In all Atlanta DUI cases that do not involve chemical testing, the State uses circumstantial evidence against the accused. This is one of the biggest myths about a Atlanta DUI. In order to try to prove their case, the State will show the manner of driving, the appearance of the accused, the odor of alcohol on a person’s breath or person, and the ability to perform physical agility tests (also known as field sobriety tests). Even, the alleged refusal to submit to testing is circumstantial evidence of guilt.
This is one of the way’s they (the State) get’s you to admit guilt.
In fact, Atlanta juries are instructed that they can presume that a person refused testing because they were aware that they would not pass a chemical test. However, that is a rebuttable presumption. So, the ability to convict a person of DUI in Atlanta on circumstantial evidence is actually codified in our law. Our law is designed to allow a conviction by circumstantial evidence alone.
Very often a Client will say, “they don’t have any evidence against me.” This statement reveals a lack of understanding as to what constitutes evidence.
Direct evidence proves a fact without the need for reasoning or inference. Eyewitness testimony is an example of direct evidence. A chemical test, such as a breath test is also an example of direct evidence. If a person witnesses snow falling from the sky,that is direct evidence that it is snowing.
A fact can also be proved by inference and reasoning. This is called circumstantial evidence. With circumstantial evidence, reason and common sense must be applied to the circumstances proved. So, if a person wakes up in the morning and sees snow on the ground that is circumstantial evidence that it has snowed over-night. This would most certainly be sufficient evidence to prove (circumstantially) that it has snowed.
As anyone can see, if there was a need to prove that it had snowed over-night, it would not be necessary to have direct evidence of the snow falling from the sky. Circumstantial evidence would be more than sufficient.
In Atlanta, Juries are instructed that they can consider circumstantial evidence in deciding the guilt or innocence of the accused, and that the comparative weight of circumstantial evidence versus any direct evidence is for the jury to decide. However, juries are also instructed that to convict on circumstantial evidence alone (implying that a jury can convict on only circumstantial evidence) the evidence must preclude any other possible explanation in the case.
Specifically, Georgia law states: “To warrant a conviction on circumstantial evidence, the proven facts must not only be consistent with the theory of guilt, but must exclude every other reasonable theory other than the guilt of the accused.
If you or anyone you know has been charged with a DUI in Atlanta, you are going to need an Attorney that understands the system. Contact the Howard Law Group ASAP