Category Archives: Blog

Can I Beat a DUI Blood Test?

Despite what cops and prosecutors say, YES, you can beat a DUI blood test. Of course, there is more to every case than just “the number,” but blood tests are not the nail in the coffin they’re made out to be. In fact, my law firm has successfully defended into the hundreds of DUI blood test cases over the past 8 years.


How Can Cops Take Blood for a DUI Charge?  blood draw DUI

Under Georgia’s implied consent laws, cops are authorized to have a blood sample done if you are arrested for driving under the influence. All 50 states have some version of implied consent laws that allow a test of your blood or breath (usually) if you are DUI. The gist of implied consent laws are that by driving on public roadways, you impliedly give permission to testing of your bodily fluids in DUI situations. While cops can take blood tests, a lot of times the opt for breath testing, as it can me more convenient for them. If you took a blood test, chances are it was done at a hospital and required an extra hour or more of the cop’s time to obtain.

What Can a Blood Test Tell?

If you’ve had your blood drawn for a DUI charge, the two samples will be sent to the GBI for testing by a state lab. Cops can submit the blood with directions to test for either alcohol or drugs, or both. After an initial screen, the lab will then run a confirmatory test that can quantify the amount of tested drugs in your system. Thus, a prosecutor will eventually receive information about what and how much of any alcohol or drug amount was in your system.

How Can My Attorney Challenge a Blood Test?

One of the biggest areas for challenging a blood test is in the sample’s chain of custody and storage. Once blood is drawn, it is evidence and thus must be properly preserved, or risk being invalidated in court. While the GBI has very specific procedures set out for how they handle and store samples that have reached them, they have no idea how the local police department handled your sample. Therefore, a blood case usually requires at least 2-3 witnesses just to be able to lay a chain of custody for the test. Additionally, the person who drew the blood as well as the lab tech who tested the blood are subject to being called into court to discuss the testing procedure. As you can see, this can quickly add up to create a lot of extra work for a prosecutor with 20-30 cases called into hearings or trial on any given calendar. Earlier this year (2015), I had a blood test case in a small court in North Georgia and the charges were outright dismissed rather than jump through all the necessary hoops of getting the blood result into evidence. Of course, this is rare, but point is: Blood tests can be a pain for prosecutors to successfully get into evidence.

What Charges Could I Face with a Positive DUI Blood Test?

In Georgia, it is illegal to drive with an alcohol level of .08 or higher if you are 21 or older.  A blood test will quantify the amount of alcohol in your system, so if you’re over, you’ll be charged with DUI Per Se.  Additionally, since blood can test for most drugs in your system, you can face a DUI drugs less safe charge if your blood result comes back with other drugs in your system.  It is important to note that it doesn’t matter whether the drugs are prescribed or not, you can still be charged with DUI Drugs Less Safe.  In either case- whether illegal or not- the prosecutor must prove you were incapable of driving safely in a DUI Drugs case.  It is not enough to merely have the drug in your system.  For example, many people drive on prescribed narcotics or anti anxiety medications.  In a prosecution for DUI based on these type drugs, the prosecutor must show you could not drive based on the use of these drugs.  Being within therapeutic levels and having an established history of using the drug can certainly help support your case in this situation.

If you have been charged with a DUI after submitting to a blood test, call me today to begin discussing your defense.  I can be reached directly at (404) 590-6642,




Choosing an Atlanta DUI Lawyer

The Atlanta DUI Process

If you have been arrested for DUI in Metro Atlanta, including Buckhead, Midtown, or Downtown, you will want a lawyer who practices a majority of DUI law to defend your case in court. With Georgia’s current DUI laws, drivers accused of DUI face not only administrative penalties like license suspension, but also face jail time, community service, court mandated treatment and the like for DUI convictions.

