A former prosecutor and judge, attorney Alan J. Levine is certified in DWI / DUI Detection & Standardized Field Sobriety Testing per the National Highway and Traffic Safety Agency curriculum and standards. He learned these procedures and skills from former DUI Task Force professionals. So, Alan knows how to perform the same evaluations given by the officer who may have arrested you, or a loved one, during a DUI investigation including the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, Walk and Turn, and One Leg Stand tasks.
And guess what? Officers often make mistakes when giving these evaluations.
Now the prosecutor will try to minimize any mistakes made by the officer, while at the same time pointing out each and every mistake you may have made. But police errors are NOT trivial. And your mistakes need not be fatal - or even admissible. Knowing what to look for during a thorough analysis of the arresting officer's investigation can mean the difference between a DUI conviction versus a much better outcome.
TERRORISTIC THREATS AND OBSTRUCTION CHARGES DISMISSED: We recently had the opportunity, in Cobb County State Court, to represent a young person with great future prospects. That is, great until they got themselves into a little trouble. Okay, more than a little trouble. Suffice it to say alcohol, even when you're old enough to drink, is a dangerous substance that should be used sparingly, with respect. Facing charges of terroristic threats [OCGA 16-11-37] and obstruction / hindering of a law enforcement officer [OCGA 16-10-24], our client went from solid plans to attend medical school, to fear of a career ending criminal record before they could begin. But soon as they hired us, our game plan was executed. First, we dug into the facts of the case to learn what were the strengths and weaknesses of the charges. Second, we had our client take certain steps to either hopefully get a good plea offer, or decrease the severity of any possible sentence after trial. Long story short, this two-pronged defense-attack strategy worked. The prosecutor dismissed both charges altogether. And, our client's record was restricted. No conviction. Charges expunged.
CIVIL FORFEITURE DISMISSED: During a search and seizure of a person or their property, often alleged contraband is discovered. And then the police will confiscate other property, like cash, claiming the money is proceeds from a crime. For instance, maybe during a traffic stop, some weed is found in a person's car. In our client's Cobb County case, a few thousand dollars cash was seized by the Cobb County Sheriff. The State of Georgia claimed this money was obviously sales proceeds from selling marijuana in violation of OCGA 16-13-30(b). But this was cash our client made in tips as a waiter. No matter. The State moved to keep our client's money permanently under OCGA 9-16-11. This was before any trial on the merits of the case. To make things worse, our client received notice to appear in Cobb County Superior Court on the Friday before the hearing on Monday. So, attorney Alan J. Levine, over the weekend, reassured the panicked client he'd be there to fight. And, there in Court, after negotiating with the prosecutor on the merits of the case, and supplying documentation of our client's wages in tips, though he was ready to file a defense Answer and put up the case for the Judge to decide, Alan convinced the District Attorney to do the right thing. Our client is getting his cash to pay the rent back. Now, on to win the criminal case. We'll keep you posted.
DUI BREATH TEST SUSPENSION DISMISSED: When a driver is arrested for a DUI in Georgia and the officer keeps their driver's license for allegedly not giving the State a breath, blood or urine sample to be used against them, the driver has 30 days from the date of arrest to appeal the suspension. Or, they may be eligible to get an ignition interlock device limited permit and keep fighting the DUI even if an appeal of the suspension isn't likely to succeed. But, when I tried to reach out to an officer ahead of time to see if we could resolve the civil suspension matter without giving up my client's presumption of innocence in a criminal case, the officer chose not to respond. No matter. I protected my client's interests with motions and open records requests, and then the officer was a no-show at the Administrative License Suspension appeal hearing at OSAH anyway.
