Are All Georgia Police Officers Trained in DUI Detection?

Posted by Richard Lawson | Nov 23, 2016 | 0 Comments

The short answer is that all Georgia police officers are trained in DUI detection; however, not all training is equal or sufficient.

When someone completes the police academy, he or she become P.O.S.T. certified.  (Peace Officers Standards and Training).  The basic mandate includes several hours of DUI training.

Like with all basic training, a P.O.S.T. certified police officer knows enough about DUI to make an arrest but likely not enough to make a case that can be successfully prosecuted.

NHTSA Training (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration):

When Georgia police officers go back to the Academy for additional training, those interested in DUI detection can take the 24-hour NHTSA training course on DUI.

During this course, the attendees learn how to perform and score field sobriety tests, advise people of their implied consent rights, and learn to use a hand-held preliminary breath test device (the P.B.T.)  The attendees also learn about courtroom testimony and procedure.

The course includes a “wet lab,” where volunteers consume alcohol and are tested for their blood alcohol level.  Then, the students perform field sobriety tests and then are tested as to which people are impaired and which are not.  

Practice Note: Georgia DUI Attorney Richard Lawson took the 40-hour standardized field sobriety instructor course in 2001.

Intoxilyzer 9000 Training:

Another advanced course police officers take is the breathalyzer class.  In Georgia, we use the intoxilyzer 9000.  During this 8-hour course, students learn the principles of breath testing and the operation of the machine.  Some courses also include a second “wet lab.”  Most officers who focus on DUI take this course as well as the field sobriety course.

Advanced DUI Detection:

Some police officer return to the academy to take the A.R.I.D.E. course, which stands for advanced roadside impaired driving enforcement.  Upon completion of this course, the officer is considered and expert.  Being an expert changes how their testimony is used in court.

Another advanced course is the drug recognition expert (DRE) course.  In this class, the officer learns the basics of detecting whether a person is under the influence of drugs.  That being said, I am of the opinion that teaching a police officer to detect drug impairment through a series of field sobriety tests is utter and complete nonsense.  

Translating Information into a Better DUI Defense:

Police officers have a transcript of their training, just like people have a school transcript.  We always subpoena this information to know what the officer knows or does not know.  We can then tailor our Georgia DUI Defense to the training of the arresting police officer.  

About the Author

Richard Lawson

Managing Partner at Lawson & Berry:


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