Georgia DUI Law – What a Georgia DUI Costs

In 2018, there were 21,784 DUI convictions in Georgia. A DUI arrest and conviction has serious consequences. Among those consequences, you can expect to pay a significant amount of money in defending the case. This article serves to provide a general idea of what it costs to be arrested and convicted of DUI.

  1. Bail/Bond: $150 – $2,500. Cost of bail in a DUI arrest depends on a variety of factors including but not limited to prior criminal history, case facts, and ties to the community.
  2. Towing: $50 – $200. The cost of towing and impounding a car can increase daily.
  3. Insurance Increase: $4,500 or more. Depending on your insurance carrier and driving history, your rates could double, triple or even quadruple over a period of three to five years.
  4. Legal Fees: $2,000- $25,000.
  5. Fines: $300 – $5000. These base fines vary depending on the nature of your offense and any prior DUI’s. These base fines do not include statutory court costs which can increase the base fine by 50% or more. 
  6. Alcohol Evaluation: $95 – $300. The law requires completion of an alcohol and drug evaluation and treatment if recommended by the evaluator.
  7. Classes: $500 – $4,000. As part of a DUI conviction you will be required to complete a Risk Reduction class (also referred to as “DUI School”). This class costs $350. You are also required to complete a Victim Impact Panel which costs roughly $100.
  8. License reinstatement fees: $210 – $410. License reinstatement generally costs $210. However, depending on your history, you could be required to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle in order to reinstate your license. You would have to pay for the installation of the device plus daily maintenance costs.

Contact Us

If you or someone you know has been arrested for driving under the influence, contact the law firm of W. Scott Smith at 404.581.0999 today for a free case evaluation. You’ll find a local Atlanta DUI attorney ready to aggressively fight on your behalf. You can also find out more detailed information about Atlanta laws here.

Georgia DUI Law: Challenging the Stop, Improper Turn

Georgia DUI investigations usually begin with a routine traffic stop. At a minimum, in order to stop you and your vehicle, the stopping officer needs to have “reasonable and articulable suspicion” to believe a crime has, or is about to be committed. An officer normally satisfies this requirement by observing a traffic or equipment violation. However, if it is determined the officer did NOT have reasonable and articulable suspicion to stop your vehicle; this could result in the suppression of evidence and the ultimate dismissal of a DUI charge.

Therefore, it is crucial to examine the most common types of traffic violations that result in a DUI investigation. This article serves to inform you of what type of things police officers are looking for when stopping for improper turn.

The Offense

O.C.G.A. § 40-6-120 requires the driver of a vehicle intending to turn at an intersection to do the following:

(1) RIGHT TURN. Both the approach for a right turn and a right turn shall be made as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway;

(2) LEFT TURN.

(A) As used in this paragraph, the term “extreme left-hand lane” means the lane furthest to the left that is lawfully available to traffic moving in the same direction as the turning vehicle. In the event of multiple lanes, the second extreme left-hand lane shall be the lane to the right of the extreme left-hand lane that is lawfully available to traffic moving in the same direction as the turning vehicle. The third extreme left-hand lane shall be the lane to the right of the second extreme left-hand lane and so forth.

(B) The driver of a vehicle intending to turn left shall approach the turn in the extreme left-hand lane lawfully available to traffic moving in the direction of travel of the turning vehicle. Whenever practicable, the left turn shall be made to the left of the center of the intersection and so as to exit the intersection or other location in the extreme left-hand lane lawfully available to traffic moving in the same direction as the turning vehicle on the roadway being entered.

(C) In the event of multiple turn lanes, the driver of a vehicle turning left shall exit the intersection in the same relative travel lane as the vehicle entered the intersection. If the vehicle is in the second extreme left-hand lane entering the intersection the vehicle shall exit the intersection in the second extreme left-hand lane. Where there are multiple lanes of travel in the same direction safe for travel, a vehicle shall not be permitted to make a lane change once the intersection has been entered.