On a first DUI in Atlanta, your case will start in the City of Atlanta Municipal Court where you or your lawyer will have the opportunity to begin gathering evidence and negotiating with the Atlanta Solicitor’s Office. The solicitor is responsible for prosecuting misdemeanor and city ordinance crimes in court. Whether your case closes in Atlanta will be a question for your lawyer to guide you on after thoroughly reviewing the ins and outs of your arrest.

If a deal is unable to be negotiated in Atlanta’s court, you have the right to a trial in Fulton County. When I discuss this with clients, I make sure to inform them that transferring a case to Fulton County will likely result in at least a 9-12 month delay before the court has your new file. For most clients, this is not a huge deal, however, if your case is time sensitive for one reason or another, you will want to take this into account.

Atlanta DUI Lawyer Evan Watson

After you have been arrested, it is important to begin the process of looking for a lawyer who you feel comfortable with representing you.  A good DUI lawyer in Atlanta can range dramatically in price, and price shopping is never the best method for acquiring your lawyer.  Additionally, you will want to select a lawyer who you feel truly cares about and understands the key issues in your case.  At a minimum, you should make sure to discuss:

  • Your career background information, including all schooling, job fields, and positions held
  • Your personal goals and home life situation
  • The day or evening before your arrest and what transpired beforehand
  • The actual arrest itself including details about how you were driving, how field sobriety tests were performed and what happened after arrest
  • The events when you arrived at jail, including conversations had w staff or other officers
  • If you took a breath or blood test, be ready to discuss everything about it- did the machine seem to be having problems? did you change your mind about a test?
  • Your license status and any anticipated work related or driving problems that you foresee

Typically, a first interview with a client last somewhere between 30 minutes to an hour, so make sure you have this time set aside.  Also, ask questions.  Wanting to know the timeline of your case, expected issues and the lawyer’s overall experience with cases similar to yours is not unreasonable.  I encourage potential clients to write things out- the more details you have down on paper, the better you will be, especially if your case ends up dragging on for months or even more than a year.

If you have questions, or would like to speak to me 1-on-1 about your DUI arrest, give me a call or contact me through this website.  I will be happy to set aside time to speak to you and schedule an appointment to meet.



Lawrenceville Driver Charged with Vehicular Homicide

Forty-nine year old Sharon Mitchell-Golden has been charged with second degree vehicular homicide for striking and killing 17-year-old Dakota Waters as he crossed Lawrenceville Highway on Wednesday morning.  On Thursday, Mitchell turned herself in to the Gwinnett County Detention Center where she was booked on charges of vehicular homicide 2nd degree and a turn lane violation.

In Georgia, second degree vehicular homicide is a misdemeanor crime that can carry up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.  Additionally, probation, court ordered classes and community service can be ordered for drivers convicted of vehicular homicide.  Typically, where an investigation does not reveal any aggravating factors like excessive speed or recklessness, alcohol, or drug use, misdemeanor charges are levied.  In serious cases, Georgia law does permit felony vehicular homicide charges.


City of Atlanta Municipal Court Judge Assignments

City of Atlanta Municipal Court

Current for December 2012:

Courtroom 1A: PTIT, Traffic Pretrial Program

Courtroom 3A: Attorney Pretrials

Courtroom 3B: Judge Gaines

Courtroom 5A: Judge Ward

Courtroom 5B: Judge Harris

Courtroom 5C: Judge Sloan

Courtroom 5D: Judge Mickle

Courtroom 6A: Judge Carslile

Courtroom 6C: Judge Graves

Courtroom 6D: Judge Jackson


Contact Information:

Municipal Court of Atlanta

150 Garnett Street SW

Atlanta, Georgia 30303

Tel: 404.658.6940





Saving Your Driver’s License After a Buckhead DUI Charge

If you have been arrested by the Georgia State Patrol or City of Atlanta Police Department in Buckhead, you probably received a form that notifies you that your license is going to be suspended.  This notice is given if you blow over the legal limit, or refuse to take a state test.  Once you have received this form, you must draft an appeal letter if you want to have any chance of keeping your driving ability in Georgia.  When this appeal letter is properly drafted and sent, you will be scheduled for a hearing to determine if the officer has sufficient grounds for suspending your license.  These hearings are conducted at the Georgia Office of State Administrative Hearings in Midtown, Atlanta.

