Steven Lawless was pulled over by Gainesville police for alleged violation of the new “hands free driving” law. The traffic stop led to much more than Lawless apparently holding his phone.
Lawless was ultimately arrested on both drug and weapons charges after the traffic stop. According to the reports, he had 45.5 grams of methamphetamine and 98 grams of synthetic marijuana. Moreover, a gun was allegedly found in the vehicle.
So far, Lawless is facing charges of trafficking methamphetamine, possession of synthetic cannabinoid with intent to distribute, possession of methamphetamine, possession of synthetic cannabinoid, possession of drug-related objects and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.
Lawless is currently in jail without bond in Hall County.
This is just an example of how violating the Hands Free driving law in Georgia can result in much more than a misdemeanor charge. As a Georgia DUI Lawyer, I see people getting pulled over for violating texting while driving in Georgia which leads to a DUI investigation and ultimately a DUI in Georgia.
In today's post, let's review the Hands Free Georgia Law.
Texting While Driving in Georgia
While operating a vehicle on any Georgia road that no one will be permitted to:
- Physically hold or support, with any part of his or her body, a wireless telecommunications device or stand-alone electronic device
- Reach for a wireless telecommunications device or stand-alone electronic device in such a manner that requires the driver to no longer be in a seated driving position or properly restrained by a safety belt
- Write, send, or read any text based communication, including but not limited to a text message, instant message, e-mail, or Internet data on a wireless telecommunications device or stand-alone electronic device
- Watch a video or movie on a wireless telecommunications device or stand alone electronic device other than watching data related to the navigation of such vehicle
- Record a video on a wireless telecommunications device or stand-alone electronic device. O.C.G.A. §40-6-241.
According to the law, a driver is permitted to send a voice-based communication (even if it's automatically converted to be sent as a text message) and to use his or her device for navigation or for global positioning system purposes.
Violating any of the above sections will be considered a misdemeanor. Each provision is charged individually. The penalty includes a minimum fee of $300.
Violating the Hands Free Georgia law can be the reasonable articulable suspicion to pull over a driver and start a DUI investigation. The majority of the clients we represent have been pulled over for a minor traffic violation which led to their DUI charges in Georgia. These minor traffic violations include offenses such as Georgia Failure to Maintain Lane or Georgia Speeding.
As a Georgia DUI Attorney, it is important for me to note that once a DUI investigation begins the reason you are pulled over is irrelevant. You are subject to arrest and prosecution just like any other driver, pulled over for any other reason.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a DUI in Georgia, contact our offices today.