The Atlanta DUI News Blog

State House Candidate T.J. Copeland Still Fighting DUI Charge

If you ever plan on running for public office, drunken driving is probably a no-no. A candidate in this week's Democratic primary run-off for a state House seat is learning that lesson the hard way.

T.J. Copeland was arrested for DUI and other charges in Atlanta in November 2010, The Citizen reports. Nearly two years after the arrest, Copeland is still fighting his DUI charge.

Copeland was pulled over at Piedmont Road and Lindbergh Drive on Nov. 14, 2010. According to authorities, Copeland was driving the wrong way on a one-way street.

The arresting officer reportedly noticed a strong odor of alcohol coming from the car and asked Copeland how much he'd had to drink. Copeland told the officer he'd consumed only one frozen alcoholic beverage.

After refusing to submit to a Breathalyzer test, T.J. Copeland was arrested and charged with DUI, driving the wrong way on a one-way street, driving on a suspended license, and driving with a revoked registration. Copeland decided to fight the charges, causing his case to be moved from Atlanta municipal court to Fulton County State Court. Copeland still hasn't been informed of a court date, according to The Citizen.

Any person who drives in Georgia gives implied consent to a breath, blood, or urine test, if suspected of DUI. Refusing to submit to a test will get your license suspended for at least 12 months. That's a longer suspension period than you'd get for many DUI offenses in the state.

Copeland was charged with "DUI less safe," as opposed to per se DUI. DUI less safe typically applies where there are no Breathalyzer results, but the arresting officer saw a driving pattern consistent with DUI. Per se DUI, on the other hand, generally applies where a driver is found to have a blood alcohol concentration that's above the legal limit of .08 percent.

On Tuesday, Copeland lost the run-off election to his opponent Ronnie Mabra. This raises the question of whether T.J. Copeland's DUI charge played a role in his ballot-box defeat.

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