What the Courts Don’t Tell You About DUI
In Georgia, a driving under the influence charge seems pretty open-and-shut. You were caught driving over the legal limit, you failed a Breathalyzer and now you’re behind bars. You spend a few days in the drunk tank, wait for your sentence and hope for a fine and maybe community service. If you’re unlucky or if this isn’t your first offense, you’re probably looking at more jail time. That’s the way the system works, right?
Without proper guidance, yes, that’s the way the system works. But there are a few secrets that can save you a lot of money and trouble. Here are 3 things the police and courts don’t want you to know about DUI.
1. Refusing a Breathalyzer is an automatic one-year license suspension.
Georgia is an implied consent state. This means that, by getting behind the wheel of a car, you legally must give a sample for a chemical test (blood, urine or breath) if you are pulled over under suspicion of drunk driving. However, refusing a chemical test is not an one-year suspicion right off the bat.
Your license will get suspended — temporarily. In the meantime, you will be given a 30-day license. You can send an appeal letter, along with a fee, to the Georgia Department of Driver Services. You may have to also complete an alcohol and drug-use risk reduction program, but your license should be reinstated. A attorney has much more insight into this solution.
2. Field sobriety tests aren’t reliable at all.
Quick, can you balance for a long time on one leg? How about walk a straight line over and over without tottering? Chances are, you probably have some difficulty doing this sober. So even if you’ve only had a little bit to drink, it may become much harder to perform these field sobriety tests.
In addition, field sobriety tests are almost purely subjective. If you walk the straight line perfectly five times in a row, then stumble on the sixth try, that’s a failed test. In addition, many of these tests are administered incorrectly. But, luckily for Georgia drivers, consenting to these tests is not legally required.
3. Breathalyzers are not always accurate.
The most accurate way for an officer to determine your blood alcohol content is to test a sample of, well, your blood. However, this is not something that can be done on the side of the road. Instead, officers use Breathalyzers. While Georgia officers recently upgraded to the Intoxilyzer 9000, there are certain factors that no machine can currently account for.
If your body temperature is elevated, or you have certain conditions like diabetes or even heartburn, the Breathalyzer will automatically have an elevated read. In addition, other factors like alcohol residue in your mouth will show a higher BAC. Due to these factors, Breathalyzer results are sometimes beatable in court.
These are only a few factors that can get you out of a DUI ticket, or at least reduce the penalty. An attorney can give you much more guidance on the matter. If you have been arrested for a DUI in DeKalb County, call Hawkins Spizman Fortas. Your first consultation is free. During that call, we will review your case, analyze possible defenses and recommend the next steps you should take.