Skip to main content

Are you a legal professional? Visit our professional site

Please enter a legal issue and/or a location
Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select

Georgia Woman Goes to Court for DUI Case, Gets Jailed for Smell of Alcohol?

Article Placeholder Image
By Javier Lavagnino, Esq. on April 08, 2009 5:19 PM

28-year-old Lauren Nicole Smith of Milton, Georgia, has discovered the hard way that going to court for your DUI case smelling like alcohol is a really bad idea. Last Friday, when she showed up in court to answer for a charge of DUI, the bailiff caught the smell of alcohol on her person while conducting a routine weapons-check. As a result, she ended up spending time in jail for contempt of court, which was a proceeding separate from the DUI case. The Atlanta-Journal Constitution noted:

"The law says you can't take a plea from somebody who may be intoxicated. After a short conversation with Municipal Court Judge Barry Zimmerman, His Honor issued a bench warrant citing her on the spot for contempt of court. Milton police then took her to the Alpharetta city jail to serve a two-day sentence."

People generally can't plead guilty while intoxicated because a plea is supposed to be made while the accused individual is competent, and in a knowing, voluntary, and intelligent manner. As a sidenote, however, it is possible for someone to make a valid (constitutional) plea despite having taken some drugs or alcohol, they just can't have had their faculties impaired to such a point that they did not understand their rights, the charges, and/or the potential consequences.

On a serious note, Ms. Smith appears to have a real drinking problem which, if not illustrated by her trip to court, was certainly demonstrated by the alleged circumstances of her original offense. An AP story described those:

"Police charged her with DUI Sept. 12 when officers found her parked in the middle of the road and she couldn't figure how to open her car door. Her blood-alcohol level was .34, well above the legal limit for driving of .08."

To top things off for Ms. Smith, her DUI case got continued to a court date in June, but hopefully by then she'll have gotten some help and sobered up.

Copied to clipboard

Find a Lawyer

More Options