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William C. Head
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William Head’s Legal Cases

79 total


  • Underage Georgia Tech Student Acquitted of DUI Despite Admitting Specifics about Consumption

    Practice Area:
    DUI & DWI
    Date:
    Aug 21, 1998
    Outcome:
    19-Year Old Acquitted of DUI at Jury Trial
    Description:
    Defendant, a nineteen year old Georgia Tech student from South Carolina, was stopped by an Atlanta DUI Task Force Officer for speeding (56 in a 35 mph zone). The smell of alcohol led the officer to ask about consumption of alcohol, to which Defendant answered in the affirmative. The officer indicated that the Defendant failed all three standardized field tests, and refused to submit to an Alco-sensor test, whereupon he was arrested. The officer's subsequent request for a breath test on the Intoxilyzer 5000 was also declined. All significant pre-trial motions were denied. At the two day trial, the Defendant testified that he knew that breath testing was optional, and stated that he declined because he was worried about being accused of "underage possession" of alcohol. He stated that he had taken a sip of a Goldslauger "shot" belonging to a friend, plus drank one "B-52". Using another fact witness (another Tech student) to corroborate the fact that Defendant drank very little and was the first among his group to leave the bar, the moderate amount of drinking was established. An expert witness for the Defense gave testimony that even if the drinks consumed amounted to the equivalent of four drinks, Defendant's blood alcohol level would have been .05 or less, based on his body weight and the amount of muscle mass in his body. A nolo contendere plea was entered to speeding prior to trial. The jury considered only the issue of "less safe" DUI (alcohol). After seventy minutes of deliberation, a not guilty verdict was returned on August 21, 1998.
  • Acquittal for Underage Vandy Student Home for Spring Break after She Wrecks Car and has 0.16 Breath Test

    Practice Area:
    DUI & DWI
    Date:
    Jun 05, 2001
    Outcome:
    Not Guilty at Bench Trial on 0.16 BAC Reading
    Description:
    L.C., who was 20 years old at the time, was home for Spring Break from Vanderbilt University. She was staying with her parents in the Gwinnett County home. That night, she went out with firends and had a single vehicle accident where she drove off the highway into a wooded area, striking several small trees. Her BMW was stuck in the wet soil next to the highway on a downhill slant, and could not be extricated. A high school friend passed by shortly after the incident and asks if he can help. She asked for his help but he could not get the car backed out either. So, he drove her to her home, a distance of less than 3 miles. No sooner than he delivered her to her parents' house the phone rang. It was the Lilburn Police Department who had found the car abandoned at the wreck location. The police had traced the car to her father, in whose name the tag was registered. Her father was cooperative with the officer, and followed the officer's instructions to bring L.C. back to the wreck location. The two of them traveled back to the location of her stranded BMW. Once at the scene, the officer wasted little time arresting L.C. for "failure to maintain lane" and DUI. Mr. Head was hired to defend the case. Mr. Head made the decision to leave the case in Lilburn Municipal Court, because the investigation had been handled in a way that made Mr. Head believe that the officer could not prove the case against her. No questions had been asked by the officer of WHEN the driving ended (with the wreck, WHETHER L.C. drank alcohol before or after the driving ended, WHAT CAUSED the wreck and other questions that could have supported both the prosecution for "per se" DUI (being over the legal limit) and the "failure to maintain lane". The case was called for trial, and the officer began testifying. That meant that "jeopardy" attached, and she could not be prosecuted here or elsewhere on these same charges. To almost all the Prosecutor's questions, Mr. Head objected, either on relevance (issues of impairment are of no consequence in a per se alcohol trial) or on issues of lack of a factual basis for drawing certain conclusions about when L.C. drove. Within 12 minutes of the testimony starting, the trial was over. Not guilty of all charges.
  • Porsche Driver Clocked at 117 m.p.h. & With 0.192/0.194 Breath Test Readings Acquitted of DUI at Trial

