Jim Yeargan: But keep in mind, when you refuse to do everything, you are going to get arrested. They’re not going to throw their hands up and say, “Oh, well you’re free to go.” But if you have been drinking, if you are intoxicated, and you don’t do the tests, you’re putting yourself in a better position to fight the charge; because they’re not going to have a whole lot of evidence to hold against you.
BIM: And when you are arrested, are they able to do the tests once they get you to the jail?
Jim Yeargan: In Georgia, they request that you take the tests. Now if you refuse, what they can do is, they can go to a judge, and everything’s computerized now, so it’s not like it used to be. They can get a warrant and do what’s called a forced blood draw. And they will take you to the hospital. And you know, if you fight them, you’ll actually be held down, and they’ll put a taser to you and say, “If you kick, we’re going to shock you,” and have a nurse draw your blood.
Jim Yeargan: Now, most jurisdictions don’t do that anymore. Some do, and some officers, any officer can go get this warrant. But they generally don’t, because by the time it takes them to contact the judge, do all the computer work, get the warrant, take you to the hospital, draw the blood, then take you to the jail, they could have been on the road and probably arrested three or four other people in that timeframe.
Jim Yeargan: So some officers will do that, but the majority are not going to actually go get a warrant and take your blood. So it is a possibility that they could force you, but they don’t do it the way they used to. That was very popular a couple of years ago. More officers were doing it. But generally speaking, most do not.
BIM: Well, that’s certainly good to know for anybody listening that can take that advice and use it to their advantage. But you know, what other fears go through their mind when they are first pulled over?
Jim Yeargan: Many times, they just, they equate it to a speeding ticket, because that’s probably … or a traffic ticket. That’s probably the encounter most people have with the police. So they think, “Well if I’m cooperative and I do everything the officer says, he’s going to let me go.” So that’s why a lot of people decide to do the field test. They decide to blow. You know, they basically go along to get along. And in a DUI case, it’s not like a speeding ticket, where they may issue you a warning or just charge you with a few miles over the limit. They’re not going to let you go once they smell the alcohol. So a lot of times, people have the misconception that if they’re very friendly, the officer will just release them. Now, it’s always good to be friendly. You know, there’s no need to be rude or fight. And again, be respectful. But that’s why I tell people to refuse everything because they’re not going to let you go. You’re just going to dig your hole deeper by trying to cooperate and agree with them.
BIM: Well, let’s talk about the difference that you’ve been able to make to some of your clients’ lives here, because like I said, it’s an extremely dangerous thing to be drinking and driving. But if you do get caught, and you need help, it can really have a positive outcome on your life to not have that on your record. So give me an example of a situation that you’ve come across where you were able to really help somebody out. And what did it mean to them?
Jim Yeargan: Absolutely. Recently, we had a pilot. We were able to get all of his charges reduced. And that meant he could keep his job. And pilots, those are great jobs, and they get paid a lot of money. Had he been convicted, he literally would have lost his ability to work, because they pull your pilot’s license. We’ve helped, recently, another person who was going through a child custody dispute. His wife was trying to use the arrest and everything against him, even though his kids were not in the car. It didn’t have anything to do, directly, with that situation. But of course, her attorney was trying to say, “Oh, he’s been arrested. He has a drug problem, an alcohol problem.” We were able to get all of that dismissed, so that wasn’t able to be used against him. So it’s really interesting how DUI affects so many different areas of a person’s life, depending on what’s going on at that particular moment.
BIM: Yeah. And I’m sure that’s pretty common. Divorce is still very common. And you know, if there is a DUI on somebody’s record, what does that mean as far as the custody of children and things like that?
Jim Yeargan: Absolutely. That, again, the other side can use that against them and try to say that, you know, they’re not fit to be around children, or they’re not a good parent. Even if it’s just the first arrest, they worry that this is going to develop into a pattern and keep occurring. So divorces are already contentious enough. Adding an arrest and now a criminal record into that doesn’t help. A lot of jurisdictions also post your mugshots online. So when people call, they’re worried about, “Oh, I’m going through a divorce. Is my soon to be ex-wife going to be able to find this?” And even if they’re not going through a divorce, or you know, “Will my employer see my mugshot online? If someone Googles my name, is this going to come up?”, things like that.
Jim Yeargan: So in this society, where everything, we have so much technology, that’s a huge downfall, placing those mugshots online.