Innocent People Can Be Suspected Of A Georgia DUI. It Is Best To Avoid Suspicion:
The purpose of this article is help innocent people from being suspected of driving under the influence, it is not about ways for the guilty to avoid a conviction.
It has long been my position that, as a result of circumstantial evidence, innocent people are charged with DUI. I have discussed circumstantial evidence in other articles, but the short definition is when facts are proved by inference.
We live in the world of how things seem, not reality. When the police pull over a vehicle, they are trained to look for evidence related to impaired driving. Unfortunately, many drivers make themselves appear guilty when in fact they are not.
Once a police officer suspects you of a crime, they will work hard to prove their belief, reality notwithstanding. Once charged, an innocent DUI suspect will pay thousands of dollars in their defense and may even be convicted.
Assume You May Be Stopped - A Common Sense Approach:
Get Rid Of The Beer Cans:
Very often I read police reports that remind me how often people simply give the police a reason to suspect DUI. For example, when a person has bottles of empty or mostly empty alcoholic beverages THIS DRAWS ATTENTION TO THEM. Tip #1: If you are coming from a picnic or gathering, throw out the empties before you leave. If you have a few left over (unopened), throw them out too. Do not transport alcoholic beverages unless they are totally unopened. Never transport partially used packages of alcohol or multipacks partially used.
Police officers are taught that speeding is an indicium of impairment. Of course that is total nonsense, but that is what they are taught. It's one thing to speed; however, if you are driving 25+ miles per hour above the speed limit at 3:00 a.m., you are just asking to be accused of DUI. Slow down!
Leave Your Phone Alone While Driving:
When you are driving and looking at your cell phone, you are far more likely to weave or otherwise drive erratically. Failure to Maintain Lane is the number one reason people are suspected of being DUI. There is no reason to draw attention to yourself, while driving and playing with your phone.
Furthermore, distracted drivers are twenty times more likely to be in an accident. DO NOT TEXT AND DRIVE.
If You Get Pulled Over:
Make sure you pull over as soon as possible and use your blinker while doing so. Have your driver's license and insurance card/information ready to give to the officer. Listen to the officer's questions and only speak after he or she first speaks to you. Turn off your car's engine and place your hands on the steering wheel in the officer's view.
Tell Your Passengers To Shut Up:
Very often, unruly passengers draw attention to police officers. If you are interacting with a police officer on the side of the road, tell your drunken friends to sit quietly and shut up. Unruly passengers convey to the police officer that you have just come from a bar or a party. The point here is to avoid drawing attention to yourself.
Limit the Amount Of Information You Provide To The Police:
The first thing a police officer will ask a driving on the side of the road is: "Where Have You Been Tonight?" The correct answer is: "I am on my way home; here is my license and proof of insurance." Let me be blunt, your evening's activities are none of the police officer's business, and you are not required to be the subject of his interrogation. Decline to answer the question about how much you had to drink. Most police officers assume you are lying anyway, so there is no reason to answer the question. In fact, never trust a police officer; they are trained to not trust or believe you.
Provide the police officer the required documentation and then accept whatever citation he issues. Sign the ticket. Signing it is not an acceptance of guilt.
Field Sobriety Testing:
There is never a circumstance, even if your last drink was in 1979, to perform stupid human tricks for the police officer. The tests are designed to make you look impaired, and you are on “Candid Camera.”
Medical Doctors spend 4 years in school learning how to interpret this test. Many people have natural nystagmus, and it can also be caused by over-the-counter medication, "micro" strokes, fatigue, and many commonly prescribed medications.
You have an absolute right to refuse field sobriety testing, and you do not owe the police officer an explanation of your decision. Simply decline.
The Road-Side AlcoSensor (breath test):
Never submit to a roadside breath test on a hand held AlcoSensor, as the test is not reliable and cannot be used in evidence in your case. This includes a result that would be favorable to your case. The sole purpose of the test is to give the police officer probable cause to make a DUI arrest. There is no reason to take it.
If You Think You Are About To Be Arrested For DUI:
If you believe your arrest is imminent, ask the officer if you can call a cab. If you are borderline impaired, the police officer may allow you to leave without your car. It's rare, but it never hurts to ask. Also, always be completely polite to the police. Nothing is gained by arguing with a police officer. Be respectful at all times. Remember, you cannot resist an arrest, even a false arrest. Resisting will make you appear guilty and will result in an additional charge of obstruction. If you are falsely arrested, hire the best Georgia DUI lawyer as soon as possible.
It is debatable as to whether to take the State-administered breath test. The Intoxilyzer used in Georgia is completely unreliable. However, if you refuse testing, you can lose your license for 12 months. There are legitimate reasons to submit to testing when you cannot afford a 12-month license suspension.
If you choose to take the breath test, make sure to tell the police officer on the side of the road (while the video is running) that you will take his test, but you want an independent test of your blood at the nearest hospital. Then make sure to tell him that you can afford to pay for it.
Once at the hospital, do not be dissuaded by hospital personnel from having your own blood test if they claim you cannot use it. Ask for a test that includes "chain of custody." You will pay extra for for a chain of custody test, but it will be allowed in court. Also, make sure to ask for a test of whole blood, since serum blood will test 20% higher than whole blood because of how it is separated.
After A DUI Arrest:
Remember, you only have 30 days to file an appeal of the automatic suspension of your driver's license. Contact a top-rated Atlanta DUI lawyer as soon possible. Our office is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Your best defense begins here!