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Dorsey v State – you can run but you cannot hide from a DUI

Dorsey v. State, A14A0321, Court of Appeals of Georgia, April 21, 2014.  Duandre Jamar Dorsey was found guilty by a jury of failure to yield, DUI less safe, serious injury by DUI.  The jury found Dorsey not guilty of aggravated battery on a police officer.  He appealed arguing that there was insufficient evidence to support his convictions. On September 17, 2001, a City of Dalton Police Officer was in a parking lot attempting to reboot his patrol car computer when he heard tires squealing. He looked up and saw a car pull into traffic and almost collide with an approaching vehicle. He followed the car and initiated a traffic stop. He pulled the driver out for DUI field tests including HGN (6/6 clues), Walk and Turn (4/8 clues), one leg stand (2/4 clues), and a portable alcohol breath test which registered positive for alcohol. The Officer informed Dorsey that he was under arrest for DUI. Dorsey resisted, pushed the officer away, and got in his car to flee.  The Officer chased Dorsey and held onto him while Dorsey drove away until he fell away broke his arm and dislocated his shoulder.  Dorsey escaped but his car was found with both open and closed containers of alcohol. Three days later Dorsey was arrested on a tip.

Despite no accident, no video, and only the testimony of the Officer, the testimony of a single witness is enough to establish the fact of failure to maintain lane. See former OCGA § 24-4-8 (2012). Dorsey was tried before January 1, 2013, the effective date of the new Evidence Code. As to the DUI, Dorsey argues that his behavior was not consistent with someone who is DUI as Dorsey did not commit any traffic violations while the Officer followed him; he was initially cooperative; he did not sway during the HGN or the one-leg stand; he followed the instructions on the walk and turn. The Court of Appeals found that his odor of alcohol, manner of driving into the roadway, performance on DUI field tests, positive breath tests, open containers of alcohol found in his car, and decision to flee the scene was enough for a Jury to find him guilty.  The Court of Appeals cited the following authority for their decision: Hinton v. State, 319 Ga. App. 673, 675-676 (738 SE2d 120) (2013) (evidence sufficient to support appellant’s conviction for DUI less safe included sergeant’s testimony that appellant was speeding and driving onto the sidewalk, had a smell of alcohol on her breath, was belligerent, and failed the HGN test); Corbin v. State, 305 Ga. App. 768, 769-770 (1) (700 SE2d 868) (2010) (evidence supporting a conviction for DUI less safe included defendant’s erratic driving, his odd and belligerent behavior, the odor of alcohol on his breath and his person, and an open container found in his truck); Merritt v. State, 288 Ga. App. 89, 94 (1) (653 SE2d 368) (2007) (the jury was entitled to consider the defendant’s flight from the scene as evidence that it was less safe for him to drive); Lee v. State, 280 Ga. App. 706, 707 (634 SE2d 837) (2006) (evidence supporting DUI less safe conviction included driver’s speeding, his odd behavior, the odor of alcohol on his breath, and the two open containers in his vehicle).

-Author: George Creal

Atlanta DUI | DUI Atlanta