DUI Charge Against Masino Dropped

The firing of the arresting Suwanee officer means the Gwinnett solicitor does not have enough evidence to proceed with the case.

A Gwinnett prosecutor has decided to drop the driving under the influence charge against Gwinnett Chamber VP Nick Masino, due to lack of evidence. The case came apart because of the dismissal of the arresting Suwanee police officer.

on Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road after his vehicle was observed swerving between lanes. Initially, an off-duty officer spotted Masino's vehicle swerving on I-85, and phoned Suwanee police.

Masino did not finish a field sobriety test and subsequently was booked into the Gwinnett Detention Center. He also was charged with texting while driving and improper lane change. Those charges also have been dismissed.

Masino told the arresting officer that he had had "one drink" at a restaurant in the Mall of Georgia area, according to the arrest report. The arrest report also said that the officer smelled a strong odor of alcohol coming from Masino's vehicle, and that Masino "stumbled over his words."

However, because of an inappropriate on-the-job encounter with a woman, and so Chavez was unable to testify in Masino's case. Solicitor Rosanne Szabo, who prosecutes cases in Gwinnett State Court, said there was not enough evidence to continue the case without Chavez's testimony.

Before the dismissal, Masino had said in court documents that Chavez unlawfully detained him without probable cause to believe he had committed a crime or violated any traffic law, according to a media report. Masino also claimed Chavez failed to properly read him his rights and coerced him into taking the field sobriety test.

More than 20 other DUI cases also will be dismissed because of Chavez's firing.

Compiled by Steve Burns.

Michael February 05, 2012 at 12:12 AM
Well he did admit to texting while driving which is illegal so why wasn't he found guilty of that?
Michael February 05, 2012 at 12:14 AM
Also I thought that refusing a breathalyzer was an automatic license suspension?
Steve Burns February 05, 2012 at 12:22 AM
Michael, I am not a lawyer, or a prosecutor. However, there never was a trial or even a hearing on the allegations before a judge or jury. I can't speak on the breathalyzer law.
Dave Emanuel February 06, 2012 at 04:33 PM
There seems to be some "guilty until proven innocent" sentiment being expressed here. For a different perspective - http://loganville.patch.com/blog_posts/no-way-to-win
Carolyn Hinton February 26, 2012 at 08:15 AM
Spotted by an officer from Gwinnett County and then stopped by City of Suwanee Police. What more evidence do you need? A young family member was sited driving in a well lighted parking light and had yet turned her lights on and was stopped in Duluth. Her alcohol was over the limit but she was in no way impaired. she spent the night in jail, hired an attorney who charged a fortune, went to the required school and paid a lot of money. Then for months had to go to a place in Lawrenceville and pay with a money order.It had to be paid by money order. She has a mug shot on yahoo and now someone is wanting more money to remove it. I know of others who have been arrested in other counties for DUI and have never had a mug shot. Why is Gwinnett different? Does Gwinnett get money she paid or is it legal for some business to blackmail someone into paying more? I would like to know if posting her mug shot and paying someone to remove is legal. Carolyn Hinton


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