On Sunday, June 19th 2011, R&B recording artist Nivea, best known for her singles "Don't Mess with My Man" and "Laundromat" was arrested for driving under the influence ( DUI ) in Atlanta. She was also charged with driving too fast for conditions and reckless driving. When storms swept through Atlanta earlier that evening, a tree came down in the road. Cones and tape were up warning drivers of the down tree, but the singer later told Atlanta DUI officers that she did not notice them. She struck the tree with her car and went to Atlanta Medical Center following the accident for evaluation of her head and neck injuries.
The Atlanta officer responding to the scene felt that Nivea had bloodshot, glassy eyes and he detected an odor of alcohol. Nivea also allegedly admitted to responding emergency workers that she had three alcoholic drinks at an event earlier in the day. However, the singer reportedly did not submit to any field sobriety tests nor to a breath or blood test. In Georgia, a refusal to submit to a breathalyzer can lead to a one year suspension of your driver's license with no temporary or limited driving permit available.
The Atlanta officer charged Nivea with DUI - less safe offense, meaning that the City of Atlanta prosecuting attorneys have to prove that she was a less safe driver due to alcohol intoxication. This can be a more burdensome task than in cases where the driver provided the Atlanta DUI officer with a breath test. If there is a breath test, the alleged drunk driver can be charged with a DUI for being over the legal limit if the result is over a .08. That is known as a DUI - per se offense.
It has been reported that Nivea had a minor child in the vehicle with her at the time. An Atlanta DUI offense is harsh enough, but the penalties are much more severe when young children are involved. In addition to the DUI - less safe and the citations for too fast for conditions and reckless driving, the singer could potentially face a DUI - child endangerment charge. This counts as the equivalent of a second DUI for sentencing purposes and can lead to a three year suspension of your Georgia driver's license. The child in Nivea's car was released to her boyfriend.
It has been reported that this incident occurred early on Sunday morning when Nivea was coming home from Toya Carter's wedding reception. Carter is the ex-wife of rapper Lil Wayne. Nivea has also been involved in an on - again, off - again relationship with Lil Wayne and gave birth to their son in November 2009.
In mid-July, Nivea is to go to the City of Atlanta Municipal Court for her DUI arraignment. However, she only has ten days from the date of the incident to contest the suspension of her Georgia driver's license. Otherwise, she faces an administrative suspension of her license based on her refusal to take the breath test. Atlanta DUI prosecuting lawyers, officers, and judges are tough on DUI offenders when it comes to license suspensions. Nivea, and any other driver facing a DUI charge in the City of Atlanta, also faces a one year suspension of their license upon a conviction at trial or guilty plea to DUI in the criminal court prosecution.
On the bright side, there are many defenses to DUI. In Nivea's case, it seems that the City of Atlanta prosecuting DUI lawyers will have very little evidence to work with as they reportedly have no breath test result and no videotape of field sobriety tests. Essentially, they will have the burden of proving that Nivea's accident was the result of impaired, drunk driving. A good DUI defense lawyer could make arguments that the accident had nothing to do with less safe or drunk driving, and was instead an unavoidable hazard that had nothing to do with alcohol.
Since the accident, Nivea, a native Georgian, has commented about her Atlanta DUI arrest and charges on Twitter. She has tweeted that she was not drinking and driving and that the law and the media have been working against her. She is certainly not alone in being charged with a DUI in Atlanta. Atlanta DUI prosecuting attorneys charge thousands of people each year with DUI offenses. DUI charges have severe penalties including hefty fines, jail time, probation, community service, alcohol and drug counseling and license suspension issues.
Keep in mind that an arrest does not mean a conviction. Many people are unjustly charged with DUI and later win their cases, especially in cases when there is not much evidence of intoxication. Skilled Atlanta DUI attorneys have had great success in getting DUI charges reduced, dismissed, and won at trial. Atlanta DUI Attorneys at the Law Offices of Richard S. Lawson routinely handle cases in the Atlanta Municipal and Fulton County State Court.
Our lawyers have had great success in getting these cases their best possible outcome. Our experienced DUI attorneys also help our clients navigate the DUI license suspension issues. Our Fulton County office is always open, so if you or a friend or family member is facing a DUI, call us anytime for a free consultation. Many DUI issues are time sensitive, so it is important that you call a DUI attorney as soon as possible after your arrest to get the best results in your case.