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Dude, Where is my DUI? Jurisdiction for a Georgia DUI arrest

Cherokee County DUI, Holly Springs, Georgia: Criddle v. State, A11A0044, Court of Appeals of Georgia, June 16, 2011.

A Holly Springs Police Officer received a call about a DUI on Hickory Road in the City of Holly Springs in Cherokee County. When the Holly Springs Police Officer got there, he found Criddle’s pick-up truck hanging precariously on the edge of his driveway with his rear wheels hanging over an embankment. Criddle was standing next to his truck with cuts and blood on his head and hands, red glassy eyes, a strong odor of alcohol on his breath, and very unsteady on his feet. He reportedly had been backing out of his driveway and driven his truck off the embankment. He gave blood at the scene.

Criddle move to have his arrest suppressed. Criddle’s house and driveway are in unincorporated Cherokee County while Hickory Road is in the city limits of Holly Springs, Georgia. The State introduced evidence that the city has a 100 foot right of way usually lined by power poles.  As it happens Criddle truck lay halfway over the 100-foot right-of-way line for Hickory Road. The Court concluded that the City of Holly Springs had jurisdiction in the right of way of Hickory Road.  Criddle argued that the trial court erred by finding beyond a reasonable doubt where the right of way was located.

The Georgia Constitution limits the jurisdiction of the police to the county or municipality by which the Police Officer is employed. Ga. Const. of 1983, Art. IX, Sec. II, Par. II(b); O.c.G.A. 17-4-23(a). (There are numerous and notable exceptions to this rule.) The Court of Appeals found that if a crime occurs on a boundary line between city and county jurisdiction for arrest can be in either venue. Further, if the boundary line can not be exactly determined it may be established by circumstances and tradition. See, Shuman v. State, 84 Ga. App. 585, 587(1)(1951). In the case at bar, the State introduced evidence that the right of the way extended 100 feet from the road and introduced pictures of the truck and a map. This was sufficient to find the jurisdiction of the arrest was proper in Holly Springs, Georgia.

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