Do you understand your Miranda rights?

By Jessica Townemiranda

We've all heard the Miranda warning on TV shows and movies. Some of us have heard it on a more personal level.

If you're on the receiving end of a Miranda warning be warned:

  • the interrogating officer doesn't have to tell you what the maximum punishment is that you face.

Miranda & roadside stops

Do not wait until you hear a Miranda warning to exercise your right to remain silent. Many people believe that just because the Miranda warning wasn’t read to them, the whole stop was illegal. They are wrong.

The Miranda warning protects an individual’s rights when they are (1) in custody, and (2) being interrogated. Georgia Courts say Miranda doesn’t apply on roadside stops. It only applies after being taken into custody or otherwise deprived of freedom of action in any significant way.

So, if you are stopped, expect that police officers will only read the Miranda warning after you have been arrested, and then only if they plan to question you. Make sure you know what to do during a traffic stop.

Read more: Do you understand your Miranda rights?

Atlanta area community service opportunities


By Jessica Towne

So, Your case is over and now you have to perform community service...

Anyone convicted of DUI or any crime in the Atlanta area can be required to perform community service as part of their sentence. Generally speaking most non-profits use people who are required to perform community service hours. Make sure you confirm this information BEFORE you sign up. Most non-profits have no problem with folks who've had DUIs or other traffic charges. Drug charges & theft are a little more sensitive.

If you've been sentenced to perform community service, your case is over. If you don't understand why you need to do community service, talk to the lawyer who represented you.

The following information is provided as a community service to you! Community service can be fun.

Before you volunteer with the first worthwhile cause you find, make sure you know the rules the court insists you follow.

Read more: Atlanta area community service opportunities

101 Ways to Beat a Marijuana Charge in Georgia

101-ways-to-beat-a-marijuana-charge-in-Georgia-the-bookBy Jessica Towne

We are very pleased to announce David Clark's new book "101 Ways to Beat a Marijuana Charge in Georgia," a comprehensive guide to getting out of a marijuana charge in Georgia. Mr. Clark, a former Judge, provides inside tips from his 20-plus years of experience as one of Georgia's top criminal defense lawyer defending pot smokers.

It's gotten rave reviews from people like Allen St. Pierre, Executive Director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) in Washington, D.C., who says:

“David Clark has opened up his treasure trove of unique legal strategies, interesting anecdotes and personal insights for the average cannabis consumer in Georgia (and in most parts of the United States). With nearly 850,000 annual arrests for cannabis nationwide—90% for possession only—it behooves the prudent cannabis consumer to read, and absorb, David’s legal pearls of wisdom. Remember, forewarned is forearmed.”

Read excerpts from "101 Ways to Beat a Marijuana Charge in Georgia":


Order your copy of "101 Ways to Beat a Marijuana Charge in Georgia."




DUI & your college career

By Jessica Towne

graduation_cap on Atlanta DUI lawyer

In this blog series I discuss the legal, financial, and career implications of getting a DUI as a minor.

DUI & College

If you are a high school senior who has already been accepted by a college when you get a DUI, consider yourself lucky; colleges usually won't worry about a student's DUI charge or conviction unless he or she is actually enrolled. Likewise, a high school DUI shouldn't affect your chance of getting into college (and may even make a compelling application essay). Many colleges ask for criminal history, so it's likely they will know. If you are arrested right before you start college, you may be required to tell your school. Things change radically once you are in college or even just on campus.

One student's story:

Read more: DUI & your college career

DUI & college & minors

By Jessica Towne

DUI & minors has its own section of the Atlanta DUI blog

I practice in metro Atlanta where there are not only many universities and colleges, there are lots of college-age kids. I’ve seen quite a few cases over the years where, if my student client was convicted of a DUI, his college career would be over.

With the Huffington Post publishing an easy-to-read article describing, with the help of bold graphics, which colleges arrest the most kids, it’s time to take a deep breath and really focus on what’s important. At first glance, The Huffington Posts’ article seems a little scary—aren’t you glad you don’t attend school in Wisconsin where the campus cops are proven to be handcuff happy? It’s not that simple. Campus police vary from university to university. Much like city police departments, they don’t even agree on how to categorized their arrests. If your school is not on that list, it doesn’t mean you can sit back and sip a tall one in plain sight on campus.

What every college student and parent of a college student should know about campus alcohol and drug arrests:

Read more: DUI & college & minors

What is the "10-day" rule?


By Jessica Towne

You have 10 days to appeal a license suspension

Our Gwinnett and Forsyth DUI clients have a lot of questions about their arrests and what happens next. The #1 question we get, without a doubt, is "What is the “10-day rule?”  The 10 day rule means  that if the officer kept your driver’s license and gave you a large, yellow sheet of paper as your temporary license (check your wallet or purse; don’t bury this paper!), you have 10 days to appeal a license suspension.

If you still have your plastic license, verify it is still valid by:

Read more: What is the "10-day" rule?

Never consent to any search

David Clark's 101 WaysHere is an excerpt from David Clark's book "101 Ways to Beat a Marijuana Charge in Georgia." You can get your copy here.


Atlanta DUI Strategy 1: Never consent to any search

Your constitutional rights can be waived, or given up. For example, when you plead guilty in court you are waiving your Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial.  When you agree to talk to the police while you’re under arrest you are waiving your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent.  When you enter an airport you are waiving your Fourth Amendment privacy rights; you are consenting to a search in exchange for the right to board a commercial plane.  Similarly, if you enter a concert or a public building like a courthouse you are also voluntarily subjecting yourself to search and seizure for the purpose of public safety.

In some situations, the law provides that you be informed of what your constitutional rights are before you waive them.  Judges take great care in court to remind people of all the rights they are giving up when they plead guilty to even a minor offense like speeding.  If the police wish to question you while you are under arrest they’re required to read the Miranda warning (you have the right to remain silent, anything you say can be used against you, you have the right to speak to an attorney, if you can’t afford one, one will be appointed to help you, etc.)

Read more: Never consent to any search

Are illegal drugs treated differently than alcohol DUIs?


By Jessica Towne

Short answer: you bet they are.

Long answer:

  • In Georgia any case involving illegal drugs, including DUI, a "drug surcharge" of fifty percent (50%) is collected in addition to the fine.  A driver may be accused and convicted of drug possession along with DUI.
  • Possession of less than an ounce of marijuana is a misdemeanor in Georgia; however, if the amount is more than an ounce, it is a felony.
  • Possession of cocaine, crack, methamphetamine, LSD, MDA, steroids, or any other controlled substance, now including "ecstasy" and gamma hydroxybutyric acid (the so-called "date-rape drug") is punishable as a felony regardless of the amount.

    Read more: Are illegal drugs treated differently than alcohol DUIs?

All About Drug Dogs

By Jessica Towne

David Clark Atlanta DUI Lawyer

Here is an excerpt from David Clark's book "101 Ways to Beat a Marijuana Charge in Georgia." You can get your copy here.


Strategy 41: Drug dog not credible

People like dogs; unfortunately this outpouring of affection and respect for our loyal, furry friends has resulted in some bad law. At your home, and on the street, dogs are terrific pets, great friends and can assist in certain things like bomb sniffing and helping blind people find their way. I don't know what we would do without dogs.

Read more: All About Drug Dogs