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Frost v. State – New Evidence code means prior similar DUIs are rarely admissible

Frost v. State, A14A0730, Court of Appeals of Georgia, July 15, 2014.  Gary Frost was arrested for DUI after striking a gate at his condo complex. After a jury reached a verdict on the two counts of striking a fixed object and open container of alcohol, it was hopelessly deadlocked on the DUI charge.  Frost requested the Court receive the verdicts on the two underlying counts that the jury reached a verdict.  The Court refused. Defendant filed a plea in bar in former jeopardy on the retrial which the Court denied.  The Court of Appeals reversed finding that a jury stated in open court that they had reached a verdict which was also evidenced by the jury’s notes to the trial judge. The defendant could not be retried on the counts upon which a verdict had been reached.

Frost also appealed from the Trial Court order allowing his prior DUI convictions in evidence under OCGA 24-4-404(b) and 24-4-417. The Court of Appeals reversed the Trial Court because knowledge is not relevant in a DUI less safe case under 404(b) because DUI is a crime of general intent and one does not need to know he is driving under the influence to be convicted of DUI.  Further, the DUIs were not admissible under 417 because Frost did not attempt to suggest that he did not take the test because he did not understand it, did not know he could take a test, or that he would never take such a test.  Frost neither tried to explain his refusal in the current case, and he did not take and fail the breath tests in his prior DUIs but refused. Therefore, his prior DUI was not admissible.

Author: George Creal

Atlanta DUI Lawyers | DUI Atlanta