Atlanta Motorist Refuses Test, Judge Lifts Driver’s License Suspension

The majority of the time, a person’s driver’s license is suspended due to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. There are other reasons why someone’s license may be suspended, but this article focuses on drinking and driving.

Recently, an article at revealed that a judge in Atlanta lifted the suspension of a motorist’s driver’s license after he refused to take a field sobriety test after being stopped for driving 55 mph in a 35 mph zone. David Leoni was stopped by an Atlanta police officer who claimed that while Leoni’s eyes were watery, they were not red. The police officer also claimed that Leoni exited his vehicle and walked without balance problems, and that he answered all questions appropriately. Leoni refused to submit to field sobriety tests, and told the officer he had been sleeping when friends called and asked him for a ride.

On New Year’s Eve, a Georgia administrative law judge ruled that an odor of alcohol on the breath, watery eyes, and even striking a curb are not sufficient evidence to determine that a motorist is drunk and his/her license should be suspended. In this case, the judge ruled that the officer did not have sufficient evidence to arrest Leoni for impairment, because a person’s ability to drive after consuming alcohol varies from one person to another. The judge ruled that a driver could only be considered drunk when he or she became incapable of driving safely while under the influence of alcohol. The judge’s ruling also stated insufficient grounds for the Dept. of Driver Services to suspend Leoni’s license; he restored Leoni’s license pending his criminal case.

The standards for DUI and suspending a person’s driver’s license have changed in many states. However, license suspension is still a consequence individuals will face in most states when arrested for driving under the influence. In Michigan, a first DUI conviction will result in license suspension for 30 days, followed by 150 days of restricted driving. In the case of high blood alcohol content (BAC of .17 or higher), a motorist’s license will be suspended for one year. Repeat offenders may have their driver’s license suspended or revoked for several years.

Losing the privilege to drive is life-changing for most people; it is impossible to function normally when you cannot drive to and from work or school, to attend social functions, even to chauffer the kids around or run errands. Driving is an essential part of our daily lives, and you never realize how important it is until your lose the privilege.

If your driver’s license has been suspended or revoked, it is crucial to work with an experienced Michigan driver’s license reinstatement attorney who is highly familiar with the complex process of having your driving privilege restored.

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