Atlanta seeing most DUIs than anywhere across the Southeast, officials say

City leaders like to tout a number one ranking Atlanta might earn. But there is one thing that stands out no one wants to see.

At the Atlanta court, the chief public defender reported there are more cases of Driving Under the Influence than in any other community throughout the Southeast.

Kenneth Days provided a briefing on Monday to the council public safety committee,

"We have 900 active cases spread among three attorneys right now," Days said.

Many drivers suspected of violating the serious traffic law hire private lawyers.

Jackie Patterson is one. He told FOX 5 he expects to handle approximately seventy-five cases, if recent annual patterns come to form.

No one knows exactly what is driving a high number of DUIs, Patterson said.

One theory is a mental state of depression formed during COVID.

Whatever it may be, Patterson said, the traffic stop is harmful and expensive even if the driver does not have an accident.

"An experienced attorney, such as myself, will cost between $10,000 and $15,000," said Patterson.

There has been a recent change in the law. Should a driver believe that he or she is not under the influence, an officer cannot compel they complete a field sobriety test.

"A court will never hear they refused to take a breathalyzer or walk for the officer," said Patterson.

However, a check of the individual's blood -- once approved by a judge -- is mandatory.

Patterson says he has been successful in countless cases showing clients did not meet the legal threshold of being intoxicated.