Have You Been Arrested for Pedestrian Under the Influence in Georgia?
Have You Been Given a Citation for Pedestrian Under the Influence (PUI)?
Being intoxicated in a public place in Georgia could potentially lead to an arrest if your behavior is disruptive or you are otherwise a danger to others, whether your actions were intentional or not. Most people are familiar with the offense of Driving Under the Influence and even Public Intoxication (sometimes called Public Drunkenness), but in Georgia, it is also possible to be charged as a Pedestrian Under the Influence.
Georgia Attorney Richard Lawson has been fighting for people in Georgia for more than 25 years. He is a former Georgia Prosecutor who has dedicated his life to defending the rights of those charged with alcohol or drug-related offenses. He is the most reviewed lawyer in Georgia whose reviews can be found on AVVO.
The Pedestrian Under the Influence Law in Georgia:
O.C.G.A. § 40-6-95 states:
A person who is under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug to a degree which renders him a hazard shall not walk or be upon any roadway or the shoulder of any roadway.
Many people refer to Pedestrian Under the Influence as PUI or P.U.I.
Even if not under the influence of alcohol, pedestrians must abide by certain rules and includes any person on foot whether standing, walking, jogging, or running. O.C.G.A. § 40-6-96 provides that pedestrians cannot stand or walk along a roadway if a sidewalk is provided unless there are no vehicles within 1,000 feet of the person or the sidewalk presents an imminent danger. If there is no sidewalk, you must walk along the shoulder of the roadway as far from the edge as practicable. If there is no shoulder, the pedestrian must walk close to the edge of the roadway and along the left side if on a two-lane road.
The maximum punishment for a misdemeanor charge of Pedestrian Under the Influence in Georgia is a fine up to $500. You can also be given probation in order to pay the fine. That being said, even though the consequences for Pedestrian Under the Influence are not severe, the issue is more than the penalties for Pedestrian Under the influence.
The issue is the resulting lifetime criminal record if convicted. For many people having a misdemeanor on their record can make all the difference insofar as employment and other opportiunites. So, it is important to hire the best lawyers to see if it's possible to keep the offense off your record. You do not have to face lifetime consequences. There are alternatives to a criminal conviction for Pedestrian Under the Influences.
How does the Pedestrian Under the Influence Law apply?
You are not required to speak to law enforcement officers if they approach you on the side of the road. “Police officers may approach citizens, ask for identification, and freely question the citizen without any basis or belief that the citizen is involved in criminal activity, as long as the officers do not detain the citizen or create the impression that the citizen may not leave. … So long as a reasonable person would feel free to disregard the police and go about his business, the encounter is consensual and no reasonable suspicion is required.” White v. State, 310 Ga. App. 386 (2011). Simply being intoxicated while walking along the roadway is not enough to be charged with Pedestrian Under the Influence. The officer must have a reasonable belief that you are intoxicated and under the influence of alcohol or drugs to the extent that you were rendered a danger to others.
In October 2012, a pedestrian was struck by a car in Columbus, Georgia on her walk home after a night of drinking when she chose to walk in the street because she feared snakes might be in the grass. The road was not well lit and the woman was struck by a car with its passenger side mirror when the driver failed to notice her in time to swerve out of the way. The driver was not charged, but the woman was charged with Pedestrian Under the Influence for putting herself in harm's way.
In August 2012, a Dacula, Georgia man was attempting to flag down passing motorists while standing in the middle of the roadway in order to hitch a ride. When law enforcement officers were dispatched to the scene, the responding officer stated that he “was startled by him being in the roadway and swerved to [his] right to avoid striking the male.” After almost being struck by the police officer, the man ran across traffic and began walking down the sidewalk. He was arrested for Pedestrian Under the Influence and spent the night in jail.
Also in August of 2012, a man was arrested in Danielsville, Georgia for Pedestrian Under the Influence while walking to the jail to turn himself in. Because he was intoxicated, he was driven the rest of the way by a police officer.
A University of Georgia student was charged with Pedestrian Under the Influence when he was spotted by three University Police Officers staggering in a bike lane along a roadway. When the officers passed the student, the student flipped them off and then when they turned their car around to talk to him, he gave them the middle finger yet again. The officers later learned that the student had fallen in the roadway multiple times on his walk home.
An officer is not required to administer a chemical sobriety test in order to determine your blood alcohol concentration before making the decision to arrest you for Pedestrian Under the Influence. The officer only needs a reasonable belief that you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs, but this belief can be based upon manifestations such as an odor of alcohol on your breath, bloodshot eyes, stumbling or unsteadiness on your feet, slurred speech, repeating questions or comments, fumbling with your identification, and providing incorrect or inconsistent answers.
Alternative Offenses Similar to Pedestrian Under the Influence:
If you are under the age of 21, you may face an additional charge of Minor in Possession of Alcohol if arrested for being a Pedestrian Under the Influence. A Minor in Possession charge can carry severe penalties including a driver's license suspension, jail time, a fine, and/or a period of probation. The maximum penalty for a minor in possession charge in Georgia is a $300.00 fine and 6 months in jail.
If you are not walking in the roadway, but are intoxicated while in a public place, you could potentially face charges of Public Intoxication. Public Intoxication is generally characterized by “boisterousness, by indecent condition or act, or by vulgar, profane, loud, or unbecoming language.” O.C.G.A. § 16-11-41(a). In many cases, an encounter with police officers is escalated to an arrest for Public Intoxication when you are uncooperative, aggressive, vulgar, or argumentative with the officers. A public drunk charge can effect your future employment.
An arrest, no matter how minor the charge, can have a significant impact on your life. An arrest will remain on your criminal record indefinitely and is only sealed in very limited instances. You may have to answer questions about and explain an arrest for the rest of your life. A criminal record can affect your career opportunities, your ability to get into college or post-graduate programs, qualify for financial aid and student loans, obtain a loan, or obtain security clearances. Any case involving an alcohol or drug related misdemeanor requires special attention due to the range of consequences you may be facing.
What can be done if you are charged with Pedestrian Under the Influence?
Our office is dedicated to the defense of people charged with alcohol and drug-related offenses. We know that people make mistakes. That is why certain crimes are called misdemeanors. Regular good and hard-working people make mistakes. We are hear 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help make sure those mistakes don't cause life-long consequences and problems. Call now for immediate legal attention.
Georgia Pedestrian Under the Influence Resources: