You can be stopped for any reason now

roadstopby Jessica Towne

The Supreme Court of North Carolina recently heard a case where an officer who did not have a valid reason to stop someone, did so anyway, and then discovered a baggie of cocaine in the car after the driver consented to a search.

The driver's lawyers argued the case should be thrown out because the reason why the officer stopped the man in the first case – a broken brake light-- isn't considered a valid reason for a stop in NC. The court decided the stop was ok anyway, because the officer thought it was a valid reason.

The best reason yet not to consent

Read more: You can be stopped for any reason now

Will these bills make good laws?

Georgia flagYour elected officials are busy at work. Do you know what they are up to? The Georgia Driver does. She is keeping an eye on a few bills as they make their way from proposal to law. If you've an interest in any of these topics, contact your representative lawmaker  and let him or her know how you feel.

House Bill (HB)5 Allows for drones to capture images for certain purposes, but not for private surveillance. (Each new technology rewrites the law.)

HB9 Makes it unlawful for certain employers to ask whether an applicant has ever been arrested. (Does that mean after you've paid your debt to society you can actually get a job?)

Read more: Will these bills make good laws?

How an out of state DUI can cost your license

By Jessica Towne

gavel on clarktowneDriving in Georgia is a privilege, not a right, and the Georgia DDS has the authority to rescind, cancel, suspend and revoke a driver’s license for certain behaviors. It can even revoke or cancel your Georgia driver’s license based on your out-of-state conduct.

A game-changing case

In a case decided February 9, 2015, the Georgia Court of Appeals upheld the revocation of a Georgia man’s license because of two Illinois DUI convictions. In this particular case, the driver, who had never been an Illinois resident and had never been issued an Illinois driver's license, was convicted of two DUI-related offenses in Illinois before moving to Georgia. After the driver was convicted of yet another DUI, this one in Georgia, Georgia notified other states. After receiving notice of this conviction, Illinois imposed a lifetime ban on this person’s privilege to drive in Illinois. Citing the Illinois ban, DDS cancelled the man’s Georgia driver's license. This case is a game changer for sure. You can read about the case at

More Georgians refusing sobriety tests

excersize your rights to keep silentBy Jessica Towne

The number of people refusing the sobriety test in Georgia doubled, from 5,608 in 2008 to 11,480 in 2013.

The Georgia Health News service recently published an article that manged to turn this fact into the basis for calling for more DUI convictions. You see, the State of Georgia collects lots of tax money to fund various projects when someone is convicted of DUI. And MADD wants us to believe that DUI convictions are down because drivers are taking advantage of the legal system, when in fact, some drivers are exercising their constitutional and statutorily granted rights. MADD and Georgia prosecutors  think the conviction rate is down because more drivers are exercising their right to refuse a breath or blood test.

Read more: More Georgians refusing sobriety tests

Rolling down your window at a check point

georgia drivers licenseBy Jessica Towne

There's a "controversial" YouTube video by the Fair DUI flyer folks about how to get through a DUI checkpoint without comprising your 4th amendment rights or even worrying about your Miranda rights. In the video, which was shot in Florida, the driver has placed his drivers' license, proof of insurance and registration, along with a "fair DUI flyer" which reads "I remain silent. No searches. I want my lawyer" inside a clear baggie which hangs outside his window. Will the cops let him through? They do! A miracle! You can watch it here.

Will this work in Georgia?

Read more: Rolling down your window at a check point

The difference between having a license revoked or suspended

Georgia drivers licenseBy Jessica Towne

I blogged earlier about what happens when your Georgia driver's license is cancelled. Now, we'll look at the other two ways Georgia drivers can lose their driving privileges, revocation and suspension.

According to the DDS:

"...Your driving privileges are terminated and withdrawn until the end of the period of time prescribed by DDS. At the expiration of the revocation period, you may apply for a new driver's license once you satisfy the certain requirements."

"...Your driving privilege is temporarily withdrawn for a specific period of time. At the expiration of the suspension period, you may apply for a driver's license once you satisfy the requirements."

Somehow they make revocation and suspension sound nearly identical. There are important differences.

Read more: The difference between having a license revoked or suspended

Cancelled Georgia driver's license

GAlicensejesBy Jesica Towne

You can lose your driving privileges in Georgia three ways:
Cancellation, Revocation, and Suspension.

This article reviews cancelled licenses

If you consult the Georgia Department of Driver Services website, you'll find that DDS will cancel your driver's license "if you fail to give the required or correct information needed in your application or if you are otherwise ineligible." And, helpfully, "you may reapply once you satisfy the requirements." It won't tell you what might cause your license to become cancelled in the first place or what happens if you are caught driving with a cancelled license. So I will.

Read more: Cancelled Georgia driver's license

How DUI field tests really work

traffic stopBy Jessica Towne

Miranda warnings don't apply at the side of the road. The police do NOT have to read you the Miranda warning until you are in custody. When the police are talking to you at a traffic stop, they are gathering the evidence they need to determine if you can be arrested for DUI. They can, and will, ask you all kinds of questions during this process. Since you are not "in custody," they do not read the Miranda warning to you before they start asking you questions.

Read more: How DUI field tests really work

What you must know before you talk to the police

don't talk to the policeBy Jessica Towne

So, you've been arrested, say for something simple, like DUI. You've been read the Miranda warning and you feel that you know what is going on. I'd suggest you call your lawyer before you talk. Because you probably don't know the police don't have to follow the same rules that everyone else does. For instance:

5 scary things about police interviews

1. The police interrogators are allowed to lie to you.
They can make stuff up, like "we have you on camera" or "an eyewitness described you to us" or "your buddy is next door telling us that you planned this together" even if there is no video, no eyewitness and your buddy has exercised his right to remain silent (or is off at grandma's house in Florida). No judge is going to rule that your confession is inadmissible because the police lied. The jurors don't care that the police lied, and even though the judge will instruct the jury that what the police say in the recording is not evidence, the jury may consider the police statements. We just don't know.

Read more: What you must know before you talk to the police