Skip to main content
William C. Head
Avvo
Pro

William Head’s Legal Cases

79 total


  • State v. DD, Case that went up on Appeal filed by the State and then Returned for Trial, where Client was Ultimately Acquitted

    Practice Area:
    DUI & DWI
    Date:
    Jan 08, 2002
    Outcome:
    Teacher's Aide Could Not Have DUI on Record
    Description:
    DD, a teacher's aide whose goal was to become a full time teacher, was arrested in 1998 for DUI in Fulton County, GA. Despite the arrest date, the Fulton County State Court took over an additional year to accuse her by way of formal accusation, which was finally filed July 28, 1999. On behalf of Ms. D, Mr. Head filed a statutory speedy trial demand based on the fact that Ms. D's employment opportunities were being curtailed by this pending case, which she had to report to all prospective employers. At the time of her arrest, DD mistakenly refused to submit to the official breath test after she was placed under arrest. The official test would almost certainly have resulting in the DUI case being dropped, since she had very little to drink on the night of her arrest. She attempted to perform the voluntary field sobriety tests, and the officer claimed that she did not do well on these highly subjective evaluations. On significant motion was for "discharge and acquittal" based on the State not afording Ms. D a speedy trial, as demanded by Mr. Head in his written pre-trial motions. Although the trial judge sided with Mr. Head and his Client, the State appealed the ruling, saying that Mr. Head's list of absences was OVER the 30 day limit. To get to such a convoluted holding, the Court of Appeals had to decide that Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day & New Year's Eve were the extra 4 days of improper leave of absence, to manage to overturn Judge Gino Brogdon's ruling that the Prosecutor had not taken appropriate steps to bring the case to trial. The appellate court also ruled that if Mr. Head was out of court for some pre-surgical tests, that he could have had another attorney handle the trial in his absence, which would have violated Mr. Head's "personal services" contract with DD, which requires that Mr. Head handle this postion of all of his cases. The appellate case is reported at 251 Ga.App. 361, 553 S.E.2d 831 (2001), Undaunted by the questionable appellate reversal of Judge Brogdon's favorable ruling, Mr. Head called for a trial by jury, and Ms. D was acquitted of the DUI by a 6-person jury in the State Court of Fulton County. This protected Ms. D's ability to later seek employment as a teacher, The Prosecutor spurned all offers for a reduced plea despite Ms. D's clean driving record and an extreme need to keeping her driving history free of a DUI conviction.
  • Roadblock Stop Challenged and Favorably Ruled Upon at Trial level Before being Reversed on Appeal; Yet, Mr. Head Still Won Case

    Practice Area:
    DUI & DWI
    Date:
    Jun 11, 2001
    Outcome:
    Motions, Appeal and Additional Motions End DUI
    Description:
    As with all of Mr. Head's case, an array of motions were filed on behalf of JAD, a recent college graduate who was working the following summer of 1999 as a lifeguard. A full blown pre-trial challenge to JAD's roadblock stop in Dekalb County resulted in a favorable ruling by Judge Denise Majette, who was then serving as a Dekalb County State Court Judge. The judge made an oral ruling on March 27, 2000, but no final written order was entered until after the statutory speedy trial term had run. This led to an appeal of BOTH the motion for discharge and acquittal based on failure to grant a speedy trial as well as an appeal based on the illegal roadblock, which did not comport with Dekalb County's own rules for proper establishment and operation of the roadblock. The State appealled, because either of the rulings would have meant that the case was over, based on either double jeopardy for the lack of a speedy trial or the illegal stop (4th Amendment violation). The appeal is reported at 248 Ga.App. 582, 546 S.E.2d 69 (2001). The Court of Appeals reversed Judge Majette. The case was then "remitted" (returned for trial) to Dekalb State Court. Mr. Head announced ready at trial, and JAD was acquitted of all charges.
  • Video from Police Car Captures Cadillac Traveling at 93 m.p.h. and Constantly Changing Lanes; DUI Charges - Not Guilty

