Can a Jesus Malverde Statue Be Used Against Me for Dui in Forsyth County?

Question: I live with some friends in Cumming, Forsyth County, GA. I work at a Mexican restaurant in the town. When I was returning home after work I was stopped by a cop. He saw bottles in my car of Corona and Chelada and other beer and some rolling papers. He arrested me for DUI. He took me to jail in Cumming.

In my car he found a small statue of Jesus Malverde, a famous man from my country. He said the police would use it against me at trial. Can they use that statue against me because it is just a statue and it is not bad?

Answer: We are familiar with Jesus Malverde. Jesus Malverde is recognized as a “folk saint” by some Mexican drug traffickers. He has gained a measure of renown and has been the subject of movies, plays and his name has been used for a Mexican beer. A Malverde bust was even seen on an episode of the multi-award-winning AMC show "Breaking Bad." In some parts of Mexico it is not uncommon to see shrines to him as he is thought by some to bring good luck. Apparently the Forsyth deputy sheriff making the arrest knew of his cultural significance.

You did not mention what type of DUI you were charged with – DUI alcohol or DUI drugs. And you just briefly touched on possible evidence against you -- the beer cans and the rolling papers.

The prosecutors will likely seek to have the statue admitted as evidence. They will try to explain its significance and then try to impute to you knowledge of that and make an inference that the mere possession of the icon indicates that you are somehow involved in illegal activities or simply to impugn your character. A Forsyth County DUI defense attorney will try to exclude the object because it is irrelevant and possibly highly prejudicial.

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