Archive for the ‘Criminal Defense’ Category
What you need to know about your Georgia DUI
by Patrick McDonough.
Driving under the influence of alcohol is an offense that the State of Georgia does not take lightly. Although DUIs are typically considered misdemeanors, there can be extenuating circumstances that advance it to be a felony charge.
Typically, the officer will first try to establish how much you have had to drink and then request you take field sobriety tests (“FST”). Often this will include (1) the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test; (2) the 9 step Walk and Turn and (3) the One Leg Stand. Most people believe they are required to take these tests; you are not. These tests serve to bolster an officer’s grounds to arrest and are of little benefit to the driver. Also, the officer may ask you to blow into a handheld machine on the side of the road. This is known as the preliminary breath test. This is not the state administered test, and there are no penalties for refusing to take this test.
When arrested for a DUI, Georgia law requires the driver to take a chemical test to measure their blood alcohol content (BAC). This must be taken as soon as possible from the time they were last driving, and the officer decides whether a breath, blood or urine test will be taken. The officer must explain that, if the motorist decides to take a test, then they have the option of asking for another test at their own expense and they can choose where to take it. The officer must read an implied consent notice explaining that refusal to take a chemical test results in license suspension for at least one year and that the refusal may be used against him or her in court.
If a person refuses this test, even on a first lifetime DUI, a person’s driver’s license may be suspended for one year without being eligible for a work permit.
Georgia’s laws make it illegal for drivers of all ages to operate motor vehicles if they have blood alcohol content (BAC) percentages of 0.08 percent or higher. The minimum percentage of alcohol needed for arrest drops to 0.04 percent if the suspect is operating a commercial vehicle and lower to 0.02 percent if they are below 21 years of age.
If the driver took a chemical test with a result of 0.08 percent or greater, or if they refuse to take it entirely, the driver has only 10 days to request a special hearing in order to save their right to drive. If this deadline is missed, the driver’s license will be suspended.
Specific DUI penalties depend on the motorist’s age, license type and previous DUI convictions. However, penalties usually consist of license suspension or revocation, possible jail time, alcohol and drug evaluations and recommended treatment if any, and increased car insurance rates in addition to varying fines and court costs.
DUI charges are serious, and the law is ever changing. When selecting your representation, it is imperative you hire someone who specializes in DUI law, has trial experience and is familiar with the prosecutors.
Patrick McDonough and Trinity Hundredmark at Andersen, Tate & Carr, P.C. have combined experience of more than 30 years representing drivers facing Georgia DUI charges.
For more information or to request a case evaluation, call our law office at (770) 822-0900. We have been very successful at reaching the best possible outcome for our clients, and our attorneys are here to help you through this difficult and stressful time.
There is a general misconception that Federal courts handle severe offenses, while State courts handle less harsh crimes. However, this isn’t always the case. In fact, Federal courts deal only with violations against Federal law. If an offense goes against both Federal and State law, the Federal courts can decide whether they will pick up the case.
A good example of this would be if a law enforcement agency found a stockpile of drugs ready for distribution. Although the charges from this type of circumstance are not unusual for a Georgia state courthouse, a Federal court is also entitled to take the case for prosecution.
Although Federal courts have the option of picking up certain cases from the State, this freedom is not a two-way street. Violations involving only Federal laws are reserved for the Federal jurisdiction. A main focus for Federal institutions includes large-scale drug operations, terrorism cases, crimes occurring in more than one state, firearm charges and robbery of federally insured (FDIC) banks.
Many of the crimes committed in Georgia are in direct violation of State law, putting Georgia’s courts in a better position to deal with these cases. In fact, most crimes committed in Georgia—DUI, theft, murder, battery, property crimes, and so on—are handled by State and local courts.
A federal prosecutor’s decision to take a case is based on a variety of factors, including the extent of the criminal activity, the current priorities of the federal government and the amount of public awareness about the case. Federally convicted felons are in for the long haul, as Federal Law does not allow for parole and inmates typically serve at least 85% of their sentences.
Regardless of whether you have been charged with a State or Federal crime, it is important that you get the legal counsel of a qualified criminal defense attorney. Patrick McDonough and Trinity Hundredmark at Andersen, Tate & Carr, P.C. have more than 30 years of combined experience representing both Federal and State offenses.
For more information or to request a case evaluation, call our law office at (770) 822-0900. Our goal is to reach the best possible outcome for our clients, and our attorneys are here to help you in a difficult and stressful time.
What to Do If Your Teen is Caught Shoplifting
by Patrick McDonough
Most parents are shocked when their child is caught for shoplifting. After all, these offenders are often good kids from good families that maintain above-average grades. One bad judgment call can result in an offense that is subject to both civil and criminal penalties. If prosecuted, the stigma can follow these young offenders longer than imaginable.
People tend to think of shoplifting as taking an item without paying for it. The offense, however, can take many forms. Aside from concealing or taking possession of merchandise, a shoplifting charge can be brought for altering or switching price tags, transferring unpaid goods from one container to another, or anything else wrongfully causing the amount paid to be less than the merchant’s stated price.
In the state of Georgia, offenders that are 17 years of age or older are prosecuted as adults. The child or teen is charged with a misdemeanor if the total retail value of the items adds up to $500 or less, which can lead to a maximum sentence of 12 months in jail and a $1000 fine. The charge becomes a felony if the retail value of the items exceeds $500, potentially leading to between 1 and 10 years incarceration in addition to any applicable fines.
If your child has been accused of theft, the first thing you should do is speak to a qualified criminal defense attorney. They will be able to advise you of what steps need to be taken and what to expect throughout the process.