The most common way to violate this law is when you make a “wide turn.” A wide turn is when you start your turn in one lane and drift over into another lane while executing or finishing your turn. This is a common maneuver you will see on the road and a close look at the language of the law prohibits this conduct.

Interestingly, in State v. Morgan, 260 Ga. App. 263, 581 S.E.2d 296 (2003), the Court of Appeals upheld the trial court’s suppression of the traffic stop. Morgan was stopped for making a right hand turn into the left lane of two eastbound lanes of Hwy 278, then immediately got into a left turn lane to turn onto Hazelbrand Rd. approximately 100 yards from where he entered Hwy 278; the turn was reasonable and the reasonable suspicion for the stop was unreasonable. Because the spirit of our traffic laws is to ensure safe and reasonable driving among motorists, the Court decided, given the facts of Morgan and the reasonableness of his driving, there was no reasonable and articulable suspicion to stop his vehicle even though Morgan made a wide turn.

Challenging the Stop

Like any traffic stop,  is important to challenge the officer’s observations to determine whether the stopping officer has reasonable and articulable suspicion necessary to stop your car. The most successful way to accomplish this is to challenge the officer’s perception. Key issues include, but are not limited to:

  • Distance between the officer and your vehicle
  • Angles of officer’s observation
  • Traffic conditions (no traffic makes an improper turn more reasonable and safe)
  • Lighting
  • The mechanics of the turn

Contact Us

If you or someone you know has been arrested for driving under the influence, contact the law firm of W. Scott Smith at 404.581.0999 today for a free case evaluation. You’ll find a local Atlanta DUI attorney ready to aggressively fight on your behalf. You can also find out more detailed information about Atlanta laws here.

Georgia DUI Law: Challenging the Stop, Driving While Distracted or While Using Mobile Device

Georgia DUI investigations usually begin with a routine traffic stop. At a minimum, in order to stop you and your vehicle, the stopping officer needs to have “reasonable and articulable suspicion” to believe a crime has, or is about to be committed. An officer normally satisfies this requirement by observing a traffic or equipment violation. However, if it is determined the officer did NOT have reasonable and articulable suspicion to stop your vehicle; this could result in the suppression of evidence and the ultimate dismissal of a DUI charge.

Therefore, it is crucial to examine the most common types of traffic violations that result in a DUI investigation. This article serves to inform you of what type of things police officers are looking for when stopping for driving while distracted or while using mobile device.

The Offense

As of July 1, 2018, O.C.G.A. § 40-6-241 requires drivers to exercise due care while operating a motor vehicle on the highways of this state and prohibits “any actions which shall distract such driver from the safe operation of such vehicle.”

In addition, drivers may not:

(1) physically hold or support a wireless telecommunications device or stand-alone electronic device, except for the use of an earpiece, headphone device, or device worn on a wrist to conduct a voice based communication;

(2) write, send, or read any text-based communication, including text messages, instant messages, e-mails, or Internet data, other than voice commands that are converted to text by the device or used for GPS/navigation feature control;

(3) watch a video or movie on a wireless telecommunications device or stand-alone electronic device, other than watching data related to the navigation of such vehicle; or

(4) record or broadcast a video on a wireless telecommunications device or stand-alone electronic device, other than devices used for the sole purpose of continuously recording or broadcasting video within or outside of the motor vehicle.

Commercial vehicle drivers are restricted from using more than a single button on a wireless telecommunications device to initiate or terminate a voice communication or reaching for a wireless telecommunications device or stand-alone electronic device in such a manner that requires the driver to no longer be in a seated driving position or properly restrained by a safety belt.

Exceptions

These prohibitions do not apply if the driver is:

(1) reporting a traffic accident, medical emergency, fire, an actual or potential criminal or delinquent act, or road condition which causes an immediate and serious traffic or safety hazard;

(2) an employee or contractor of a utility services provider acting within the scope of his or her employment while responding to a utility emergency;

(3) a law enforcement officer, firefighter, emergency medical services personnel, ambulance driver, or other similarly employed public safety first responder during the performance of his or her official duties; or

(4) in a lawfully parked motor vehicle.

