A county commissioner from Macon-Bibb County was arrested for a DUI charge in the early hours of Friday, February 22, 2019. Commissioner Virgil Watkins, age 34, was elected to represent District 8 in 2013.
A Georgia State Patrol Trooper, Micheal Brock, pulled over Watkins just after 1 a.m. on Friday after Watkins almost ran a red light at the intersection of Fifth and Poplar Streets while driving his 2009 Chrysler 300 L. This is near Terminal Station according to police reports. Watkins allegedly stopped well after the stop bar and within the intersection.
A Georgia State Patrol Cadet, Joshua Staff, smelled the strong odor of alcohol wafting from the vehicle and noticed that Watkins' eyes were watery and bloodshot. Watkins admitted to having "one beer at The Rookery" and agreed to submit to a field sobriety test in front of the officers. He allegedly had trouble with his eyes tracking smoothly during the tests.
The roadside breathalyzer, the Alco-Sensor, indicated that Watkins had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.106, at which point he was placed under arrest. Watkins declined to allow a blood sample to be taken after having been read the implied consent notice four times.
When a person refuses to use submit to a chemical test at the police station, there are certain ramifications that can impact a criminal case. With the help of an experienced DeKalb County DUI attorney, you can defend your case and protect your rights.
After you are arrested for suspected DUI, you will be read what is called the "implied consent warning" in Georgia, which basically states that failure to consent to the chemical test may result in the loss of your license for a minimum of one year.
If you refuse to take the blood, breath, urine, or other bodily substance test at the station, you face a hard one-year license suspension, during which time you will not be able to request a limited driving permit. No matter your situation, if you refuse, you will not be allowed to drive, even for work or school. Those who consent to the test, and blow over 0.08% BAC, are entitled to request limited driving privileges.
Change to Implied Consent Notice
A recent Georgia Supreme Court case has made a significant change in Georgia DUI law that greatly impacts the implied consent notice. As part of the notice that has been used for years, officers would say "Your refusal to submit to the required testing may be offered into evidence against you at trial." This is no longer true.
According to the Georgia Supreme Court, this statement and the use of that refusal at trial is a violation of an individual's right not to incriminate oneself. This important protection is crucial to helping defend your DUI case.
Consult a DeKalb County DUI Attorney
If you or someone you care for has been arrested for a suspected DUI, an experienced DeKalb County DUI attorney can look at the individual facts of your case to present the best defense. Contact us today for a free consultation of your case.