Being charged with DUI, hit and run, and reckless driving is a distressing situation for any driver, but also being charged with fleeing and attempting to elude police officers and strikes or collides with another vehicle (O.C.G.A. § 40-6-395(b)(5)(A)) adds an additional layer of complication. In Georgia, fleeing and attempting to elude law enforcement is a felony charge that carries a minimum prison sentence. The team at Andersen, Tate & Carr recently celebrated a best possible outcome for our client who faced these very serious charges.
After running a red light on his motorcycle, our client sped away from the police officer who was attempting to pull him over. The client was alleged to have reached speeds of more than 150 mph, as well as nearly having collided with a pedestrian, before losing control and hitting another vehicle. The officer who arrived on the scene reported having to tackle the man who was again attempting to flee. The client admitted to drinking five beers and smoking marijuana prior to getting on his motorcycle, and the officers placed him under arrest.
Our client faced 15 charges from that night, including those mentioned above. All of the charges were misdemeanors, except for Fleeing and Attempting to Elude. In addition to the mandatory one-year prison sentence he faced for fleeing, the combination of the 15 charges would automatically result in a 2 ½ year license suspension. While we felt strongly that we could get the DUI charges dismissed, it seemed that there was no escaping the felony charges and its accompanying jail time sentence.
The client promptly followed his attorney’s advice to take a drug and alcohol evaluation, enroll and complete the recommended classes, and maintain solid employment for more than one year before the case came to trial.
Though it was the policy of the ADA to stand firm on the mandatory prison sentence, attorney Pat McDonough worked with the judge and the ADA to change the fleeing charge to an obstruction charge, which allowed our client to avoid the most serious aspect of the sentencing. Additionally, we successfully fought to get 12 of the 15 counts dismissed.
Although the State asked for a sentence of five years in prison with one to serve, we leveraged a blind plea that resulted in the Judge sentencing our client to 3 years of probation under the First Offender Act. The money he spent on his alcohol and drug classes was credited towards the $500 fine that accompanied his sentence, and the Judge found that his community service had already been completed. Upon successful completion of his probation, the case will be dismissed and the arrest will be expunged/restricted.
For more information or to request a case evaluation, call our law office at (770) 822-0900. We have been very successful at reaching the best possible outcome for our clients, and our attorneys are here to help you through this difficult and stressful time.