As of Wednesday, July 3, 2013
© Copyright 2013
Gwinnett Daily Post
ATLANTA -- The Georgia Supreme Court ruled Monday against a man challenging his 2010 DUI arrest in Gwinnett.
Weston Cronkite, a New Jersey resident, was stopped for speeding in Gwinnett on Jan. 15, 2010. With breath tests at the scene producing blood-alcohol content readings of 0.187 and 0.201 -- well over Georgia's legal limit of 0.08 -- he was ultimately charged with driving under the influence.
As he awaited trial, Cronkite filed a request for the testimony of a representative from the manufacturer of the Intoxilyzer 5000, the device with which his BAC was determined. A local court and a state court of appeals ruled that the expert's testimony -- that teeth implants or partial dentures like Cronkite has could "cause the trapping of excess alcohol in one's mouth" -- was immaterial.
The Georgia Supreme Court upheld that ruling Monday with a unanimous decision.
"... Cronkite presented no evidence that mouth alcohol was present during his breath test such that an error message should have been generated that was not generated," the opinion, written by Justice Harold Melton, said. "Indeed, the mere possibility that alcohol can remain present in the mouth due to the existence of a surgical implant and retainer does not amount to evidence of facts pointing to the actual existence of excess alcohol in the mouth at the time of Cronkite's breath test."
The state was represented by Gwinnett County Solicitor General Rosanna Szabo.