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Milledgeville councilman charged with DUI again | News

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Milledgeville councilman charged with DUI again
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Former Milledgeville City Councilman Phillip Joiner denies that he was drunk when he was arrested Monday night and charged with DUI.

Joiner was arrested by the Georgia State Patrol and accused of DUI -- at least his third such charge.

Yesterday, he was also charged with failure to maintain a lane, an expired vehicle tag, and violating the open container law.

Joiner says the open container was a sample-sized liquor bottle in his console.
He said he hadn't been drinking from it.

As for the expired tag, Joiner says he didn't understand that he had to renew his December tag by his birthday, not the end of the month.

According to Baldwin County Sheriff Bill Massee, Joiner was pulled over by a trooper for not maintaining his lane. Massee says Joiner then refused to take a breathalyzer test in that stop, but was still arrested and charged.

Joiner was taken to the Baldwin County Jail, but he was released around 9 p.m. on a $2,500 property bond.

Tuesday morning, Joiner told 13WMAZ's Kristen Swilley that he became distracted while reaching for a cigarette, swerved and then over-corrected. He said he declined to take the breathalyzer on his lawyer's advice, because they are often inaccurate.

Joiner said he was on a local radio show that evening, up until about 5 minutes before the arrest, and radio station employees can prove he wasn't drinking that night.

Joiner was last in court in January 2011 for violating the probation on his second DUI charge.

Monday night's arrest is the third time he's accused of drinking while driving. He's charged with failure to maintain lane, expired vehicle tag, DUI, and violation of the open container law.

The Milledgeville City Council recently asked Joiner to resign after he was accused of violating the city ethics code.

The city's ethics board ruled ruled in late August that he took expense payments for events he didn't attend. Tuesday, he also said that was not true. But he did not seek re-election this fall and his successor was sworn in this week.

13WMAZ also reached out to Z 97.7, the radio station where Joiner says he conducted a live interview minutes before the arrest.

No one at the station was available for comment.

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