“I’m so nervous,” he said. “They have a verdict in one hour…Is that good?” “I don’t know,” I said, “I’ve seen it go both ways.” The Clerk of the Chatham County State Court read the verdict: “For the charge of DUI less safe, we the jury find the defendant, Mr. B not guilty.” He grabbed my arm. I looked him in the eye. They looked red and watery. I was glad for him.
Mr. B is from Jamaica. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia with his wife and child. He works for Delta. The night that this happened he was working in Chatham County. He had worked from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. He went out, had two beers, and headed back to the Condo on Tybee Island. He got pulled over on Butler Avenue for Speeding by a Tybee Island police officer.
The police officer asked him, “Do you know why I stopped you?” Mr. B said, “Because I was going too fast.” The police officer asked him if he wanted an accuracy check on the radar, and Mr. B said “No.” The Tybee officer smelled alcohol and saw that his eyes looked sleepy and told him to get out of the car. The cop asked how much he had drunk. Mr. B told him two beers. He asked him to do some field sobriety tests and within nine minutes he handcuffed Mr. B and arrested him for DUI less safe alcohol 40-6-391(a)(1) and Speeding 40-6-181.
I needed to prove that the police officer gave the field sobriety tests wrong, and invalidated them. The thing was that this police officer was straight and true. He is a good man, and I rather liked him. So there I was; I had him on cross-examination and I knew he gave the field sobriety tests wrong. Half-way through, I decided to stop challenging him face to face. I called in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration DUI Detection & Standardized Field Sobriety Tests Instructor. He testified that the Tybee police officer did not do the field sobriety tests correctly which made them invalid and unreliable.
There was no video, so I called an investigator to the stand and he showed the jury photographs of where all of this happened on Tybee Island.
We started at nine in the morning and finished around eight in the evening. It took the jury one hour to decide to let Mr. B go home not guilty to DUI less safe, and guilty of Speeding. I am grateful because the Judge of Chatham County State Court gave us a fair trial, and that to me is a square shake.
Judgment: Not Guilty to DUI in One Hour