    Practice Area:
    DUI & DWI
    Date:
    Jul 15, 1997
    Outcome:
    Despite High Speed along I-285, Not Guilty to DUI
    Description:
    A military officer who had served as a helicopter pilot in Desert Storm was en route to Atlanta Airport to pick up an incoming passenger when he was observed speeding by a DUI task force officer traveling south on I-285. The military officer was traveling between 90 and 93 miles per hour and continuously changing lanes. This driving was captured on video for nearly two miles, but the pilot did use turn signals with each lane change. Furthermore, he was leaving adequate distance between the cars as he maneuvered toward the Atlanta Airport. Eventually, the blue lights were activated and he was pulled over. The speed limit along I-285 was 55 m.p.h., so the speeding charge was not being contested. However, for a Captain in the military, a DUI can be career-ending. So, the fight to win the DUI was on. Mr. Head opted for a "bench" trial (non-jury trial in this case, because he feared that a jury might not be able to excuse the high speed driving and say "not guilty" to the DUI charge. Also, the assigned judge was known for his fairness at trials, whether a jury was selected or not. The breath test result was slightly under 0.10, which (at that time) was the per se legal limit. Therefore, the Prosecution was only proceeding on the "less safe" DUI (too impaired to drive safely). Mr. Head's efforts to obtain a non-DUI disposition were rejected, primarily due to the high speed driving. On the video, the pilot declined the officer's request to perform the walk and turn and the one leg stand evaluations due to recent surgery on his Achilles tendon. In fact, the pilot advised the officer that he was on medical furlough for the surgery. Because the only other screening evaluations were the Alco-sensor (positive for alcohol) and the HGN evaluation (four of six clues), the evidence was "borderline" at best. However, the DUI task force officer was a regular witness in all the courts in Dekalb County State Court, so Mr. Head knew that the officer was going to express his "opinion" that the pilot was "too impaired to drive safely". So, the decision was made by Mr. Head to have the Defendant take the witness stand for purposes of testifying. Predictably, the DUI officer did his best to make his case for impairment. Then, Mr. Head called the Defendant to testify that despite his speeding and lane changes, that he was always in control of the situation. The pilot explained that his combat training in an attack helicopter had greatly enhanced his reaction times and ability to multi-task while operating any piece of machinery. He also admitted having wine with dinner, but indicated that the small quantity had not rendered him "incapable of driving safely." Mr. Head also called an expert on field sobriety tests, Bill Taylor, who confirmed that (at best) the HGN evaluation could only tell the court that 77% of test subjects who reveal 4 or more "cues" (or "clues") had BAC levels of 0.10 or higher, and (from the State breath test results), the number was actually less than 0,10. Plus, Mr. Taylor verified that 4 of 6 clues had never been correlated to "impairment" by Dr. Marcelline Burns and the researchers at the Southern California Research Institute. Judge Jack Smith listened carefully to all the evidence and (in summarizing his finding of "not guilty" to the DUI) recounted his own military service in World War II, when he piloted a B-17 bomber that flew from England over Germany. He agreed that the enhanced training the he received greatly increased his reaction times, and his ability to handle multiple complex tasks that others would find impossible to master. He said that because the State had to prove that the helicopter pilot was impaired by alcohol to such an extent that he was a "less safe" driver due to the effects of alcohol, that the burden of proof had not been met because the video showed flawless maneuvering through traffic, and the use of turn signals with every lane change. The officer's career was saved.
  • Arrest of Client with Multiple DUI Convictions for a DUI-Marijuana Charge Puts Client's Job and Liberty at Risk