O.C.G.A. § 40-6-241(g).

Punishment

O.C.G.A. § 40-6-241(f) states that violations are punished as misdemeanors, as follows:

(A) For a first conviction with no conviction of and no plea of nolo contendere accepted to a charge of violating this Code section within the previous 24 month period of time, as measured from the dates any previous convictions were obtained or pleas of nolo contendere were accepted to the date the current conviction is obtained or plea of nolo contendere is accepted, a fine of not more than $50.00, but the provisions of Chapter 11 of Title 17 and any other provision of law to the contrary notwithstanding, the costs of such prosecution shall not be taxed nor shall any additional penalty, fee, or surcharge to a fine for such offense be assessed against a person for conviction thereof;

(B) For a second conviction within a 24 month period of time, as measured from the dates any previous convictions were obtained or pleas of nolo contendere were accepted to the date the current conviction is obtained or plea of nolo contendere is accepted, a fine of not more than $100.00, but the provisions of Chapter 11 of Title 17 and any other provision of law to the contrary notwithstanding, the costs of such prosecution shall not be taxed nor shall any additional penalty, fee, or surcharge to a fine for such offense be assessed against a person for conviction thereof; or

(C) For a third or subsequent conviction within a 24 month period of time, as measured from the dates any previous convictions were obtained or pleas of nolo contendere were accepted to the date the current conviction is obtained or plea of nolo contendere is accepted, a fine of not more than $150.00, but the provisions of Chapter 11 of Title 17 and any other provision of law to the contrary notwithstanding, the costs of such prosecution shall not be taxed nor shall any additional penalty, fee, or surcharge to a fine for such offense be assessed against a person for conviction thereof.

A person convicted of simply holding a mobile device while driving may avoid conviction if they bring to court a device or proof of purchase of such device that would allow that person to operate a mobile device hands-free in the future. However, a person may take advantage of this saving provision only once. O.C.G.A. § 40-6-241(f)(2).

Challenging the Stop

Police officers are looking for distracted drivers, especially those drivers holding their cell phones while driving. If an officer observes this, they would have a lawful reason to stop your vehicle, and possibly launch a DUI investigation. As a result, it is important to challenge the officer’s observations to determine whether the stopping officer has reasonable and articulable suspicion necessary to stop your car. The most successful way to accomplish this is to challenge the officer’s perception. Key issues include, but are not limited to:

  • Distance between the officer and your vehicle
  • Angles of officer’s observation
  • Traffic conditions
  • Lighting
  • Window tint, if any
  • Whether you were lawfully parked

If you or someone you know has been arrested for driving under the influence, contact the law firm of W. Scott Smith at 404.581.0999 today for a free case evaluation. You’ll find a local Atlanta DUI attorney ready to aggressively fight on your behalf. You can also find out more detailed information about Atlanta laws here.

DUI: One Leg Stand Test

Both the Walk and Turn (W&T) and One Leg Stand (OLS) tests are considered, “divided attention” tests. The officer is determining how well a subject can multitask (mentally focus on multiple tasks or ideas at once). We will see there are two stages: an instruction stage and a performance stage. For the purposes of today’s article, we will just discuss the OLS test.

One Leg Stand (OLS)

Test Conditions

The OLS Test requires a reasonably dry, hard, level, and non slippery surface in relatively safe conditions. Standardizing this test for every type of road condition is unrealistic. Therefore, if road conditions are not ideal, officers are trained to:

  1.  Ask subject to perform the test elsewhere; or
  2.  Only administer HGN

The original research studies of this test suggest that individuals over 65 years of age; people with back, leg or inner ear problems; or people who are overweight by 50 or more pounds may have difficulty performing this test. In addition, the original studies suggest that individuals wearing heels more than 2 inches high should be given the opportunity to remove their shoes.

