I have been an Atlanta DUI lawyer for more than 25 years. Recently, one of my paralegals was alarmed at a new DUI case that my law partner, Kimberly Berry, is defending. The driver was arrested and charged with DUI, yet she took a blood test, and the results came back well below .08. Nonetheless, Atlanta DUI officers and prosecutors are still prosecuting the case and demand probation, DUI school, high fines, and other stringent requirements. Can this happen? There is some confusion in Atlanta about what constitutes a DUI – is it a .08? Is it zero tolerance? What does a driver need to know to avoid being charged?
When someone contacts our office of Atlanta DUI lawyers, they usually have just recently bonded out of jail and are without a physical license. Atlanta officers and troopers never pull someone over for DUI; instead, the stop is for some type of underlying traffic offense like speeding, failure to maintain lane, or a traffic light violation. However, the chances are that if it is after 10 pm, the officer may have some preconceived ideas as to whether you might be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Generally, Atlanta police will ask the driver some questions such as how much they had to drink and where they are going or coming from. Then they will ask the driver to submit to field sobriety tests. These tests tend to be on camera and can be difficult for a nervous, but sober, driver to perform well on. If you have some physical ailments or health issues, it may be completely impossible to do well on these tests.
Officers like to say they look at the “totality of the circumstances,” yet most DUI investigations are relatively short. Very rarely have officers inquired as to witnesses or considered meal/restaurant receipts or medical conditions. Usually following field sobriety testing, a driver is arrested for DUI. All Atlanta DUI officers are given an “implied consent” card to keep with them. If they arrest you for DUI, they are required to read you the implied consent notice, which is basically a convoluted way of asking you to submit to a blood, breath, or urine test. The weird thing about being asked for an official test AFTER you are arrested is that a “low” blow or result is not going to lead to you being “un-arrested.” Basically, the officer has already decided to move forward with a DUI based on the driving and roadside manifestations and performance. This is incredibly frustrating and can be very unfair to some drivers who test below .08.
In the Atlanta DUI case that I referenced above, my paralegal was alarmed when our client's blood work came back below the “legal limit.” In Atlanta, GA, the legal limit for DUI is .08 for drivers over 21, .02 for drivers under 21, and .04 for drivers of a commercial vehicle. Our client was well over 21, and her blood results were below .08 and outside the margin of error. Yet the Atlanta prosecuting attorney still felt that she could proceed with a DUI case against her and charged her with DUI Less Safe. This is why even in situations that should be clear cut, an Atlanta DUI attorney is needed to get you the best outcome in your legal matter. Prosecutors, law enforcement officers, and judges are not watching out for your best interests. DUI law in Georgia is very detailed and convoluted.
Our office can help you navigate this frustrating process, and get the DUI off your record and your punishment mitigated. Call our law office today for a free consultation if you are charged with an Atlanta DUI case. Our Atlanta DUI Attorneys are experienced in going to the City of Atlanta Municipal Court where DUI cases most often begin as well as to Fulton County State Court where cases often have to be litigated if the Atlanta City Court prosecutors are not being reasonable. Don't feel like you have to plead guilty to a DUI you do not deserve! Your best defense begins here!