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AUGUSTA, Ga---News 12 has learned new information in the Ben Harbin DUI case. Even though Harbin failed a field sobriety test and refused a blood alcohol test at the hospital, he was able to keep his Georgia drivers license.

There's a simple reason why. The arresting officer did not show up in Harbin's very first court appearance before the Office of State Administrative Hearings on August 15, 2007.

Legal sources tell News 12 if the officer had been present to testify, the popular representative from Evans and head of the House Appropriations Committee would have lost his license for a year since he refused to take a blood/alcohol test after the wreck.

City of Atlanta police officer Bryan French remembers it differently. He says he got an "official looking" document informing him that the August 15 hearing was being rescheduled. But the document apparently did not come from the Office of State Administrative Hearings. The hearing went on without officer French who tells News 12 he was upset when he learned of the mix up.

According to the police report, Representative Harbin slammed his Nissan Maxima into a power pole at 1:12 in the morning on May 20, 2007. The report goes on to say that Harbin had bloodshot, glassy eyes, slurred speech and smelled of alcohol. After failing a field sobriety test, the report goes on to say that Harbin refused to give a blood sample at Grady Hospital.

As we first reported on Monday, Harbin's latest hearing set for this week, was delayed again. It was the seventh delay since the lawmaker was arrested for DUI last year.

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  • by SCarlette Location: Hephzibah on May 6, 2008 at 10:07 AM
    I think Ben Hardin should get what everyone else gets when they break the law and are found to be impaired under the wheel of a car. If it's his first offense or his third, whatever the law says he should get. He's no different than the rest of us just because he has a high class job and makes more money. He's still a resident of Georgia and needs to learn like the rest of us that what he did was against the law. What if, he would have killed someone out there instead of just hitting a telephone pole with his car, would he go to jail for vehicliar homicide or would he be let go?
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