    Practice Area:
    DUI & DWI
    Date:
    Dec 08, 2006
    Outcome:
    Not Guilty to DUI Charge; Nolo to Speeding
    Description:
    A late night business meeting for client led to an Atlanta area Posche owner being pulled over for speeding on I-75 northbound. The video of the Client's encounter with the police officer showed atrocious manifestations, and the Client was clearly impaired. The officer even laughed at the condition of the driver as he attempted to respond to questions and to perform field sobriety evaluations. Predictably, the arrest for DUI, reckless driving and speeding followed. The Client met with Mr. Head who immediately identified several excellent issues in the case. One significant issue was that the uniform traffic citation only identified one type of DUI, the per se-alcohol offense for being over the legal limit of 0.08 grams percent. This could have been amended prior to trial, in order to add "impaired driving", but it never was done by the prosecutor. Mr. Head asked for a bench trial because the judge handling the case was extremely fair about ruling on motions and trial issues where the State's evidence fell short. On the morning of trial, Mr. Head offered to have his Client plead nolo contendere to either the reckless driving or the speeding, but not both. Mr. Head also offered the maximum fine of $1000 and also offered 40 hours of community service, The prosecutor accepted the speeding charge, leaving only the single "count" of DUI over the legal limit. The arresting officer testified, and stated that the Client AGREED to take a breath test at the station after he had been placed under arrest and given his advisements of the consequences of either submitting to the official test or refusing the test that would be available at the police station. The prosecutor never introduced the video tape, and rested his case without showing the video. Mr. Head began the cross-examination of the officer, and focused immediately on the claim that the driver had said he would take the State-administered test at the station. Mr. Head then requested that the video be played for the judge. The Prosecutor objected, claiming it was "the State's tape" and that the defense had no right to it. In this jurisdiction, the prosecution only allowed defense counsel to view the tape, not get a copy of it. The Judge immediately detected a problem because this videotape was NOT anyone's "property", and it was now claimed to be exculpatory evidence of a possible complete defense to the two breath test readings of 0.192/0.194. After a protracted time, the Prosecutor reluctantly turned over the tape pursuant to the Judge's demand for it to be played in court. As Mr. Head told the judge, the tape showed the Porsche driver TWICE say he was not going to submit to any test. Because a Georgia Court of Appeals decision by the name of Howell v. State from 2004 was directly on point, the Judge was compelled to exclude the breath test results. He then found the Porsche driver NOT GUILTY on the sole DUI charge, despite Mr. Head's Client being absolutely hammered on the videotape. The Client paid the fine and provided proof of the 40 hours of community service, which terminated the case with 0 points on his driving history and his full driving privileges.
  • Client Honored on Top Sales Award and Gets Arrested for DUI with 0.202/0.212 Breath Test Readings; Then Mr. Head wins Jury Trial

    Practice Area:
    DUI & DWI
    Date:
    Sep 24, 2002
    Outcome:
    Not Guilty on Both DUI Charges after 3-Day Trial
    Description:
    A regional manager for an Atlanta-based High Tech Company accepted the National Top Sales Award for his sales teams at Villa Christina Restaurant. At about 11:30 PM, he started home to Dunwoody, and was pulled over by a Dekalb County officer for allegedly changing lanes into her lane on northbound Ashford-Dunwoody Road as DB was moving over to gain access to I-285 eastbound. Despite being on I-285, the officer asked the 61-year old driver to attempt field sobriety tests as traffic zoomed by a few feet away, His roadside scores were extremely good, despite the hazardous conditions and poor lighting. Nevertheless, he was arrested and asked to submit to breath testing at the station that he was being taken to (Dekalb County Detention Center). As with all other requested police testing, he agreed to submit to these evaluations of his breath. The two breath results were a surprisingly high 0.202/0.212. DB's son was an attorney in Tennessee, and the son had tracked down Mr. Head through some Tennessee DUI specialists. DB wanted to fight the case because he knew something had to be wrong with the Intoxilyzer 5000 results. Mr. Head was hired to either get the case reduced, or to fight the case at trial. DB's job was at stake, despite being the top sales manager in America. The Prosecutor scoffed at any reduction of the DUI, in light of such high breath test readings, and Mr. Head requested a jury trial, realizing that DB would face both an "impaired driving" charge and a charge of DUI-alcohol per se for being over the legal limit. The jury trial lasted 3 full days. The prosecutor questioned Mary C. McMurray, the expert witness called upon by the defense to challenge the State's breath test machine, for over 9 hours over a 2-day marathon session. Despite this effort, the jurors were convinced that the high breath numbers were the result of the Intoxilyzer 5000 machine's inability to distinguish between true breath alcohol content from deep lung air versus "other causes" (DB had several relevant health issues including denture plates manufactured out of a pliable, absorbent material, Type II diabetes and being on a high protein diet at the time of his arrest). Futhermore, a co-worked of DB's at the celebration dinner testified that the alcohol amount for all attendees was controlled and paid for by the company that night, and that no one had over two glasses of wine. He also testified that at about 10:30 pm, DB gave a flawless "acceptance" speech (on behalf of his "team"). The Prosecutor's desperate effort to besmirch Ms. McMurray backfired. The jurors, who were lead by a female Biochemist with a Ph.D. degree were totally "on track" with Ms. McMurray's truthful portrayal of Georgia's dismal oversight of quality control at the GBI, and found DB "not guilty" of both DUI charges.
  • Rollover Wreck in Rainstorm Mars Female Client's Birthday; 0.25 Blood Test Almost Convinces Her to Plead Guilty. Not Guilty.