Theft is something that retailers take very seriously, having cost them over $112 billion worldwide last year alone. There is a perception that stealing from larger companies creates less harm, but they are more likely than smaller retailers to have zero-tolerance polices. After the store notifies authorities, the arriving officer has the discretion to either issue a citation or arrest the suspect.
Unless handled properly, the arrest and conviction will remain on your teen’s permanent record for life. Even with Juvenile offenders, there are steps needed to seal the record.
The most important step a parent can take to keep their teen’s future safe is to call a qualified criminal offense attorney. Patrick McDonough and Trinity Hundredmark at Anderson, Tate & Carr, P.C. have combined experience of more than 30 years representing teens in shoplifting cases. For more information or to request a case evaluation, call our law office at (770) 822-0900.
Our goal is to reach the best possible outcome for our clients, and our attorneys are here to help your family through this difficult and stressful time. We have been very successful at getting shoplifting cases dismissed and the arrest expunged, all while preserving the child’s good name.
Both shocking and concerning, the recent incidents of children dying after being left unattended in vehicles is a topic near and dear to many Americans. Tuesday July 15th, Patrick McDonough was asked to join the Nancy Grace Show as an expert defense attorney to offer his insights on these recent tragedies and explain the potential outcomes of these criminal cases. Filling in for Nancy Grace, Jean Casarez facilitated discussion surrounding these latest cases.
Cooper, a 22-month-old baby boy was left for dead in his father’s car after a long, hot summer day. Cooper’s father, Justin Harris, is currently imprisoned, waiting for what will most likely lead to a Grand Jury Trial. However, if the District Attorney’s Office does not make an indictment in the next 62 days, Harris may walk on bond. While many are focused on the potential conclusion of Harris’s case, Casarez looked to McDonough for his unique insight as to what might happen to Leanna, Cooper’s mother.
McDonough told Casarez that the DA’s Office will be conducting a rigorous investigation along with the Cobb County Police Department to determine the association that Leanna had in conjunction with this heartbreaking death. Employing a wealth of knowledge and a plethora of legal experience, McDonough explained to listeners that it is simply “too early to tell” what will happen to Leanna. While authorities were busy gathering evidence against Leanna, McDonough offered a unique perspective on the challenges the state faces in charging Leanna:
If authorities decide to indict Leanna and she becomes a co-defendant, she could invoke her 5th amendment and the prosecution would not be able to use testimony against her husband. “They’ve got a balancing test that they are weighing. First, do they have enough evidence to arrest her – which it doesn’t appear that they do at this time. And second, if its close, do they even want to go that route?”
Next, Mr. McDonough was asked to weigh in on his opinion concerning another disastrous case in which a father left his 3-month-old child in the car to die. While there are two sides to every story, McDonough dissected the facts, analyzed the situation, and communicated the important balance of justice when dealing with emotional cases such as the one at hand.
While court officials have claimed his statements to be inaccurate, the Forest Park, Georgia resident was allegedly told he was not allowed to have his child with him when he entered the Clayton County Courthouse Monday afternoon. Based on this understanding, Courtney Lamont Kidd took his daughter back to his vehicle and proceeded to attend his court hearing. While many are quick to attack Kidd for his actions, McDonough offers a logical and reasonable justification for people like Courtney.
While he believes these stories are positively raising awareness for child safety, McDonough knows, “It was still a poor choice and he should have tried to make other arrangements, but he’s facing and bench warrant if he doesn’t go to court.” In McDonough’s long tenure as a highly proficient defense attorney, he understands that some people think they can just run in, sign a guilty plea, and be done. McDonough has seen this in the past and has also represented clients similar to Kidd in the past – “god-fearing, wonderful, good people” who sometimes think ‘Hey, I can just go in quickly and get something done and come back out.” Kidd is one of these people – a good man who simply made a mistake – and even worse, he was trying to obey the rules.
Trinity Hundredmark recently appeared as a legal analyst on Nancy Grace on HLN.
A criminal defense and family law attorney and Partner at Andersen, Tate & Carr, P.C., Trinity discussed the case of little Alexa Linboom, a 5-year old Tennessee girl who was forced to guzzle the grape soda and water after she took “one or two grape drinks” that belonged to her stepmother. She was allegedly force-fed so much liquid that it caused the sodium level in her body to go down and caused her brain to swell. She died as a result.
Trinity also discussed a case involving Sick Kids Hospital of Toronto, who allegedly overdosed a teenage boy with 7 drugs in 7 hours. These drugs were nearly life threatening and were given without any prior testing or blood work completed by the hospital and despite objections by the boys’ parents.
Catch her tonight on HLN from 3-6 as she sits on Verdict Watch in the Michael Dunn trial.
Trinity Hundredmark recently appeared as a legal analyst on Nancy Grace on HLN.
A criminal defense and family law attorney and Partner at Andersen, Tate & Carr, P.C., Trinity discussed the case of missing Orlando mother Michelle Parker. At the time of the broadcast, new video was released that showed Michelle Parker’s car, its exterior altered, hours after her cellphone was dumped, and she was last seen alive at the home of her ex-fiancé. In addition, Trinity commented the suspicious disappearance and stunning discovery of the remains of the McStay family in the Mojave Desert. The McStay family had been missing since February 2010.
This week, a motorcyclist riding about 50 yards from a dirt road found two shallow graves containing the skeletons of Joseph and Summer McStay and two children believed to be their young sons, Gianni and Joseph Jr. Dental records confirmed the couple’s identities, and detectives have concluded that all four were homicide victims. No suspects have been identified.