On July 7, Atlanta Police arrested Justin Hamilton, an off-duty DeKalb County Police detective, after he hit a pedestrian. Hamilton is accused of driving under the influence of drugs – Atlanta Police have not revealed what drugs they suspect Hamilton of taking.
According to reports, Hamilton was driving on Northside Drive near I-75 when he ran up on a sidewalk and struck the pedestrian. Though not seriously injured, the pedestrian was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital after he complained of leg pain. After failing field sobriety tests, Hamilton was charged with DUI and Reckless driving.
Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training records reveal that Hamilton has been working with Dekalb Police since May 2017. A Dekalb County Spokesman said that though Hamilton was off-duty and driving his own vehicle during the accident, Hamilton will still be placed on administrative leave pending an internal investigation per DeKalb County Police protocol and procedures.
Elements of a DUI Case in Fulton County
In Fulton County, a DUI case is comprised of two key elements: (1) driving or operating a vehicle; and (2) being under the influence of alcohol, drugs, inhalants, or some combination.
As a Fulton County DUI Attorney, I get a lot of questions about the first element. Many people want to know if they actually have to be driving in order to receive a DUI in Fulton County. The quick answer is no. Although the law defines DUI as driving a motor vehicle on the road, Georgia Courts have expanded this to being in “physical control” of a vehicle. This includes operating a vehicle in a parking lot and even just having the key in the car's ignition.
The second element is when a person is driving and has a blood alcohol concentration of .08 grams or more OR if they are a less safe driver due to the consumption of alcohol or drugs.
The prosecution has the burden of proof. That means they have to prove beyond all reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty of the crime they have been charged with. In a DUI case, prosecutors may (but is not limited to) include the manner of driving, the order of alcohol, the ability of the suspect to follow directions, field sobriety testing, physical appearance, the results of a chemical test or even the refusal to take a chemical test as evidence.
Further, a charge of Driving Under the Influence is a general intent crime. This means that the prosecutor must only prove that you were driving under the influence and not that you intended to drive under the influence. Consequently, saying you didn't mean to drink and drive is not a defense.
As a Fulton County DUI Lawyer, I know that the elements of a DUI case are complicated. In many circumstances, the average layperson cannot pursue the many legal and factual defenses on their own. If you have received a DUI in Fulton County, call our office today.