DUI DISMISSED: Our client told us she wasn't driving, yet was charged for DUI. We called the 911 caller who reported the accident outside his home where the car had crashed into a telephone pole. Sure enough, the 911 caller ran outside and saw the car just seconds after hearing the impact. He reported a black male was driving the vehicle. But our client, though she had been in the car, was a white female and sitting in the back of the car. There had not been enough time for the driver and our client to change positions prior to the 911 caller witnessing the wreck's aftermath. So why did the Cobb County Police Officer cite our client with a DUI? That's a longer story than there's room for here, but we worked with the Cobb County Solicitor to review the evidence we had uncovered. We got the result we and our client wanted - a Nolle Prosequi(Latin for "will not pursue" - aka a dismissal). And, our client's arrest record for this incident was restricted.
FELONY THEFT BY RECEIVING REDUCED: In a case that could have been prosecuted as a Burglary (a felony level crime) with a sentence of several years in prison on the line, we instead successfully worked the case out as a misdemeanor Theft by Receiving plea in Cobb County Superior Court. This allowed our client both to keep their gun permit, but most importantly, to stay out of further post-arrest jail or prison. With moderate sentence terms - including no fine - our client has the opportunity to be done with misdemeanor probation in 18-months.
UNDERAGE DUI PER SE REDUCED: In a tough Cobb County State Court case in Marietta, Georgia, our young college student client made a serious mistake one night. But, we believe a young person's bad judgement doesn't have to mean they shouldn't get a second chance, even while being held accountable. In Georgia, if you are under the age of 21, the permissible Blood Alcohol Content level (BAC) to be considered DUI Per Se isn't anything above 0%, but anything equal to or above 0.02%. In this instance, it wasn't even close. The reason the officer made the initial traffic stop - failure to maintain lane - was clearly visible on the dashcam video, our client was honest about consuming alcohol, and the test result from the blood draw came back high.
We evaluated the gas chromatography results for issues, but were not able to find any weaknesses in the Georgia Bureau of Investigation's toxicology report. So, we went to the prosecutor and advocated hard for our client. We pointed out that, in spite of their mistake, our client had been proactive in following our advice since hiring us. They did everything we told them to do to put themselves in a more favorable position. Even though it was a tough sell, in the end, we got our client a second chance and they will avoid a DUI conviction.
ADMINSITRATIVE LICENSE SUSPENSIONS (ALS) LIFTED: In cases out of Bartow and Cobb County, Georgia, and the city of Kennesaw, Georgia, our clients faced Implied Consent license suspensions of their driving privileges based on the allegations they had not submitted to the State test of their breath, blood, urine or other bodily substance. The arresting officers gave each a Department of Driver Services Form 1205 (DDS 1205) as a temporary license, and then sent their regular, hard plastic, Class C Georgia Driver's License to the Department of Driver Services (DDS) to be suspended. Each faced a year-long suspension of their driving privileges. We appealed the suspension requests, scheduled hearings, and proactively reached out to the officers to negotiate resolutions. The officers all agreed to our requests, and the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) at the Office of State Administrative Hearings (OSAH) granted our withdraw motions. So, our clients, without agreeing to plead to any particular charges, have no suspension of any type (no Ignition Interlock Device, no Limited Permit), and get to keep driving.
HORIZONTAL GAZE NYSTAGMUS EVIDENCE SUPPRESSED: In an evidentiary hearing in Fulton County State Court on the admissibility of the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) evaluation, attorney Alan Levine cross-examined the arresting officer and convinced the Judge the performance of the test deviated from the standards of the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration to such a degree it had no evidentiary value. The motion to suppress this evidence was granted and a key element of the State's prosecution was excluded. Though it's sometimes beneficial to let in otherwise bad evidence and let the jury see police errors, here it was decided better to get rid of problematic parts of the video prior to any trial.
WARRANT APPLICATION DISMISSED: In a case before Cobb County Magistrate Court, our client was facing an application for a criminal arrest warrant to issue against her for allegedly keeping a car on which she had stopped making payments under OCGA §16-9-51. She had bought a car from a predatory lender. And sure enough, with a few months of purchase, the car broke down, leaving her stranded on the roadside. But even though the car was returned to the seller, that seller still sought a warrant for our client's arrest. And they would have gotten it, too. But we showed up to Court and objected to the hearsay evidence the seller tried to present. The magistrate judge denied the application. If you're facing issuance of a criminal warrant, don't just turn yourself in and get a criminal arrest record. In Georgia, let Alan work to get the warrant quashed before a judge even signs it!