    Practice Area:
    DUI & DWI
    Date:
    Apr 19, 1999
    Outcome:
    Trial Results in Acquittal of DUI-Marijuana Charge
    Description:
    Client was a cabinet maker who worked in homes and offices building cabinets of all types. He had to be able to drive to work. So, when he was stopped on a Saturday for weaving along a Newton County road by a Newton County deputy on traffic duty, a critical situation arose. The ensuing arrest for driving under the influence of drugs [marijuana] (the smell of marijuana inside the pickup truck was extremely stong and Client admitted that he had smoked marijuana inside the truck earlier. Also, this was not Client's first arrest for DUI, inasmuch as he had two prior convictions of DUI-alcohol. The Client hired Mr. Head to handle the case. Mr. Head identified a flaw in the Uniform Traffic Citation as soon as he reviewed the documents from the Client's arrest. The case was set for an appearance with the Probate Court of Newton County, an entry-level court for misdemeanor traffic offenses in Newton County. Mr. Head knew that he could bind over the case to Superior Court of Newton County, if a jury trial was desired, because Probate Courts in Georgia have no jury trial authority for traffic cases. However, the bindover would almost guarantee that the flaw in the traffic ticket [known as a uniform traffic citation] for DUI would be amended and corrected by the District Attorney. The case was scheduled for trial, and the Uniform Traffic Citation had not been amended or corrected. As soon as the deputy began to testify, Mr. Head immediately objected to all testimony about "DUI-drugs" or "DUI-marijuana" because the traffic ticket had mistakenly been written as a DUI-alcohol "less safe" case [OCGA 40-6-391(a)(1)]. Therefore, all testimony about the use of marijuana was immaterial and not relevant to a DUI-alcohol charge. When Judge Baker read the case law (appellate cases) Mr. Head brought to trial, including a key decision for the Georgia Supreme Court {Kevinezz v. State from 1995}, he asked the deputy if he had any proof whatsoever that Mr. Head's Client was impaired by ALCOHOL, and the deputy admitted that he did not. Judge Baker then ruled that the Client was "not guilty" of DUI-drugs (marijuana), but found him guilty of "improper lane change" and fined him $75 for the lane violation. The trial saved Client's job, and prevented a certain jail term for a repeat offense DUI.
  • Client Gets DUI Dropped Despite Two Breath Test Readings over 0.18 and an Independent Blood Test Result of 0.18

    Practice Area:
    DUI & DWI
    Date:
    Nov 14, 2000
    Outcome:
    DUI Dropped Despite Two Breath Tests Over 0.18
    Description:
    "Failure to dim headlights" and a "rolling through a stop sign" charges got MJ's vehicle pulled over. After attempting field sobriety evaluations, MJ was ultimately arrested for DUI by a Forsyth County DUI task force officer. The officer read MJ the implied consent warnings and requested breath tests. MJ agreed to the tests, but later stated he would also want his own independent blood test to be made. After submitting to the officer's test at Forsyth County Sheriff's Office, MJ asked to be taken for his own independent blood test to Northside Hospital located in Fulton County some 25 to 30 minutes away from Forsyth County. The officer immediately told MJ that he "was not driving into Atlanta" and that MJ needed to choose another facility for the blood test. MJ did not really want to go elsewhere, because he was familiar with Northside since he was born there, his mother worked there and he knew they had his medical records there. Ultimately, MJ got his blood tested at North Fulton Hospital in north Fulton County, and the results were 0.18. Mr. Head took MJ's case and immediately filed a motion to exclude the State's breath test readings for the officer's failure to accommodate MJ's request to go to Northside Hospital, which was the medical facility "of his own choosing." At Forsyth County State Court, the trial judge denied Mr. Head's motion on behalf of MJ. Mr. Head then requested an immediate appeal (which must be approved by the trial judge) because the exclusion of the high breath readings was the lynchpin of the case. The judge took the request under advisement, and allowed the interlocutory appeal to go forward. The Court of Appeals granted the interlocutory appeal, which is rare. The appellate court looked at the transcript of the pre-trial motion hearing, and the testimony of both the arresting officer and MJ. The following quotes (except the name of Mr. Head's Client) were from the appeal: "MJ files this interlocutory appeal from the trial court's denial of his motion to exclude the results of a state-administered chemical sobriety test." AND "In this case, the officer did not make a reasonable effort to accommodate MJ's request to be taken to Northside Hospital for an independent test. As the officer admitted at the hearing, time was not an issue, since the requested hospital was no greater distance from the sheriff's office than some of the hospitals which the officer thought would have been reasonable choices, and because the officer was not in any particular hurry to finish processing the arrest. Likewise, the fact that the requested facility was outside Forsyth County did not make the request unreasonable, since the officer testified that other hospitals located outside the county, including the one to which the officer drove MJ, would have been reasonable choices. And it is undisputed that MJ was able to pay for the test." AND "Because the arresting officer was not justified in refusing to accommodate Joel's request for an independent blood test, the trial court erred in denying the motion. Therefore, we reverse." Once the case was remanded to Forsyth County, the Solicitor dropped the DUI charge and allowed MJ to enter his plea to a lesser charge. This result was exactly what MJ sought when he came to Mr. Head's office. The interlocutory appeal can be found at 245 Ga.App. 750, 538 S.E.2d 847 (2000), and is an important appellate decision in the field of a person's right to an independent test in Georgia.
  • Pilot's 0.174 Breath Test Case Results in a Not Guilty in Carrollton Municipal Case

