A Bibb County Superior Court judge may soon find out what it's like to be on the other side of the bench.
Judge Howard Simms was stopped at a west Bibb County license check last month, The Telegraph reports. Simms' blood alcohol content was reportedly slightly over the legal limit.
On the night of Sept. 22, Judge Howard Simms was pulled over at a license checkpoint. The officer administered a Breathalyzer test, and Simms reportedly blew a 0.083 percent.
In general, having a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher will get you arrested for DUI in Georgia. However, for some reason Simms was allowed to drive home.
Authorities haven't yet explained why the judge wasn't arrested. As of now, he has not been charged with DUI. But two Bibb County sheriff's deputies who allowed Simms to drive home despite the alleged Breathalyzer result are being suspended without pay, Channel 2 Action News reports.
Simms has notified the State Judicial Qualifications Commission about the traffic stop. He also said that he plans to enter an in-patient alcohol treatment facility, according to a statement he issued.
If it's determined that Simms used his influence to get out of the charges, he could be out of a job. The commission hasn't yet announced whether it plans to investigate the incident. It's the only agency with the authority to remove a judge.
After receiving a complaint, the commission usually launches an investigation to determine whether any rules of the Georgia Code of Judicial Conduct have been violated. The code states that "it would be improper for a judge to allude to his or her judgeship to gain a personal advantage such as deferential treatment when stopped by a police officer for a traffic offense."
If charges are eventually filed and Simms is found guilty of DUI, he could face up to a year in jail, a maximum fine of $1,000, and at least 40 hours of community service. He could also be ordered to complete an alcohol risk reduction program.
- Call an Atlanta DUI Lawyer (FindLaw)
- Ga. judge could be charged in DUI investigation (The Associated Press)
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- Gwinnett Deputy Charged With DUI After Totaling Patrol Car (FindLaw's Atlanta DUI Law Blog)