Officers patrolling Buckhead for DUI drivers take these license hearings very seriously.  Because the hearing is usually only 30-60 days from your arrest, it is important to have your case prepared quickly so you are ready for this hearing.  Open records requests, informal requests and even subpoenas can be used to ensure that the evidence is produced in your case before you face a license suspension.

If you have been arrested in Buckhead, call my office today or email me directly to discuss how to approach the license suspension hearing in your case.  Remember, suspensions can range from 30 days to over a year, depending on your criminal history and facts of your case.  For more information, I can be reached at (404) 642-6333.

Buckhead, Georgia DUI Arrests & Your Defense

So you’ve been arrested in Buckhead for a DUI.  Now what?  There are two stages you must prepare for in your defense.  The first stage is starting the appeal process for your driver’s license, while the second stage is defending your misdemeanor DUI charges.  I divide these stages up because you will usually have a shorter timeline for your driver’s license hearing, though with Atlanta Municipal Court’s current policies, that may not be the case.

If your license was taken- and sometimes even if it is not- you will only have 10 business days to send an appeal letter to the Department of Driver Services.  Otherwise, your license will be suspended for the prescribed time period, depending on your record and the facts of your current case.  You will want an attorney to draft this letter and send it to DDS certified, with the required $150 hearing fee.

The second stage of your DUI defense will include defending against your charge in Atlanta Municipal Court.  While you do have the right to a trial in Fulton County, currently, most first court dates, known as arraignment dates, are in Atlanta’s court.  The process in Atlanta can range from 30 days to months, depending on how long it takes to get full discovery in your case and negotiate with the solicitor (prosecutor) assigned to your case.  The City of Atlanta Solicitor’s Office is responsible for all prosecutions in Atlanta Municipal Court.

If you have a pending DUI arrest, and your citations were issued within Atlanta’s city limits, call or use the contact form on this website for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.  I have defended into the hundreds of cases in Atlanta’s court and will be happy to walk you through how I can assist in your defense.

Georgia’s Legal Limit in BUI Cases

Bills aimed at lowering Georgia’s legal limit in Boating Under the Influence cases have so far failed to be passed in recent years.  In this past session, a bill made it through the House, but fizzled out in a Senate committee.  Currently, the legal limit is a .10 for boaters 21 and older.  The legislation is aimed at bringing BUI limits down to the .08 threshold already used to prosecute DUI cases.  There is already a zero tolerance law for boaters under 21 years old, who cannot have an alcohol content of more than .02.

With the summer season heating up in Georgia, there have already been tragedies on the water and enforcement of boating laws will surely be ramped up.  For boating safety tips and information, visit:  The Dept. of Natural Resources has put a lot of useful information and safety tips on this page that will help all boaters have a safer summer on the water.



Atlanta Disorderly Conduct Charges and Required Court Appearance

If you have been charged with a disorderly conduct crime in Atlanta, you are usually scheduled to appear back in court within a few days of your arrest.  For business travelers or vacationers, this can mean having to unexpectedly extend your stay in Atlanta in order to attend court in the following days.  It is not uncommon for someone arrested on a Friday or Saturday night to be scheduled for a hearing the following Monday.  The potential hardships of extending a stay to attend court are obvious, yet you cannot reset this court date beforehand.

Your first court date is an arraignment where the judge and prosecutor list the charges against you and expect you to enter a plea.  Pleas are typically guilty, not guilty, or no contest, if the court accepts a no contest plea.   Fortunately, your defense lawyer can usually stand in for you at this first hearing and get an extension of time for you to come back and personally appear with your attorney.  Additionally, I frequently am able to negotiate with the prosecutor on your behalf and sometimes secure an outcome in your case without you making another appearance in Atlanta.  This alone saves thousands in travel costs for most of my clients.  In a recent case, the court agreed to dismiss the charges against my client, in exchange for a few conditions being completed before the next court date- avoiding an appearance by the client.