    Practice Area:
    DUI & DWI
    Date:
    Mar 04, 1996
    Outcome:
    Defective Uniform Traffic Citation is Key
    Description:
    An airline pilot from North Carolina on vacation in Georgia was stopped for failing to yield in Carrollton. He was given field tests, which the video revealed he failed miserably. The DUI arrest followed, at which time he was read his implied consent rights. Fortunately for him, the officer did not read them correctly. The officer also wrote only one Uniform Traffic Citation regarding DUI, and that citation limited the "type" of DUI on that citation to the per se (above the legal limit) subsection. Mr. Head filed a few written motions, but otherwise announced ready for trial at Carrollton Municial Court. The time of court beginning at 5 P.M. at that time, because the judge was part time, and came to perform his court duties after his regular work day. When Mr. Head arrived, he sought permission to go last, since the courtroom was full of other people charged with various traffic offenses, including many DUI cases. The judge stated that he was taking the "attorney" cases first, and that the NC client's case would be third on the list. After the first two attorneys pleaded out their clients to DUI, Mr. Head stepped forward and announced that he and his Client were ready for trial, and that all motions could be addressed during the trial. That was agreed to, and the case began. The arresting officer started his testimony and once the issue of the breath test was brought up, Mr. Head was able to show that the implied consent rights were read incorrectly. That excluded the breath test results. Then, Mr. Head immediatley requested a judgment of acquittal from the judge, since the one Uniform Traffic Citation was written for a per se DUI, and the breath test was absolutely essential to that type of DUI (incorrect implied consent rights [at this time] resulted in exclusion of the breath test). Mr. Head cited two appellate cases directly "on point", and the judge took the legal points under advisement. In about 10 minutes, the judge was prepared to rule on the motion, and (with great reluctance) granted it. Mr. Head then said that his client was willing to enter a nolo contendere plea to the failure to yield and suggested a high fine to resolve that part of the case. Since the Pilot had no prior traffic history, the offer was accepted. Because "jeopardy" had attached, no further trial could be brought on the other types of DUI that did not get charged. That meant that Mr. Head's client would have ZERO points on his traffic history from this traffic arrest. This also cleared his FAA record, so he could keep flying. As Mr. Head and the North Carolina client departed, several other people facing charges followed him out, seeking his card, and asking if he could handle their cases that night. The Pilot saved his FAA license and his driver's license due to the acquittal.
  • 20-Year Old Female Facing 45 Years in Prison Hires Mr. Head for Serious Injury By Vehicle (3 Counts) - Acquitted of All Felonies

