Articles Posted in Drunk Driving Accidents

Insurance policy exclusions and collection of damages from insurance policies.An injured woman settled for $400,000.00 after  she  was hit by a golf cart driven by  an intoxicted driver.  The plaintiff in this case was walking after leaving  an  outdoor  concert in  Peachtree  City.  She was then struck by  a golf  cart  driven  by a man  who was later arrested for  DUI.     The Defendant in  the case was  leaving the outdoor concert and had parked his golf cart  near the golf cart path.    As the defendant pulled  onto  the path, he  struck the plaintiff  and kept  going until a passersby stopped  him and  removed the key from the golf cart.   It was reported that the Defendant was not aware that he had hit the injured lady.  The Plaintiff’s injuries included two broken bones in her leg, and her medical bills totaled $75,000.00.

The Defendant’s insurance company fought to exclude liability coverage under the Defendant’s homeowner’s insurance policy.  The company argued that the golf cart was excluded from the Defendant’s liability coverage.  The insurance company then filed a complaint for declaratory judgment arguing “policy exclusion”.

The court; however, held that the  wording in  the insurance policy was  “unclear”.  The policy attempted to include an exclusion for golf carts based on the number of people the cart was designed to carry.  Further the court held that the language in the insurance policy was ambiguous  and coverage exclusions must be clearly defined.

DUI alcosensorIn this article on Georgia DUI Law, Part I, The Traffic Stop, which is the initial phase of the DUI prosecution will be discussed.  In upcoming articles, Part II will address the State Administered Chemical Test.  Part III will address motions to suppress or limit evidence, and Part IV will address the trial of the case.

Each year in Georgia and throughout the U.S., in general, DUI arrests spike during holiday weekends and late night hours as their is a suspicion that many motorists on the roads during these times have consumed alcohol and are driving while impaired.

A law enforcement officer is required to have a reasonable, articulable suspicion that a crime has occurred prior to being authorized to make a traffic stop (the road block is an exception).

The collection of evidence in a DUI stop begins with physical observations of driving behavior.  And some of these observations include traffic stops which many officers would ignore during daylight hours.  For example, in Atlanta, an individual is much more likely to be stopped for speeding during late night hours.  Although the posted speed limits are normally 55 mph on Interstates 85, 75, 285, and 20, as well as Highway 400 and 78, it is normal during daylight hours to see people speeding between 70 and 80 mph while a law enforcement officer sits on the side of the road and takes no action.  However, during late night hours, an individual driving 70 mph is much more likely to be stopped for speeding. Continue reading →

A law enforcement officer is required to have a reasonable, articulable suspicion that a crime has occurred prior to being authorized to make a traffic stop (the road block is an exception).

1. Particularly, when it comes to DUIs, many law enforcement agencies have DUI task force officers who patrol the streets and highways late at night into the wee hours of the morning looking for drivers who may have consumed alcohol (although it is not against the law to drink and drive). It is, ,however, against the law to drive under the influence of alcohol to the extent it is less safe for you to do so.

DUI task force vehicles are typically equipped with video and audio recording equipment. The video camera is typically mounted on the dash board of the vehicle and records continuously. The video permits the officer to record the driving behavior of the suspected DUI driver prior to the stop, and the video also permits the officer to video tape the field sobriety evaluations as they are performed by the suspected driver, as well as, any other outward manifestations such as staggering, unsteadiness on his/her feet, the necessity to lean on the vehicle for balance, for example.

The DUI task force officer typically has a microphone attached to the front of the uniform which permits the officer to record all of the conversation, statements made by the suspected driver, as well as, the driver’s manor of speech (slurred, thick tongue, talkative, argumentative behavior, crying, etc.). Accordingly, anything the driver does or says will likely be recorded and may be used against him/her in furtherance of the prosecution for the offense of driving under the influence. Thus, in this article I would like to address the evidence and subsequent prosecution of DUI cases. Continue reading →