If you have been arrested for disorderly conduct, disorderly under the influence, obstruction, DUI, or similar charges in Atlanta and have a court date in the Atlanta Municipal Court, call me to discuss your possible defenses and the possibility of avoiding having to personally appear in court on short notice.  I will also be happy to discuss possible pretrial program options, pleas, and the possibility of a dismissal of your case, depending on the evidence and facts of your case.

DUI Expungment All But Impossible in Georgia

As I was recently checking emails, I came across the following misleading paid ad link:


Unfortunately, with the way current Georgia law is written, your chances of having a DUI expunged are slim to none.  For example, if a DUI is dropped, but you plead to a lesser charge, your DUI arrest is not eligible for expungement.  Additionally, if your case is dismissed because a witness cannot be found or evidence of your DUI is suppressed or thrown out by the Judge, your arrest is not eligible for expungement.  Guilty pleas, no contest pleas, and even not guilty verdicts do not currently allow for record expungments in Georgia.

With this being said, the Georgia legislature recently passed and the Governor signed into law House Bill 1176, which would be more liberal with expungments in all criminal cases.  Expungements will now be possible in certain situations where the DA or Solicitor has not commenced a prosecution after an expiration of time, where a person is acquitted of all charges at trial, and where a person successfully completes a conditional discharge probation period or drug court program (without further trouble for 5 years).

While this will allow more Georgian’s to be eligible to have their future charges expunged, it will not apply retroactively and it makes no specific provisions for DUI arrests.  In January 2012, one Georgia  legislator proposed a bill aimed at DUI arrests specifically.  For now though, it appears as if being acquitted of all charges at trial could yield the largest benefit to DUI defendants fighting for a clear record.

Avoiding a Cinco de Mayo DUI Arrest in Atlanta

As you celebrate the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, remember that DUI task force officers for the Georgia State Patrol and many municipalities will be out in full force to deter DUI drivers.  Holidays like Cinco de Mayo, Independence Day, Memorial Day and the like are seen by DUI officers as high-traffic holidays that yield more arrests than usual.  Here are a few tips to follow if you do plan on celebrating Cinco de Mayo out:

-Have a D/D or a taxi company handy and lined up before you make it out, this will increase the likelihood that you follow through and don’t get behind the wheel after drinking too much.

– If you do drink, do it in moderation.  If you feel buzzed or impaired, play it safe and call a cab.

If you do get pulled over, remember that even the slight odor of alcohol will likely lead to you being further investigated for DUI.  You have the right to decline to take any field sobriety tests, and you should.  These test, like standing on one leg and walking a line are designed for failure and hardly ever exonerate you.  You also have the right to decline any preliminary breath test.  Decline.  These handheld devices are not accurate and there is no standard procedure in place for checking their calibration.  In fact, they are generally only admissible in court for the limited purpose of showing whether you showed positive or negative for any alcohol.

If arrested, you will likely be read your Georgia Implied Consent rights.  You are legally obligated (but able to refuse) testing of your blood, breath, or urine under Georgia DUI laws.  While the chemical test is almost always a DUI officer’s strongest evidence against you- assuming you are over the limit- if you refuse testing, you typically face more harsh license penalties.  These laws get very convoluted very fast.  In general, the advice is to decline this testing.

If all else fails and you are arrested for DUI on this Cinco de Mayo, remember that you have deadlines to meet in defending your case.  Once you are arrested, booked in and bonded out, you will need to start building your defense.  If you are put in this situation, call me directly.  I handle DUI and other traffic and criminal cases throughout Metro Atlanta and will give you honest, solid advice on how to defend your case and how I can help you.

If you want to read more before calling, please see my helpful information on Georgia DUI laws and defending your case.  Also, see my recent client reviews for people that were in your situation.