Jeffrey E. Johnston

Evans Legal Issues Blog

Prescription drugs account for large number of Georgia arrests

When people think of drug charges, many people assume illegal drugs like marijuana. However, many possession of drug charges deal with prescription drugs that were legally issued by a medical professional. In Georgia, prescription drugs are involved in many substance seizures by law enforcement.

There are many ways people can abuse prescription drugs. Selling or redistributing prescription drugs and even being in possession of a prescription that does not have your legal name on it can all be cause for arrest.

Study looks at teen drivers' risk education program in Texas

Georgia residents with teenage children who are unsafe drivers may be looking into a drivers' risk education program. A Baylor University study shows that those programs with realistic, interactive elements are much more effective at making teens more aware of the dangers of certain driving behaviors. Researchers came to their conclusion after analyzing the Texas Reality Education for Drivers program.

The RED program takes place over a single day at a hospital. It combines traditional elements like lectures and videos with more reality-based elements: most notably, a guided tour of the ICU, emergency rooms and a morgue as well as conversations with health care staffers who have dealt with car crash victims. Teens also engage in activities like developing a contract with their parents.

Roundabouts can help reduce serious injury crashes

People in Georgia who drive on rural roads may encounter surprisingly dangerous circumstances at certain intersections. Because more rural roads have less traffic than urban or suburban streets, speed limits may be higher, and intersections have fewer controls. For example, some rural streets come together with only a stop sign despite having speed limits of up to 55 mph. The likelihood of a car accident can be increased when visibility is lowered at night, in poor weather or when vegetation is overgrown.

Traffic accidents that take place at these rural intersections can be serious, leading to severe injuries and even deaths. The severity of these crashes can be exacerbated by the high speeds involved. As a response, many areas seek to install traffic lights in order to minimize the dangers present. While traffic lights are proven to be effective in reducing the number of accidents at a junction point, they may be less so in reducing the severity of the crashes that do occur. Therefore, many traffic engineers are looking toward roundabouts as a solution for these rural roads. Roundabouts or traffic circles are less effective in reducing the number of crashes, but they can be far superior in reducing the severity of incidents.

Are a lot of drivers disobeying Georgia’s new ban on handheld use?

Earlier this summer, it officially became against the law to use a handheld phone while driving here in Georgia (unless it is in hands-free mode). However, despite this and the major dangers connected to this type of distracted driving, it appears that this conduct remains very common out on the state’s roads. This is what a recent AAA survey of drivers in the state suggests.

Of the surveyed drivers, 75 percent said that have seen other motorists driving with a phone in hand since the new law went into effect at the start of July.

Sometimes Intoxication Is A Defense

In the Georgia Code, the legislature has set forth numerous defenses to criminal prosecutions. One of the defenses I get numerous questions about is that of intoxication. Most people are curious if being under the influence of some substance forms a valid excuse for the commission of a crime. My response is to explain that sometimes it is a defense to a criminal act and sometimes it's not. Sounds like a typical answer from a lawyer doesn't it? Let me explain.

In Georgia, the law recognizes two forms of intoxication: 1) Voluntary intoxication and 2) Involuntary intoxication. Pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 16-3-4(c), voluntary intoxication shall not be an excuse for any criminal act or omission. In plain terms, if a person goes out and knowingly, willingly and voluntarily gets drunk and then shoots somebody, then that person cannot claim that the alcohol made them do it. The logic behind this is that when a person consumes an intoxicating substance, then that person should know that bad things can happen and will, therefore, be held accountable for those bad things.

Involuntary Intoxication

SOMETIMES INTOXICATION IS A DEFENSE

In the Georgia Code, the legislature has set forth numerous defenses to criminal prosecutions. One of the defenses I get numerous questions about is that of intoxication. Most people are curious if being under the influence of some substance forms a valid excuse for the commission of a crime. My response is to explain that sometimes it is a defense to a criminal act and sometimes it's not. Sounds like a typical answer from a lawyer doesn't it? Let me explain.

What Is Aggravated Assault?

Over my years of practice, I have found that aggravated assault is one of the most commonly charged violent crimes. I am asked on numerous occasions, "what is aggravated assault"? In this article, I would like to briefly discuss this very broadly defined crime.

Under O.C.G.A. § 16-5-21, a person commits aggravated assault when he or she assaults another person: 1) with intent to murder, to rape, or to rob; 2) with a deadly weapon or with any object, device, or instrument which, when used offensively against a person, is likely to or actually does result in serious bodily injury; 3) with any object, device, or instrument which, when used offensively against a person, is likely to or actually does result in strangulation; or 4) without legal justification by discharging a firearm from within a motor vehicle toward a person or persons. The penalty for an aggravated assault is not less than 1 year nor more than 20 years imprisonment. The sentencing judge does have the ability to impose a strictly probated sentence. In other words, jail is not mandatory for aggravated assault convictions. The penalty range does increase depending on the type of victim assaulted. For example, if the victim of an aggravated assault is a law enforcement officer, then the penalty range is from 5 years to 20 years. Furthermore, if the victim of the aggravated assault is 65 years old or older then the penalty range is from 3 years to 20 years.

Aggravated Assault

WHAT IS AGGRAVATED ASSAULT?

Over my years of practice, I have found that aggravated assault is one of the most commonly charged violent crimes. I am asked on numerous occasions, "what is aggravated assault"? In this article, I would like to briefly discuss this very broadly defined crime.

Cruelty to Children in the Third Degree

THE DEGREES OF CRUELTY TO CHILDREN PART 2

For the last two weeks, I've been summarizing and explaining the crime of cruelty to children. This week I'm going to finish up this series by discussing cruelty to children in the third degree. This crime is a misdemeanor and is the least severe of the potential cruelty to children charges. However, people still need to be aware of what constitutes the offense of cruelty to children in the third degree and the potential consequences.

Cruelty to Children in the Second Degree

THE DEGREES OF CRUELTY TO CHILDREN PART 2

In my last article, I began a discussion of the crime of cruelty to children. I began by defining and explaining cruelty to children in the first degree. This week I would like to do the same for cruelty to children in the second degree.

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