How Is A DUI Charge Defined In Georgia?
Georgia has two types of alcohol-based DUI charges. The first is known as a per se DUI, and that is the common one that you hear advertised against on the TV or the radio. You will receive this type of charge if your blood or breath alcohol concentration is 0.08 or greater. The other type of alcohol-based DUI is called DUI Less Safe, which essentially means that any amount of alcohol that makes you a less safe driver can make you guilty of DUI. There are other DUI statutes that come into play less often, such as a DUI based on drugs, whether it involves prescription drugs, illegal drugs, or huffing glues, etc. There is also a DUI based on a combination of those. So, there are a number of different ways that they can charge you with the same offense.
What Are The Top Misconceptions About DUI Charges In Georgia?
There are a couple of misconceptions about DUI charges in Georgia. One that I hear time and again is that the police didn’t read a person their rights, and that because of that, the case should be dismissed. Most people don’t understand that a police officer is only required to read you your rights if you are in custody and being questioned by a police officer. The Georgia courts don’t consider a routine traffic stop to be an action that places a person in custody. Once you are handcuffed and placed in the back of a patrol car or put in jail, then you are considered to be in custody of the police. At that point, if the cops want to question you, then they must first read you your rights.
Another misconception is that if you feel you did well on the field sobriety evaluations, then the police should not arrest you. That’s a problem, because many people don’t know what the officer is looking for or how the officer is grading the test. You don’t take a test at school and say that you did great on it without knowing what the teacher is looking for, or what exactly they are grading.
The third big misconception that people have in DUI cases is that if a person is under the influence of a legitimate prescription medication while driving, then they cannot receive a DUI charge. If an officer asks a driver whether or not they have taken any drugs that day, many people will volunteer the fact that they have taken their prescription pain medication or some other kind of medication. That is a problem, because the medication, whether or not it’s prescribed, can lead you to be charged with a DUI if the officer believes that it affects your ability to drive. Having a prescription is not a defense to DUI in Georgia!
What Happens After Someone Is Pulled Over On Suspicion Of DUI?
Most DUI cases start from a traffic stop for a moving violation or an equipment violation. They can also start from a roadblock that’s been set up by the police. Once the officer comes up to your car, they may smell alcohol, marijuana or something of that nature that will make them ask whether or not you’ve been drinking, doing drugs, or taken any medications. At that point, no matter what answer you give them, they’ll generally ask you to get out of your car. In Georgia, if an officer asks you to get out of your car, you should get out of your car. Otherwise, they’ll drag you out of your car. If it’s a run of the mill DUI case based on alcohol, they’ll usually ask you for standardized field sobriety evaluations.
The three main field sobriety tests that are used in Georgia are the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test, the Walk and Turn test, and the One Legged Stand test. The person either does them or refuses to do them. These evaluations are voluntary. Typically, at that point or afterwards, the officer asks for a portable breath test that will be conducted at the scene. This test is also voluntary. Then, the person is placed under arrest and the officer will ask them to submit to the state administered chemical test, which is either a breathalyzer, blood test, or urine test. If the person agrees to take the test, then they are taken to the police department, jail, or to the hospital to take the test. If they refuse to take the test, the officer will sometimes get a search warrant for their blood and will force the test, but only a couple of jurisdictions actually do that. The vehicle that the person was driving is either towed or released to a family member. The person gets booked in jail, and usually within a couple of hours they can post bond and get out.
For more information on DUI Charges In Georgia, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (678) 999-3418 today.
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