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Jones v. State

Court of Appeals of Georgia

June 9, 2015

JONES
v.
THE STATE

Page 409

DUI, etc. Hall State Court. Before Judge Baldwin.

Judgment affirmed.

Leonard C. Parks, Jr., for appellant.

Stephanie D. Woodard, Solicitor-General, Daniel P. Sanmiguel, Assistant Solicitor-General, for appellee.

ELLINGTON, Presiding Judge. Dillard and McFadden, JJ., concur.

OPINION

Page 410

Ellington, Presiding Judge.

A Hall County jury found Brandon Jones guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of driving under the influence of a drug to the extent that it was less safe to drive, OCGA § 40-6-391 (a) (2); driving with a suspended license, OCGA § 40-5-121 (a); and failing to wear a seat belt, OCGA § 40-8-76.1 (b). Following the denial of his motion for a new trial, Jones appeals, challenging the sufficiency of the evidence as to Count 1 of the accusation, DUI. He also contends that Count 1 fails to charge him with any offense under Georgia law. For the reasons explained below, we affirm.

1. Jones contends that the only officer who observed him driving did not see any unsafe driving. In addition, he contends that, to the extent there was evidence that he was impaired to the extent he was a less safe driver, the evidence does not show that the substance he ingested as " synthetic marijuana" had any effect on his ability to drive. As a result, he contends, the evidence was insufficient to sustain his conviction.

On appeal from a criminal conviction, the appellate court

view[s] the evidence in the light most favorable to the verdict[,] and an appellant no longer enjoys the presumption of innocence. [The appellate court] determines whether the evidence is sufficient under the standard of Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307 (99 S.Ct. 2781, 61 L.Ed.2d 560) (1979), and does not weigh the evidence or determine witness credibility. Any conflicts or inconsistencies in the evidence are for the jury to resolve. As long as there is some competent evidence, even though contradicted, to support each fact necessary to make out the State's case, [the appellate court] must uphold the jury's verdict.

(Citations omitted.) Rankin v. State, 278 Ga. 704, 705 (606 S.E.2d 269) (2004).

Viewed in the light most favorable to the verdict, the record shows that, on July 4, 2012, a patrol officer observed Jones driving without a seat belt and initiated a traffic stop. Jones told the patrol officer that he was wearing his seat belt, although he was not; his speech was very slurred; and his movements were lethargic. A second officer arrived to help with the stop. That officer had extensive training in detecting impairment by alcohol and other drugs, including drugs that are classified as synthetic marijuana. In addition, that [332 Ga.App. 450] officer was ...


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