Test Procedures

The test is initiated by the officer giving the following instructions, accompanied by demonstrations:

  1. “Please stand with your feet together and arms down at the sides, like this.” Officer demonstrates placement of feet and arms.
  2. “Do not start to perform the test until I tell you to do so.”
  3. “Do you understand the instructions so far?” Officer trained to receive some affirmative response before continuing.
  4. “When I tell you to start, raise either leg with the foot approximately six inches off the ground, keeping your foot parallel to the ground.” Officer demonstrates the position.
  5. “Keep both legs straight and your arms at your side.”
  6. “While holding that position, count out loud in the following manner: ‘one thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three,’ and so on until told to stop.” Officer demonstrates counting while maintaining position.
  7. “Keep your arms at your sides at all times and keep watching your raised foot, do you understand?” Officer trained to ensure subject indicates understanding and answer any of subject’s questions regarding the test.
  8. “Go ahead and perform the test.”

The officer is trained to always time the thirty seconds in which they evaluate the test. The test should be discontinued after 30 seconds. If the subject places his or her foot down, the officer is trained to instruct the subject to pick foot up again and continue counting from where the subject’s foot touched the ground.

Test Interpretation

There are a maximum number of four clues on this test. Officers are trained that if the subject shows two or more clues or fails to complete the test, there is a probability of impairment.

Subject sways while balancing. This clue refers to side to side or back and forth motion while the subject maintains the One Leg Stand position. Swaying means a distinct, noticeable side to side or front to back movement of the elevated foot or of the subject’s body. Slight tremors of the foot or body should not be interpreted as swaying.

Uses arms to balance. This clue is recorded if the subject moves his/her arms 6 or more inches from the side of the body in order to keep balance.

Hopping. This clue is recorded if the subject is able to keep foot off the ground, but resorts to hopping to maintain balance.

Puts foot down. This clue refers to when the subject is unable to maintain the OLS position by placing the raised foot down one or more times during the thirty second count.

It is possible for the officer to observe two clues simultaneously. If a subject is unable to perform the test, the officer is trained to record observed clues and document the reason for not completing the test.  

Call Us Today

If you or someone you know has been arrested for driving under the influence, contact the law firm of W. Scott Smith at 404.581.0999 today for a free case evaluation. You’ll find a local Atlanta DUI attorney ready to aggressively fight on your behalf. You can also find out more detailed information about Atlanta laws here.

Georgia DUI- What to Do

Remain calm. Getting pulled over by the police is a stressful experience. By keeping cool and following these tips you will greatly decrease the likelihood of a DUI arrest and/or conviction.

Pull Over!

At this point the police officer will be documenting everything you do. You should slow down, signal, and pull over to the nearest and safest place possible. Even if you believe the officer is going to stop someone else, state law requires drivers to yield to emergency vehicles with activated lights.

Put your car in park, engage the parking brake, and turn off the engine. Roll down both driver and passenger front windows as the officer may approach from either side. You don’t have to roll the windows all the way down, just enough as to where the officer can clearly see and hear you. However, if the officer asks you to roll them all the way down, do so.

Place both hands on the steering wheel so the officer can clearly see them. Do not move your hands out of sight or in a fast motion. Doing so could unnecessarily escalate the situation. Also, address the officer as: officer, sir, or ma’am. Respect goes a long way with law enforcement, especially if they suspect you of DUI.

Have Your Documents Ready

Be sure to always keep your updated proof of insurance, driver’s license, and vehicle registration in a place that is easily accessible. If you are fumbling around or have difficulty in producing these items, the officer will perceive this as evidence of impairment and include it in their report. By keeping these documents together and accessible, you can save yourself a lot of trouble.

What to Say

Say as little as possible. Remember, everything you say and do is being documented in the officer’s mind and may also be recorded on a body or dash camera or microphone. Your answers to questions, and any inconsistencies in those answers, will be used in court against you if you are arrested for DUI. In addition, the less you say the less likely an officer can reasonably testify to you having “slurred speech” or “odor of alcohol” coming from your breath. These phrases appear frequently in Georgia DUI cases.  

The officer will likely begin the encounter by asking something like, “Do you know why I pulled you over?” This question is designed to get you in trouble. The best way to answer this question is by simply saying, “no.” By saying, “yes” you invite having to explain yourself. If you admit to breaking a traffic law, you not only establish probable cause to arrest for the traffic violation, but you also bolster the officer’s decision to stop your vehicle.

