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Atlanta’s Nighthawk Program – Cracking Down on DUI’s

Posted by attorney Howard Weintraub

The Georgia State Patrol created a new DUI Task Force in 2004 named the Nighthawks in an attempt to reduce drunk driving in Atlanta, Statesboro and Savannah. The Nighthawks consist of ten officers who are highly trained in enforcing DUI laws and conduct patrols during the peak hours for DUI. Since their initiation, the Nighthawks have made over 6,000 DUI arrests throughout Georgia.

The decision to create a DUI Task Force originated from a need to get impaired drivers off the road in Georgia. The Nighthawks Unit works closely with law enforcement to seek out drunk drivers, and the program has been so successful that a third task force is starting in Bibb County. The Macon police, the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office and the State Patrol Office are all excited about the partnership. The new Nighthawks Unit will also focus their efforts on the excessive speeding through Macon that causes traffic fatalities.

The task force operates on a grant from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, and received the National Impaired Enforcement Award from the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) in 2005 for their work. The IACP is engaged in partnership with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to provide states and their agencies with the information and tools needed to implement consistent, effective and sustained enforcement in fighting impaired driving. The Nighthawks received the award for their effective efforts in reducing the number of impaired drivers and DUI related injuries and deaths in Georgia.

DUI task forces have become one of the primary ways that law enforcement agencies handle a large number of DUI crashes and fatalities in a certain geographic area. Impaired driving continues to be one of the greatest threats to public safety in our nation, with over 41,000 traffic related fatalities in 2007 alone. The law officers that are assigned to these special task forces have received extensive training on DUI laws and the proper procedures for carrying out breathalyzer tests with machines like the Intoxilyzer 5000 and others. These officers are also thoroughly trained in how to conduct field sobriety tests such as the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test, the Walk and Turn test and the One-Leg Stand test.

It is important to realize that no person is immune from mistakes, and it is possible for these highly trained special task forces to make mistakes as well. If you have been charged with a DUI in or around Atlanta, you should not automatically assume that your situation is hopeless. A skilled Atlanta DUI lawyer can look into the circumstances that led to your arrest and challenge the authenticity of the test results that led to your charges. In some situations, it may be that the police officer violated your rights by not reading you the implied consent rights at the correct time and in the correct manner.

Other DUI cases have been dismissed in the past because the breath test machine or blood testing records were not properly maintained and did not function properly. Challenging a DUI charge requires a thorough understanding of the law and a familiarity with the science behind these machines. If you are looking to fight your DUI, it is wise to enlist the help of an experienced Atlanta DUI attorney ( who you can trust.

Additional resources provided by the author

The Law Offices of Howard J. Weintraub, PC is known throughout Atlanta for their successful defense of DUI cases. An Atlanta DUI lawyer at the firm provides comprehensive DUI defense to help individuals avoid the serious penalties of a DUI conviction such as jail time or costly fines. When you call the firm about your case, you will immediately begin to receive strong legal representation and defense that is tailored to your charges. Founding attorney Howard J. Weintraub is a former Assistant United States Attorney with more than 34 years of criminal defense law experience, and he is capable of defending your rights against the most serious of charges. Call today and learn more at

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