LICENSE RESTORED AFTER 20 YEARS: What do you do if you used to live down in Dooly County, Georgia and now can't get a driver's license in your new state of Nevada because of something that went wrong twenty years ago, and both the Georgia court and police department down in Dooly that should oversee the issue no longer exist? Who do you call when court officials, Department of Driver Services personnel, and even other lawyers, aren't able to help? You call Georgia DUI & Criminal Defense – The Law Office of Alan J. Levine – and let Alan get to work. Our client now has his license back.
DUI AND HIT & RUN CHARGES DISMISSED: In a case that began in the City of Kennesaw Municipal Court, our client's sister called as soon as the arrest for a DUI and Hit and Run occurred. The sister reported that there was concern our client's drink had been spiked by the date rape drug, Gamma Hydroxybutyrate (GHB). Attorney Alan Levine responded that as soon as she was released from jail, the young woman who suspected she'd been poisoned must immediately go the hospital and get her blood tested. Sure enough, her blood test showed indicators of GHB poisoning.
We took the affidavits of two emergency room doctors from Wellstar Kennestone Hospital and submitted them to the prosecuting attorney, along with our client's medical records. But the city prosecutor was not amenable to dismissing the case. Therefore, we demanded a jury trial and moved the case up to the State Court of Cobb County in Marietta, Georgia. We showed our evidence to the Solicitor General and, rather than subjecting our client to the stress and additional cost of a jury trial, all charges were dismissed before the case was even accused. Without instructing our client to go get that blood test, there would not have been the needed evidence to secure a dismissal. Additionally, our client's record will be expunged.
FELONY DRUG CHARGE REDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR POSSESSION: We took a case in Cobb County Superior Court for the felony level drug charge of trafficking. We believed our client was being severely overcharged given the facts of the case. After much hard work, we were able to convince a fair-minded prosecutor to see the case our way. The result? Our client plead to a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge which was wrapped up as a package deal with his probation revocation. He'll be released from the Cobb County Adult Detention Center soon to be with his wife and child.
DUI Less Safe Reduced to NO POINT VIOLATION with NO PROBATION: In a case that started in Kennesaw Municipal Court in Cobb County, we moved the matter to Cobb County State Court, Marietta, Georgia. While our client may have been intoxicated, there was no proof via a test of her blood, breath, urine or other bodily substance. What we were able to show was that the reason for the initial stop of our client was suspect - the officer alleged an improper use of her vehicle's horn and failure to maintain lane. By the time we were through, we had the case reduced to a zero-point, Basic Rules / Too Fast for Conditions ticket with no fine, no jail time, and early termination of probation. Which, because our client took our advice and completed several tasks, means she will not have any probation. This case took a long time to work out. But we never stopped working for our client.
Who's Your Attorney?
But how do you find the right defense attorney for you? Do I want your business and the opportunity to represent you? Absolutely. Is our firm right for you. Maybe yes, maybe no. Experience and knowledge matter. I have that. Hopefully, all of the lawyers you're considering have that. But finding an attorney who listens to you, who understands you, who ‘gets you,' is important. Finding someone you trust implicitly, who you know has your best interest at heart, is crucial. Because for the next several months, and possibly longer, you and your defense attorney are going to be a team.
Get To Know Your Lawyer
So take the time to really interview and get to know the potential candidates looking to earn your business. As for me? Call or email me to set up a time for a free, no obligation consultation. Let's meet face to face and discuss your situation. This is an important decision - finding the right person to fight for your rights, defend your reputation, and help you get your life back. I look forward to meeting with you. I look forward to the possibility and privilege of being your lawyer.
Alan J. Levine, Esq.