handcuffed, arrested, and taken to the squad car. At this point, Smith allegedly said "Are you serious? I'm one of you guys."
She has officially resigned from her position as the school resource officer for Polk County schools. She also faces charges of driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol, failure to dim lights, and failure to maintain lane.
If you or someone you care about has been arrested for DUI, an experienced Georgia DUI attorney can defend your case and protect your rights.
Failure to Dim Lights
A charge of failure to dim lights is often used to justify an initial traffic stop in search of those who might be intoxicated while driving.
The law, codified at O.C.G.A. 40-8-31, requires that when a driver approaches another vehicle within 500 feet, or whenever the driver of a vehicle follows within 200 feet of the rear of another vehicle the driver shall use the "low beams" so that glaring rays are not in the eyes of the oncoming driver.
Using the "brights" or "high beams" is an important part of staying safe on dark Georgia roadways. In fact, the use of "brights" is often critical to making sure you can see where you are going.
All too often, however, officers use this traffic offense as an excuse simply to pull you over in the hope that they can find something that will indicate intoxication and lead to a DUI arrest. Such a reason is called a "pretext" for pulling you over. It might technically be a legitimate infraction, but it likely would not have resulted in a traffic stop except for other reasons.
Defending Your Case
In many cases, a pretextual stop may be the basis for a constitutional challenge. When it is clear that the alleged reason you were initially stopped is simply a pretext, and may not even have actually been committed, there is a chance your charges could be dismissed. It is also a useful bargaining tool to use with the prosecutor for possible plea negotiations.
Consult an Experienced Georgia DUI Attorney
If you face charges of a Georgia DUI, and any related charges, you deserve to have your constitutional rights protected by an attorney with the knowledge and years of practice in defending these cases. An experienced Georgia DUI attorney is here to help. Contact us today for a free consultation of your case.