    Practice Area:
    DUI & DWI
    Date:
    Nov 14, 1995
    Outcome:
    Motions Asserted at Trial End 0.25 Case
    Description:
    On her 24th birthday, Client had celebrated a bit too much. As she negotiated a sharp curve in the road as she neared her apartment in a heavy Spring rainstorm, she missed the turn and drove her front right tire.up on the curb and the SUV overturned. The crash left her dazed and slightly injured, and the vehicle totalled. By the time police arrived, the Client was out of the vehilce (she climbed out the front windshield) and was sitting on the shoulder of the road. Emergency medical personnel were attending to her cuts and abrasions, and the police officer did little investigation after he smelled alcohol and saw the wrecked vehicle. The Client's older brother insisted that she not plead guilty, and offered to loan her the money to hire Mr. Head. He knew of Mr. Head's focus on difficult DUI cases, and had a close friend who had successfully avoided a DUI conviction when he hired Mr. Head. Client's brother also knew that she had a prior DUI within 5 years and that another DUI would take away her license and end her job, plus put her in jail. The case was called for trial, and the pre-trial motions were being heard by one of the Magistrate judges (who was sitting in for Dekalb State Court Judge Matthew Robins) before the jury was called in for selection. One of the pre-trial motions filed by Mr. Head was a motion to suppress based upon defective chain of custody of the blood results. The State started its proof of the propriety of the blood test results and (within 25 minutes) Mr. Head successfully blocked this effort because not all required witnesses had been subpoenaed and therefore were not present in court. Each effort by the Prosecutor to discuss the chain of custody "events" was met by Mr. Head with an objection to "hearsay" or "lack of a proper foundation"The 0.25 blood test result was never introduced, and (because the arresting officer never conducted any meaningful investigation of the case) the State had to drop the DUI charges. Client walked away with no DUI charge, thereby saving her job and learning a valuable lesson.
  • Not Guilty to All Charges Despite 0.17 and Harmful Admissions about Drinking 3 Kamikazis

    Practice Area:
    DUI & DWI
    Date:
    May 07, 1996
    Outcome:
    Not Guilty to DUI and Underlying Charge
    Description:
    Defendant K.J. was originally charged with two counts of DUI (less safe and per se) and driving left of center line. The arresting officer obtained a breath test of 0.17% and two field tests (Alco-sensor and the HGN "eye" evaluation). One officer made the stop, but called in a DUI Task Force officer to complete the arrest. The forst officer testified about the bad driving, even including the description of K.J. striking the curb with his right front tire as he made a left turn too wide. The task force officer testified to the usual manifestations of an impaired driver, and stated that Defendant had not been asked to do the one-leg stand and walk and turn field sobriety tests due to "safety" concerns due to his obvious imapirment. Magistrate Judge Warren P. Davis substituted for Judge Cook the day of the trial. By way of pre-trial motions, the test result was excluded by Judge Davis due to defective implied consent advisements. This eliminated the per se DUI count. The State's proposed use of a prior similar transaction was withdrawn on the eve of trial when the officer in the previous case could not be located. Despite the task force officer testifying that Defendant had admitted "having several beers and 3 kamikazes", and allegedly making the following unsolicited, spontaneous statement: "The kamikazes was what done me in," the jury acquitted Defendant after deliberating 21 minutes. The underlying charge of driving left of center was eliminated at the conclusion of the State's case by motion for directed verdict of acquittal. K.J. had been told by three different attorneys that his best bet was to plead guilty at Recorder's Court and do his jail time at the work release facility, so that he could go to work each day and possibly save his job. However, he would have lost his right to drive with the conviction and had no one to take him to and from work. He was told by each of them that he had "no chance" to win a second offense DUI case in Gwinnett County State Court.
  • Sale of Alcohol to a Minor Conviction Overturned at 162 Ga.App. 491, 292 S.E.2d 93 (1982)