Next, the officer will likely ask you questions like:

  • Have you been drinking tonight?
  • How much have you drank tonight?
  • What did you drink tonight?
  • Where are you coming from?
  • Where are you going?

DO NOT ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS. Instead, politely say something to the effect of, “I do not wish to answer these questions.” If the officer tries to force the issue, politely ask if you need to get a lawyer.

UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you ever, ever, admit to drinking or describe how many drinks you’ve had. By doing so you are practically begging for the officer to arrest you, or at least thoroughly investigate you for DUI.

Decline to Perform Field Sobriety Tests

If an officer asks you to step out of the vehicle, do it. But DO NOT agree to perform any field sobriety tests (eye tests, alphabet tests, numerical counting tests, walking tests, balancing tests, etc.) DO NOT agree to a roadside breath test (portable breath test). Although the BAC number of a portable breath test is inadmissible (as opposed to the much larger Intoxilyzer breath machine at the police station or jail) , a positive result is a green light for the officer to arrest for DUI. A simple, “no thank you” or “I respectfully refuse” should be sufficient.

These tests are voluntary and are designed elicit failure. The officer who is deciding whether to arrest you will be the sole judge of your performance. Even if stone sober, you should decline to perform field sobriety tests.

If You Are Arrested…

Do not argue with the officer, you will not win. Do not ask for sympathy or try to explain why you cannot be arrested (work, children, etc.); you will only hurt your case. Remain silent. Again, everything you say can and will be used against you. ASK TO SPEAK WITH AN ATTORNEY even if the officer does not advise you of your right to an attorney.

When You Get to the Police Station

ASK FOR AN ATTORNEY. Renew your earlier request to speak with an attorney. This will prevent the officer from asking you additional questions until you have spoken with an attorney. Call us at 404.581.0999 and we will be glad to assist you. If you have the opportunity to meet with an attorney, be sure to ask the officer for privacy.

DO NOT ANSWER QUESTIONS. If arrested, the officer is supposed to advise you of your 5th Amendment Rights before questioning you. DO NOT WAIVE YOUR RIGHTS by voluntarily speaking with police. REMAIN SILENT. If you do not understand your rights, tell the officer you do not understand your rights. The officer cannot offer legal advice but does have to clarify confusion about the consequences of taking or refusing a test.

Exercise Caution in Agreeing to a Chemical Test  

Be extremely careful in deciding whether to submit to a chemical test of your breath, blood, or urine. Chemical tests are a double-edged sword. Refusing a chemical test benefits you by depriving the officer of potentially incriminating evidence produced by the test. But, if you refuse you suffer a “hard suspension” of your driving privileges for one year. If you have consumed a significant amount of alcohol, you should refuse the State chemical testing.

If you do submit to a chemical test ASK FOR AN ADDITIONAL INDEPENDENT TEST. You have the right to independent testing and the officer must reasonably assist you in obtaining the test.

Talk to a DUI Lawyer

If you or someone you know has been arrested for DUI, do not hesitate to call us. The offense of DUI is a vast and complex collection of laws that continue to puzzle lawyers and judges alike. Our office will assist in defending your case and getting the best resolution possible.

 

by Casey Cleaver

New Georgia Drivers License Suspension Rules after DUI Arrest

by Ryan Walsh

On July 1, 2017, the law changed in respect to administrative license suspensions after DUI arrests for drivers with a Georgia driver’s license under Georgia law.

In Georgia, an officer can petition the Department of Driver Services to suspend your driver’s license under the Georgia implied consent statute if the officer places you under arrest for Driving under the Influence (DUI), reads you the Georgia implied consent notice, and you either refuse to submit to the requested sample of your blood, breath, or urine, say nothing, or present a sample that is positive for alcohol at a level over .08, or shows the presence of drugs.

The officer must then issue to you a DS-1205 form stating the reason for the license suspension. This DS-1205 form acts in three ways. It is a notice of license suspension. It is a temporary driving permit. And it also informs you of your right to appeal this suspension of your driver’s license based on the Georgia implied consent law.

As of July 1, 2017, when you are arrested for DUI in Georgia and issued a DS-1205 form, that form now serves as a forty-five (45) day temporary driving permit. You have two options to proceed, and if you do nothing your Georgia driver’s license will be suspended at the end of 45 days.

Your first option is to use the old procedure to request a hearing. You have 30 days (not business days) to request a hearing regarding the suspension of your license by submitting a written request along with a money order for $150.00 to the Department of Driver Services. Requesting a hearing begins a process which is identical to the old method of Administrative License Suspension hearings with the same potential outcomes. We have writtentwo blogs outlining the old procedure which can be read here: http://www.peachstatelawyer.com/ds-1205-where-is-my-license-and-whats-this-piece-of-paper/ and http://www.peachstatelawyer.com/ds-1205-als-this-sheet-of-paper-is-nice-but-i-want-my-license-back-man/

Your second option is to forego asking for a hearing regarding the license suspension. Instead, you can apply for an ignition interlock device limited permit through the Department of Driver Services. To apply for a permit you must go to the Department of Driver Services and do the following things within thirty (30) days of receiving the DS-1205 form: (1) Install and maintain an ignition interlock device with a vendor of your own choosing for the twelve month period of your ignition interlock device limited permit. Once the Ignition Interlock Device is installed you can go to a Georgia DDS location and pay a $25.00 ignition interlock device limited permit fee, surrender your Georgia driver’s license, and execute an affidavit stating you waive your right to a hearing under the Georgia implied consent law to obtain an ignition interlock device limited permit.

Your permit will be revoked if you are convicted of a moving violation under the laws of the State of Georgia, if you have been found to have violated the terms of the limited driving permit, or you have been found to have tampered with the ignition interlock device.

You can only drive on your ignition interlock device permit for the following reasons: (1) to and from work along with performing the normal duties of your job, (2) receiving medical care or obtaining prescriptions, (3) attending school, (4) attending treatment, (5) attending court ordered driver education, (6) attending court, (7) attending community service, (8) taking a family member to work, school, or a medical appointment, (9) court ordered activities, and (10) visiting the ignition interlock provider monthly.

At the time you apply for your Ignition Interlock permit you waive your right to a hearing challenging the administrative license suspension. You must be over 21 and have a Georgia driver’s license to apply for an ignition interlock device permit. You will not be given a permit if you have a DUI conviction on your record with an arrest date within the past five years. Applying for an interlock permit will remove your CDL status if you have a commercial driver’s license.

If you choose to go the Ignition Interlock Device Permit route, you must have the ignition interlock device installed within ten days of receiving the permit. The device must be installed for a minimum of 120 days. You cannot drive any vehicle that does not have an ignition interlock device installed on it. If your case is resolved with a disposition that is not DUI while you have an ignition interlock device permit, you must remain on the permit for the entire twelve months unless you gave an implied consent sample on a DUI alcohol case. Refusal cases must continue on the permit for the entire twelve months, even if their case is dismissed or reduced.

Time spent on an ignition interlock device permit is credited towards any driver’s license suspension for a DUI conviction. You must pay a $100 reinstatement fee at the expiration of your ignition interlock device permit to reinstate your full driving privileges.

These rules are a significant departure from the longstanding procedures regarding Georgia driver’s licenses after DUI arrests. Call us today at 404-581-0999 if you have any questions about your drivers license.

VIDEO – Walk and Turn Field Sobriety Test

Imagine a straight line in front of you. Put your left foot on that line. Place your right foot in front of your left foot with your left toe touching your right heel. Put your hands down by your sides and hold that position without moving. Hello, I’m attorney Scott Smith and today we’re talking about the walk and turn field sobriety test, the second of the three standardized field sobriety tests approved by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration designed for the detection of impaired drivers.

