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Armour v. State – A12A0274 – Johnson County Drug DUI Appeal: When do you have DUI Drug Probable Cause?

Armor v. State – A12A0274 is an appeal of a Johnson County, Wrightsville, Georgia Jury Trial verdict heard on May 2nd, 2012. After a fatal collision, Defendant was arrested at the hospital. The Officer investigating the accident smelled burnt marijuana in the car, found small pieces of marijuana in the carpet of the car, and a bottle of prescription Xanax. At the hospital, the Officer noticed that the defendant’s eyes were dilated. He performed a Rhomberg test to check for distortion of the Defendant’s internal clock and look for eyelid fluttering that could indicate the presence of marijuana. The investigating officer testified that these field tests indicated that Defendant was an impaired driver. She was arrested and her blood drawn.

The Court of Appeals held that because Defendant failed field tests, along with other circumstances, there was probable cause for a DUI Drug arrest. The Court came to this conclusion even though the Rhomberg test has never been scientifically verified as an indicator of Marijuana Impairment or as a legitimate roadside impairment test. A proper Harper objection at the Trial Court level could have negated this damaging evidence.

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