    Practice Area:
    Criminal Defense
    Date:
    Nov 17, 1982
    Outcome:
    Selling Alcohol to Minor Charge Reversed on Appeal
    Description:
    Mr. Head was hired by an Athens bar owner to represent their female bartender, who had been accused or "selling alcohol to a minor." The bar was part of a citywide sting of establishments that poured alcohol by City of Athens Police Department. Mr. Head defended the case entirely upon her lack of intent, because intent was an element of this particular offense. The bar owners had assigned a male employee to check all identification at the door. Marcia M. was told that anyone inside was already checked by the doorman. The doorman and owners all testified that the doorman had "screwed up", and that it was totally his responsibility. Here is a quote from the case: In its instructions to the jury the trial court stated: “I charge you further that as this law states that is the duty of the person who is doing the furnishing or the selling to make a determination as to whether or not the person to whom the alcoholic beverage is being furnished or being sold or delivered, was in fact, a minor and that is not cured by someone else also having the duty, if they did have such duty, to make a determination as to who came in and went out of the place as a doorkeeper.” The trial judge, however, gave the jurors an instruction that all but negated the entire defense, Mr. Head objected to the improper instruction, because it made Marcia M's crime one of "strict liability", as he worded it. The jury convicted Marcia M, in large part due to the instruction. The Court of Apepals overturned the conviction. When the file was returned to the State Court of Clarke County, the Prosecutor was unwilling to seek another trial, due to Mr. Head's challenge to double jeopardy. Marcia M's record was cleared.
  • 0.199 Breath Test Overturned on Appeal - Reason for Stop: Weaving along I-20 Eastbound

    Practice Area:
    DUI & DWI
    Date:
    Feb 27, 2003
    Outcome:
    Conviction Overturned - 0.199 Test thrown OUT
    Description:
    Mr. Head defended a female Client from Alabama who was on her way to Georgia to visit her fiance when she was stopped in Douglas County, Georgia along I-20. She was stopped for weaving. The officer smelled alcohol, so he administered some field evaluations and then placed her under arrest. A breath test at the police station revealed two breath readings, the lower of which was 0.199. Mr. Head filed pre-trials motions and asked for a bench (non-jury) trial. The case had started in the Probate Court of Douglas County (prior to the creation of the Douglas County State Court). Mr. Head moved it to a jury trial court in Superior Court, where the bench trial was later requested. At trial, despite Mr. Head's motions to exclude the breath test results, the trial judge allowed the test results to be included in the evidence, over the defense objection. Mr. Head's Client, naturally, was convicted. Mr. Head immediately appealed. On appeal, the Court of Appeals saw the clear errors made by the Superior Court judge, David Emerson. The case is reported at 258 Ga.App. 411, 574 S.E.2d 451 (2002). The arresting officer had made three errors in giving the Client her advisements. First, he erroneously that her that if she refused to take the test, and “[i]f the results indicate ten or more,” her license may be suspended. The actual number was 0.10 grams, not 10. After this explanation, Mr. Head's Client again told Officer Holcomb she was not sure if she understood “exactly what you said,” and subsequently indicated, “you have very much confused me.” Officer Holcomb informed her that she had two choices, to take the test or not take the test, in which case “you're automatically charged with DUI and your license [is] going to be suspended.” Also, the officer was told by Mr. Head's Client that she was confused (and understandably so), yet he never corrected his misstatements. An officer is required to make corrections in any misstatements. Mr Head argued on appeal that it was reversible error to include the results of the state-administered test because the implied consent warning was misleading, inaccurate, and coercive. The videotape of the stop and arrest showed that when Officer Holcomb read the implied consent warning, he overstated the legal limit indicating that it was 10 grams instead of 0.10 grams of alcohol concentration. The record further showed that after [Client] indicated she did not understand the implied consent, Officer Holcomb again incorrectly advised [Client] that the legal limit was 10 grams instead of 0.10 grams. Moreover, Officer Holcomb also gave [Client] incorrect information concerning the consequences if she refused to take the test. The transcript shows that Officer Holcomb initially correctly informed [Client], who held an Alabama driver's license, that her Georgia driver's license or privilege to drive on the highways of this state would be suspended for one year if she did not submit to the state's test, but during his subsequent explanation of her rights stated, “[s]o your second choice is to ... not ... take that test. And once you do that, you're automatically charged with a DUI and your license [is] going to be suspended.” [Client] then agreed to take the test. This was also error. After all was said and done, all DUI charges were dropped, and Mr. Head's Client avoided getting convicted of DUI despite what seemed to be an insurmountable case.
  • Judge's Suppression of High Breath Test Appealed by Prosecutor, Mr. Head Wins Appeal. 255 Ga.App. 685, 566 S.E.2d 409 (2002)