    Practice Area:
    Criminal Defense
    Date:
    Jun 25, 1999
    Outcome:
    Not Guilty on All Felony & DUI Charges
    Description:
    After a serious accident in Savannah that injured two passengers in her vehicle and another female (passenger) in another vehicle, A.H. was charged with DUI-alcohol, DUI-drugs (marijuana) and three felony counts of serious injury by vehicle for allegedly injuring these three people as a result of being impaired by alcohol, or drugs or BOTH. The parents of the Savannah College of Art & Design student first consulted with several Savannah-area attorneys. After weeks of investigating attorneys to represent her, the best prosecution "offer" of a non-trial resolution was a 45 year sentence (three 15 year terms, consecutive) with the first 10 years in state prison. The parents of the student (who resided in Stone Mountain, GA), were told by one of the Savannah attorneys that if she wanted to challenge the case at trial, he would recommend Bubba Head from Atlanta. The parents hired Mr. Head and he filed 8 different motions challenging the evidence against A.H. Mr. Head knew that if could defeat the DUI charges, the serious injury felonies were not maintainable. The first thing Mr. Head did was to obtain a meeting with the assigned Assistant District Attorney to discuss the flexibility of the ADA for conducting a bench trial in the case in order for Mr. Head to be able to preserve certain legal challenges. The prosecutor agreed that he would NOT increase the proposed punishment for A.H. if a bench trial was utilized for this purpose. Hence, A.H. could not get a more harsh sentence by seeking a bench trial. Next, Mr. Head hired two top experts on laboratory testing and drugs, Dr. Richard Jensen of Minnesota and Dr. David Stafford.of Tennessee. Mr. Head's challenge was to the allegation that A.H. was impaired by alcohol or marijuana, since the GBI lab results on marijuana were "lower than the lowest calibrator", meaning that the number generated was so low that it did not register (because the sensitivity of the testing was not set that low). The alcohol content was "trace", and this Count was dropped. The expert testimony of Jensen and Stafford confirmed that A.H. had no "psychoactive" effect, and therefore was not impaired. In fact, the number (lower that 10 nanograms) was an amount that could be obtained from merely being in a room with someone smoking marijuana. The case proceeded to trial in January of 1999. The GBI expert, Horton McCurdy, did all that he could to assure this young woman's conviction. However, his testimony was refuted by the other two equally qualified experts. The judge found no impairment was proven. However, the judge indicated that she was inclined to convict her of DUI-marijuana for merely having a measurable quantity in her system. The Court's initial written ruling (issued in February 1999) was going to convict A.H. of all three felonies. However, Mr. Head asked the Court to delay ruling based upon a pending criminal appeal on the constitutionality of the DUI-marijuana statute as being impermissibly overly broad. The appeal, Love v. State, was (at that time) pending at the Georgia Supreme Court. The judge read the appellate briefs and agreed to delay imposition of her sentence until Love was decided. On June 1, 1999, the Georgia Supreme Court did strike down the DUI-marijuana statute as being overly broad. Jude Freesemann then vacated (withdrew) her initial written ruling, and only found A.H. guilty of failure to yield (during the left turn that led to the collision). After paying a small fine, A.H. was free of all pending charges. As a side benefit of winning the DUI and the felony serious injury charges, A.H. avoided several multi-million dollar civil claims against her. Any serious injury caused by a DUI is NOT DISCHARGEABLE in bankruptcy. She could have been garnished for the remainder of her working life, since getting rid of the debts would not have been possible. A.H. was married two years ago (2006), after one of the closest calls any young woman will ever face.
  • Serious Injury Felony Dropped for Accused DUI Offender with a Prior DUI Conviction and a 0.164 Blood Test in the Current Case

    Practice Area:
    Criminal Defense
    Date:
    Mar 14, 2008
    Outcome:
    Case Reduced to Three Misdemeanors from Felony
    Description:
    Mr. Head was recommended by P.P.'s family attorney when P.P. was involved in a collision in 2006 one of with two vehicles that had collided minutes earlier. A passenger from the vehicle that caused the collision was trying to assist the female driver of the overturned vehicle when P.P. hit the underside of the disabled vehicle, The incident occurred on Peachtree Parkway in Gwinnett County. The serious injury of the "Good Samaritan" caused the misdemeanor prosecutor to transfer the case to the District Attorney for felony prosecution for "serious injury by vehicle" by virtue of P.P. allegedly being DUI-alcohol. This changed the case from a misdemanor-level DUI (second lifetime offense) to a felony that had a 15 year maximum sentence in State prison. Mr. Head filed numerous challenges to the admissibility of the evidence against P.P., primarily challenging the procedure by which P.P. was forced to have bood drawn when he had adamantly refused to be tested. P.P. also refused to submit to any roadside (field sobriety) evaluations or a hand-held alcohol sensor test following the collision. As the case neared trial, Mr. Head began negotiating with the Assistant District Attorney handling this case. The problems with the forcible collection of P.P.'s blood concerned her, and a negotiated plea was finally negotiated. As part of Mr. Head's negotiations, the felony charge was dropped. P.P. was permitted to enter a guilty plea to three misdemeanor charges (DUI, reckless driving and too fast for conditions). This meant 36 months of probation and a short county detention term, but this was a "win" for P.P. The judge his case was assigned to was notorious for rendering harsh sentences in such cases, and a 7 to 10 year prison term was realistic for this case. If P.P. had been sentenced as a felon, his driving privileges would have been totally gone. As a result of this negotiated settlement, he was able to continue driving. Since he was a sole proprietor (auto mechanic) he could not risk a conviction for a felony.
  • Male Client with GERD (Gastric Reflux) wins 0.106 Bench Trial at Carrollton Municipal Court by Using Expert Testimony

