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DUI? Blame your liver!

Jessica Towne gwinnett dui lawyerBy Jessica Towne

Must be 50 ways to love your liver....

As you enter your 40s, most people find they can’t drink as much as they used to. As busy working folks who rarely have time for a drink, most don’t even notice this until after having three drinks at a celebration and wondering why the room is spinning. In past blogs, I discussed how changing tolerance and body composition affect your ability to drink. Today, I’m sorry to report on your liver.

Read more: DUI? Blame your liver!

How to get a Georgia license when your home state license is suspended

Jessica Towne Gwinnett County DUI lawyerBy Jessica Towne

Jessica Towne, a DUI lawyer based in Gwinnett County, GA, answers readers questions in a monthly series called Ask Jessica. Here's the latest.

I just moved to Georgia from out of state. My current license is suspended because of a DWI arrest in my former state. I only have three months left on suspension. Should I apply for a GA license now or do I need to wait until my license from my home state is restored?

Read more: How to get a Georgia license when your home state license is suspended

Newest excuse cops use for a traffic stop

atlanta highway on clarktowne.comBy Jessica Towne

Do you drive on Georgia roads? Then you better know that they’ve just changed the driving laws again. Effective this July 1, it is now illegal to drive in the left hand lane (not the hov lane) and stay there when you are being over taken from the rear by another vehicle traveling faster than you.

Move Over!

In other words, pass on the left and then move back over. Stop hogging the left lane (or as I was taught to call it the passing lane). There are a few common-sense exceptions to this rule, such as when there is:

  • traffic congestion,
  • bad weather,
  • left hand exits, and
  • emergency vehicles and the like.

The Penalties

What happens if you move into the left lane and hang out there, forcing people to go around you on the right? Well, you my friend, are impeding the flow of traffic, justifying a police traffic stop and given a ticket. I always say, you don’t ever want to give cops any reason to stop you. Simple traffic stops have a nasty way of blowing up into something bigger. It’s how I get many cases.

So, be a nice driver, be a safe driver, and be a legal driver and stop hogging the left lane.

The toughest state to get a DUI in?

Video camera on Clarktowne.comBy Jessica Towne

The Charleston Post Courier in South Carolina recently reported on the difficulty SC police have in convicting people they've arrested for DUI. The flaw, they think, is in the state's evidence requirement.


It's true that South Carolina has tough requirements before someone charged with DUI can be convicted. South Carolina requires all DUI arrests to be video recorded. That means driving, field tests and breath test all have to be captured on video.

South Carolina is the ONLY state that requires this.

Read more: The toughest state to get a DUI in?

Follow this one tip for a less stressful arraignment

gavel on Gwinnett DUI Lawyer Clark & TowneBy Jessica Towne

The Georgia Court of Appeals told a defendant* "tough luck" the other day.

The defendant, who was arrested for possession of marijuana, less than an ounce and driving under the influence, thought he should have more time to file various motions in his case because he hadn’t hired a lawyer before his arraignment. The judge noted the defendant had EIGHT MONTHS between his arrest and his arraignment, which is surely enough time to find a lawyer. If you plead "not guilty" without an attorney, you cannot file challenges to your case 10 days after your arraignment, and neither can your future attorney.

Read more: Follow this one tip for a less stressful arraignment

Is that officer up to the job

Jessica TowneBy Jessica Towne

A new online software course that allowed officers to jump to the end of a training course has been modified to no longer give credit to those who did not complete the entire training. It is unclear how many officers might have taken the speed courses.

I spend a great deal of time in court, and over the years I’ve heard many officers give testimony. I’ve also given training seminars to law enforcement. In my opinion, a well-trained officer is willing to concede the less-important details and knows how to answer questions using words that jurors are used to hearing every day. I've yet to meet this officer.

A poorly-trained officer isn't so much poorly trained, as much as a poor student. Some of us are better at certain aspects of our jobs, and we prefer some work tasks over others. I can question a poorly trained officer in court to point out that s/he didn't pay attention to details in training class, and how if s/he had been paying better attention, may have drawn a different conclusion.

If the police departments are using badly designed software that allows the officers to take the easy way out, nothing is being learned. It’s not that much different than an officer who doesn’t pay attention in class. Just cheaper and easier to track.


OTC drugs and alcohol

pharmaceuticals on Gwinnett DUI lawyer siteBy Jessica Towne

When you take an over the counter drug or a drug that was prescribed to you and then drink alcohol, you could unknowingly compromise your ability to drive.

One reason is due to an enzme. Your liver processes alcohol using a certain enzyme called ADH. It is responsible for breaking down some of the alcohol from a drink even before it is absorbed into the blood stream. Men naturally have more of this enzyme than women, and young men have more of it than older men. Certain drugs reduce this enzyme’s activity so that it can’t break down alcohol as it should. Drugs known to affect the enzyme include Tagamet, acetaminophen (Tylenol), Zantac, Verapamil, and Calan.

Read more: OTC drugs and alcohol

Ask Jessica: big speeding ticket

Jessica TowneBy Jessica Towne

Readers of my newsletter, The Georgia Driver, know that I write a regular column, Ask Jessica. Here is the question from June 2014. You can read archived newsletters here or call my office and I'll put you on the mailling list.

How to handle a BIG speeding ticket on your own

Question: I was clocked going 15mph over the speed limit on Buford Highway. Since I was going so fast, do I need a lawyer or can I handle this myself?

Answer: I’m frequently asked if I can help someone with this kind of speeding ticket. I usually turn down such requests unless there are special circumstances. Instead, I tell Georgia* drivers they can save time and hundreds of dollars by handling the ticket themselves. Just:

1.  Go to court yourself at the appointed day and time.

2.  Say either "not guilty" or "I want to talk to the prosecutor" when your case is called.

3.  Talk with the prosecutor once the judge has called all the cases.

This is the moment you’re waiting for. The prosecutor does not want a trial on another day any more than you do. Ask her to drop the speed to below 14 miles over the limit so it's not
reported to Georgia's Department of Driver Services. If she agrees, pay the fine and move on. If she doesn't agree, explain your circumstances in more detail. If she still won't budge, tell her you'd like to come back for trial
at which point you'd probably need to hire a lawyer. Keep in mind that even if the speed is reduced, the county still wants its money, so expect the fine to remain the same.

Of course, you can also hire an attorney and go to trial; but even a good attorney may not win.

*Please note: If you're licensed in another state and got a ticket while visiting Georgia, you should definitely speak to a ticket lawyer in your licensing state. Every state has its own rules when it comes to speeding.