    Practice Area:
    DUI & DWI
    Date:
    Oct 07, 2002
    Outcome:
    Client's Independent Test Denied; High Test Out
    Description:
    At a pre-trial hearing to exclude a high breath test reading, Mr. Head argued motions focusing on the legal necessity of the trial court excluding all breath readings. The trial judge agreed, and ordered the test results to be excluded. The Prosecutor, seeing that Mr. Head's client was a repeat offender, appealed the ruling, since the DUI case was largely based on the test results. Mr. Head welcomed the appeal, because the judge was well-founded in his exclusion of the breath results. The Court of Appeals upheld the trial judge. In part, the appellate court ruled as follows: Pursuant to OCGA § 40-6-392, police may have a chemical analysis done of a DUI suspect's blood, urine, breath, or other bodily substance. This statute also provides the suspect with the right to have a “qualified person of his own choosing administer a chemical test or tests in addition to any administered at the direction of a law enforcement officer.” OCGA § 40-6-392(a)(3). “Law enforcement officers have a ... duty not to refuse or fail to allow an accused to exercise the right to have an independent test.” (Footnote omitted.) Avant v. State, 251 Ga.App. 165, 166, 554 S.E.2d 194 (2001). Indeed, denying the defendant the right to this independent test, without justification, renders the State's test results inadmissible. Chamberlain v. State, 246 Ga.App. 423, 425, 541 S.E.2d 64 (2000). When the case was remanded, the breath test results were excluded, and Mr. Head's client escaped a second DUI within 5 years.
  • SB v. State - After 5 Separate Appeals and 6 Years, Mr. Head Gets the DUI Case Dismissed, and Alabama Client Returns Home

    Practice Area:
    DUI & DWI
    Date:
    Feb 25, 2003
    Outcome:
    Tenacious Defense Efforts Ultimately Win DUI Case
    Description:
    SB was a Client from Alabama who simply could not have a DUI on his record and maintain his job and professional status. His breath tests were both above a 0.120 reading, and the Prosecutor would not offer any reduced charge. Mr. Head retained top expert witnesses for the case and conducted numerous hearings at which a variety of motions seeking to either end the case or eliminate the State's evidence. The appeals pertained to direct appeals that attacked the length of time the case took to get to trial, and (after a trial loss) appealed the Prosecutor's misconduct during closing arguments (which the Trial Judge failed to correct with the jury) and had the Supreme Court overturn the conviction. All in all, the Client had FIVE appeals of one type or another pursued at the appellate level by Mr. Head for SB. The case started March 14, 1997 and ended nearly 6 full years later with the DUI charge being dropped and a lesser plea entered on February 25, 2003. The appeals are noted at length in 257 Ga.App. 474, 571 S.E.2d 393 (2002). The earlier appellate records are at 237 Ga.App. 195, 514 S.E.2d 32 (1999); 242 Ga.App.552, 530 S.E.2d 254 (2000); 249 Ga.App XXVI (2001) [An unreported appeal]; and 271 Ga. 1, 525 S.E.2d 690 (2000) [This is the Georgia Supreme Court's reversal of SB's conviction]. Because Mr. Head's fees are charged as FLAT FEES, SB did not have to pay for 5 different appeals. He paid one fee for the trial of his case and one fee for appeals. SB also had to to pay for transcripts and costs, but Mr. Head pursued this case relentlessly until the Prosecution finally gave up.