    Practice Area:
    DUI & DWI
    Date:
    Oct 23, 1995
    Outcome:
    Not Guilty of DUI, Using Doctor and Breath Expert
    Description:
    Mr. Head's client had a long history of gastric reflux disease, also known by the abbreviation GERD. On this particular night, he was having a business dinner, and consumed a greasy, spicy dish and 2 beers. Eventually, he told his business companion he needed to go home to get some prescribed medication for his condition, because the meal was not agreeing with him. Before he got home, however, he had to pull over to the shoulder (in a rush) and was planning to relieve himself of the gurgling contents of his stomach. Before he could get completely stopped, he regugitated inside the vehicle and on the driver's door as he tried to avoid soiling his vehicle. A Carrollton officer saw the vehicle stopped in the roadway and came over to check on what was going on. Smelling alcohol, he assumed that Mr. Head's Client was merely intoxicated and had become drunk from overconsumption of alcohol. He soon had the man under arrest for DUI. A breath test at the station revealed a 0.106 result. Mr. Head requested a bench (non-jury) trial and called the Client's Carroll County physician as well as an expert on Georgia's breath machine, Mary C. McMurray from Blue Mounds, WI. The 90 minute trial resulted in a total acquittal for Mr. Head's Client, based on the fact that the 0.106 breath test number could have been mouth alcohol (the officer never allowed the Client to rinse his mouth before taking the State's breath test).
  • Fighting Third DUI Offense Results in Acquittal of DUI despite arrest by State Trooper

    Practice Area:
    DUI & DWI
    Date:
    Oct 26, 1999
    Outcome:
    Not Guilty at Bench Trial
    Description:
    Defendant, charged with-DUI and improper lane usage, was facing a possible third DUI in five years, with substantial jail time to boot. He had been arguing with his girlfriend inside the pickup truck and made a looping exit off I-285 Westbound onto Buford Highway, struck the opposite curb (after crossing eight lanes of Buford Highway) and then proceeded back up the opposite eastbound I-285 ramp when he was pulled over by a Doraville officer. The officer had witnessed this entire driving excursion. The officer found two cases of beer in the truck, plus obtained an admission from Defendant that they had just left a nightclub. Defendant was given an Alco-sensor test and the HGN test, but no other field evaluations due to the dangerous highway position at the gore of I-285 eastbound and the Buford Highway ramp. Just prior to a bench trial (an option selected because the non-jury court, if we sought transfer to State Court of the case for a jury trial), pre-trial motions resulted in exclusion of evidence of refusal of the state-administered test, due to defective implied consent advisements. Defendant also sought to exclude the Alco-sensor, due to lack of a proper foundation (Turrentine v. State, 176 Ga. App. 145). This motion was granted. As evidence proceeded by the State, a defense challenge was made to the officer's training on how to give an HGN test. Upon completion of a short cross-examination about his FST training, the State went forward with its evidence, which was, basically, the smell of alcohol, errant driving, beer in the back seat and Defendant admitting that he had come from a nightclub. The officer never explained what HGN proved, only saying that he gave the test. The trial lasted less than 25 minutes. Defendant was acquitted of DUI by the judge.