A 56-year-old member of the Athens school board was hit with an Alabama DUI charge on Tuesday afternoon after a witness reported seeing a motorist run over a stop sign, according to the Huntsville Times.
A Birmingham DUI defense attorney should be consulted as soon as possible after a motorist is charged with drunk driving. In cases where an accident is involved, pictures should be taken and other evidence collected regarding the facts and circumstances of the crash — even if the allegations only involve property damage.
Too often, there is little or no attempt at investigating the cause of a crash once a drunk driving allegation is made. In cases involving serious or fatal injury, the consequences of a conviction can mean years behind bars. But even in cases where property damage is alleged, as when a motorist strikes a parked car, mailbox, or street sign, probable cause can become an issue if it's shown that the accused motorists is not responsible for causing the crash.
Athens police say the school board member could not “satisfactorily complete” a field sobriety test and was brought to the police station, where he tested with a blood-alcohol level of .21 — over the legal limit of .08. A witness says the defendant's van hit a stop sign on Lucas Ferry Road at Jeffrey Street. He was arrested after pulling into his driveway. He has been a school board member since 2006 and had recently applied for re-appointment.
We are not sure what the term “satisfactorily complete” means when it comes to field sobriety testing. Such testing is conducted so that an officer can gather evidence (in his opinion) of your guilt. As such, we are tempted to say there is no such thing as “satisfactorily complete.” Let's just say that it is exceedingly rare that an officer charged with gathering evidence of your guilt will give you a subjective test that does not result in an opinion that you are guilty!
Too often, a motorist will attempt to take the tests with the hopes of “passing.” This is rarely (if ever) the case.
This case also illustrates the importance of getting out in front of a case when it comes to the court of public opinion. It has become increasingly more common for drunk driving charges or convictions to lead to job loss or other consequences at work. Hiring an experienced defense attorneys is typically money well spent (a DUI conviction can cost $10,000 or more in fines, jail time, court costs, increased insurance premiums and other costs) but that is never more true than when a job or political office is at stake.
Birmingham DUI Defense Attorney Steven Eversole can be reached at 866-831-5292.