NWGA Scanner | March 17th, 2021

Ringgold man gets 24-month sentence after being convicted of 11th DUI

A Ringgold man was convicted Tuesday by a Whitfield County jury for his 11th offense of driving under the influence of alcohol and his seventh offense of driving while license suspended. He was sentenced by Superior Court Judge Scott Minter to 24 months in confinement. Lawrence Eugene McFalls Jr., 55, of 1883 Houston Valley Road, was arrested in January 2019 by Tunnel Hill Police Chief Trey Rider who caught him driving in a restricted area near a local historical site. McFalls was intoxicated to the point of not being able to complete field sobriety tests and readily admitted that he had “too much” to drink. His license was suspended for a prior DUI in 2018. McFalls also had DUIs in 2014, 2007, 2004, 1999 (2), 1996, 1988, 1986 and 1984, mostly in Whitfield and Murray counties but also two in Gordon County. He had prior suspended license convictions in 2018, 2007, 2004, 1999 and 1996. None of the prior convictions were presented as evidence to the jury. One difficulty with the case was that there was no video evidence, as Rider and a new officer were in a training car at the time which was not equipped with the video cameras that a normal patrol car would have had. There was a passenger in the car who was also drinking and the defense argued there was insufficient evidence that McFalls had actually been driving the car. The state’s case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Geoff Bard. McFalls was represented by Leigh Butler and Cat Pyne of the Public Defender’s Office.