Q was arrested for DUI less safe, and Failure to maintain lane by the Bryan County Sheriff’s Department on Highway 17. The Bryan County Deputy wrote in his report that Q was driving 29 miles an hour in a 45 mile per hour zone, and he drove with his driver’s side tires over the dotted center line of the highway. The police officer claimed that Q weaved heavily within his lane. So, the officer pulled him over and immediately detected an odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from the vehicle. The officer said Q was slouched down, face flushed, and his eyes bloodshot and glassy, and Q’s speech was mumbled, slow, and slurred. Q admitted he had a couple of beers that night. Q was unsteady on his feet according to the Deputy. He administered two of the three field sobriety tests and then arrested Q for DUI and took him to the Bryan County Detention Center.
Q would have been dismissed from the military if he got a DUI conviction. So there was only one thing left to do. Fight the DUI. We were headed to a jury trial.
The video showed Q pulled over perfectly. The officer first gave the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test (HGN) and then the One Leg Stand test. It is critical that the tests be done perfectly. We hired an Atlanta Field Sobriety Test Instructor and Former DUI Police Officer to testify for the jury and prove that the Police Officer didn’t do the Field Sobriety Tests the way he was trained to do them. This invalidated the results of the tests. First, the HGN test takes a certain minimum amount of time to do the number of passes correctly. If the HGN is done too fast to complete those passes correctly then it was done wrong and the HGN is no good. Here, the Officer did it way too fast. The Officer did the passes incorrectly and invalidated the entire HGN. The next test that should have been done according to the Field Sobriety Manual is the Walk and Turn. The Officer chose not to do this test. The Officer instead had Q do the One Leg Stand test. Q did this test in the grass. The test requires a hard flat and reasonably level surface. The grass is not hard, flat, and reasonably level.
The Solicitor was ready for the trial. I respect him very much. It would have been a pleasure to try a case against him in Bryan County. But if you can avoid a trial and get a good deal, that is the thing to do. The week before the trial, I went to the Bryan County Courthouse to strike a jury. And on the courthouse steps in front of the red bricked courthouse, the Solicitor and I talked a good bit and he finally agreed to let Q plead his DUI arrest down to Driver to use due care. He is a good man, that Solicitor. He is a good man even if he didn’t give Q that wonderful plea offer. But, I like him more now because of that good deal.
Judgement: Military Officer’s DUI Reduced to Driver to Use Due Care