Time and again we answer the question of “why are the prosecutors so Hard on DUI arrests, I have never been in trouble before!” Events that occurred on May 29, 2021 in Sandy Springs provide another insight and example of why prosecutor’s seem so difficult with DUI charges.
According to Atlanta Journal and Constitution a man was traveling on Roswell Road and lost control of his vehicle at the intersection of Long Island Drive. Sandy Springs police arrived on scene, along with Sandy Springs DUI enforcement, and began investigation of the scene. Upon their arrival on scene the Sandy Springs Police learned that the driver was trapped in the vehicle and was non responsive. Police immediately began putting out the fire that had started while removing the driver from the vehicle. After the driver was removed from the vehicle that vehicle caught fire a second time. The driver was charged with Failure to Maintain Lane, Reckless Driving and Driving Under the Influence.
Accidents give prosecutors pause whenever they are reviewing the details of a case before the court. Many times where there is an accident those prosecutors will “recommended terms and conditions” for a DUI, but frequently those recommendations seem more harsh over a single vehicle accident even when there is no history for the client. In addition to responding to an accident they also can use Failure to Maintain lane or the Georgia Move over Law. Frequently one of these charges can lead to a DUI investigation. In the scenario above, the driver, at some point, lost control of the vehicle. That car then hit multiple places and burst into flames. These charges all have a different place within the analysis. Failure to Maintain Lane, or O.C.G.A. 40-6-48 means that the vehicle did not stay within its lane of travel. Reckless Driving means or O.C.G.A. 40-6-390 means that the driver acted with reckless disregard for the safety of other drivers while operating his vehicle. DUI (Driving Under the Influence) or O.C.G.A. 40-6-391 means that the driver is being charged with operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
This case and the charges above are a prime example of something a prosecutor would say “could have been so much worse” or “your client is lucky.” Frequently those prosecutors do not see or will not see the bigger picture OR what other factors could have possible caused the accident. The prosecution does not “see” your case as a simple DUI. Their training from the State tells them that every DUI could have ended up with either an injury or a death. Most of the prosecutors believe it is their “duty” as a prosecutor to make sure that defendants who are charged with a DUI get the message “not in my court.” This is exactly the reason our client come to our firm to assist in not just the defense of their case but in protecting them from the prosecutors.