Are you still holding that starting position I discussed in the beginning of this video? It’s tough isn’t it? Now imagine you’re on the side of the interstate with cars passing at seventy miles per hour, or in a parking lot next to a busy intersection with people looking on. You’ve got an officer that’s already told you that the test is to determine whether or not you’re safe to continue to drive. Is it getting more difficult? You haven’t even begun to actually walk the test yet.

The walk and turn field sobriety test provides the officer seventy-six different opportunities to notice eight clues of impairment. If the officer notices only two clues, it gives the officer enough evidence to believe you are an impaired driver.

The eight clues are broken down into two phases. The first phase is the instructional phase. During the instructional phase the officer asks you to get into the position described at the start of the video. During this instructional phase the officer is looking to see if you break that stance of if you start too soon by mimicking the officer’s movements. Those are the first two of eight clues.

During each series of nine steps you take, the officer is looking for four clues on each step. They are looking to see whether you miss touching heel to toe, whether you step off your line, whether you stop walking at any point during the step taking, or whether or not you use your arms for balance.

There are two final in the walking phase. One is for not turning exactly as instructed by the officer, and the final clue is for taking the incorrect number of steps in either series of nine steps, going out or coming back.

Does this test seem difficult to you to pass? The test isn’t designed to be passed. It is designed to show the officer clues of impairment to help them justify arresting you. We recommend to all our clients to politely refuse to participate in field sobriety testing, especially the dexterity testing. Do not help the officer make their case.

Our team of experienced Georgia DUI attorneys are trained just like the police officers in how to properly perform field sobriety evaluations. We are trained to look at each test and break down whether or not the instructions are correct, whether the officer demonstrated it correctly, and whether or not you actually exhibited the clues the officer said he saw at the time of you conducting these tests.

If you’ve been stopped for DUI and you are worried about your performance on the walk and turn field sobriety test, or whether or not you’ve just got questions for us, call our office today for a free consultation. We’re available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Our telephone number is 404-581-0999.

Thank you.

VIDEO – What to Do When Stopped for DUI

You’ve gone out with friends or family. You’ve had a few drinks and you’re driving home when you see the blue lights behind you. What do you do when stopped for DUI? That’s the topic of today’s Peach State Lawyer video blog. Hi, I’m Scott Smith and today we’re talking about what do you do when stopped for DUI after a night out drinking.

From the time you first notice an officer behind you, you need to know that the police officer has already begun their DUI investigation.

When you see those blue lights turn on, your first job is to pull over safely and quickly. Use your turn signal to indicate you notice the police officer behind you. Slow down and pull over onto the first side street or well-lit parking lot you see.

Once stopped, put your car in park and get your driver’s license out. Put it in a place where you can easily reach it as the officer will ask you for it. Check the time in your vehicle and think about where you were coming from before you were stopped and where you were going. Also know the addresses of any major cross streets in the area you were pulled over.

Expect the officer to approach your window and ask you if you know why you were pulled over. It is okay to tell them you are not sure why you were stopped. But know your statement can be an admission against you.

After this brief conversation officers will ask you more specific questions about how much you had to drink and where you were earlier that evening. Be careful with your answers. Any admissions of drinking can be used against you at trial. But a denial of drinking may be just as harmful as an admission.

Field sobriety tests are completely voluntary. Politely refuse them. These tests are designed solely to gather evidence that can help police officers make their decision to arrest you. You cannot pass these tests.

There are three standardized field sobriety tests that the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration has determined are the only series of tests to determine alcohol impairment. These tests are number one the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, two, the walk and turn test, and three the one leg stand test. An in depth discussion of each of these tests is available in a separate video blog highlighting each of them.

You should also refuse to submit to a roadside breath test. Even though the officer will deny it, the roadside breath test will provide a number. And that number will be used by the officer in their decision to arrest you.

A DUI on your criminal history can follow you forever. Our office of experienced and trained Georgia DUI attorneys can help answer answer any questions you have about hypothetical situations or pending charges. We’re available twenty four hours a day, seven days a week to help you out. Call us today at 404-581-0999 for a free consultation.

Thank you so much.