Drugs and driving don’t mix
by Sheila A. Mathews Staff Writer
Driving with no license, no insurance, no tag and allegedly on drugs? You are likely to be arrested and not warned. This is the lesson learned by Charlie Geiger, who authorities say entered a license and sobriety checkpoint manned by Upson County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Gerren Vining and Sgt. Neill Sanders.
According to Vining, he made contact with Geiger, who was driving a black Honda Accord.
“Geiger advised he did not have a license. I asked Geiger what he meant by he did not have a license. Geiger stated, ‘They are suspended for a DUI I got several years ago. I just live right here at Ruthie Manor,’” Vining stated.
After having Geiger pull the vehicle to the side of the road, the deputy began running the tag number, but was allegedly advised by the driver, “This tag does not go on this car.”
Vining asked what vehicle the tag is registered to and Geiger reportedly said, “They go on a Honda just like this one. I bought the car and did not have the money to have it registered, so I got that plate that goes to a Honda Accord to put on here.”
Vining then asked Geiger if the vehicle had valid insurance.
“No, man, it does not. Can you just give me a warning?” was Geiger reported answer.
Vining said Geiger continued to request a warning, but as he was talking, the deputy noted another potential concern.
“While Geiger was talking, I could smell a strong odor of what I believed to be burnt marijuana coming from his person. I asked Geiger when was the last time he smoked marijuana and he stated, ‘A couple of hours ago.’ I asked Geiger about what time it was when he smoked the marijuana, and he advised around eight o’clock,” Vining said, adding that Geiger agreed to submit to a field sobriety test.
Vining noted a number of issues with that procedure including, among others, a lack of convergence in the driver’s eyes; a green film coating and large red bumps on his tongue; difficulty maintaining his balance; failure to comply with the timing of the test; and body tremors.
After being advised of the Georgia Implied Consent law, Geiger refused to submit to a chemical blood test. A subsequent search of Geiger’s vehicle allegedly resulted in Vining locating a clear plastic bag containing what was believed to be a burnt hand-rolled marijuana cigarette.
Rather than the warning he had requested, Geiger was arrested and charged with driving under the influence of drugs, driving on a suspended license, driving with no insurance, driving on suspended registration and having improper plates on his vehicle.
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