DUI Frequently Asked Questions
Experienced Guidance from Atlanta DUI Attorneys
When you find yourself pulled over by an officer for DUI, you may not know what to do. While it is impossible to tell you exactly what to do if you find yourself in the middle of a DUI investigation, our lawyers have put together some helpful tips in case you are ever pulled over for drunk driving.
If you have more questions or want to begin a free case evaluation, contact Ross & Pines today!
Do You Have To Answer The Officer's Questions About Consuming Alcohol?
No, and it is not in your best interest to do so. You do not have to answer questions such as: “Have you been drinking?” “When was your last drink?” and “How much did you have to drink?” That does not mean you should lie to the officer, it simply means you have the right to refuse to answer those questions. Similarly, you do not have to tell the officer where you have been and where you are going. Everything the officer asks you is designed to get you to incriminate yourself and develop probable cause for your arrest. You do need to provide the officer with your name, license, and insurance. You also should be courteous and follow all lawful commands given to you by the officer.
Should You Take The Field Sobriety Test?
No. Field sobriety evaluations are voluntary. Field sobriety evaluations are also designed to make you fail in that the officer will only deduct points for things you do poorly and will not give you any points for things you do correctly. When is the last time you walked in a straight line, with your hands down by your side, touching your heel to your toe? When is the last time you stood on one foot, with your hands down by your side, and counted to thirty? Do you even know whether you can balance better on your right leg or your left leg? Why would you allow a police officer to conduct the eye test (horizontal gaze nystagmus) when the officer has no medical training to conduct such a test? All of these “tests” are simply designed to give the officer probable cause to arrest you regardless of whether you think you passed or failed. If a police says he wants to “make sure you are safe to drive” by conducting some field sobriety evaluations, you can politely decline the request. Similarly, if a police officer asks you if “you mind stepping out of your car” you can ask the police officer if you are being asked to step out of the car, which you can refuse to do, or being ordered to get out of the car, which you must obey.
Should You Take "The State's Test" (Breathalyzer, Blood Or Urine)?
There are two types of breath tests associated with a stop and arrest for DUI:
The first is the preliminary breath test, called an alco-sensor, which is used on the side of the road to detect the presence of alcohol. The results of this breath test are not admissible at trial. However, the officer is permitted to testify whether the results were positive or negative for alcohol. You are not required to take the alco-sensor preliminary breath test.
- The State’s Test
The second test occurs after arrest and after the officer has read you your implied consent rights, which inform you about your rights in taking and/or refusing to take "the State's test" (breath, blood or urine). Everyone who drives a car in Georgia has given his or her "implied consent" to take "the State's test" and there are consequences if you refuse to take it or your results are over the legal limit of .08. Whether you decide to take "the State's test" after arrest is a difficult decision to make, as refusing the test will result in the suspension of your driver's license for one year. If you have only had one or two drinks it may be in your best interest to just take the test rather than risk your driver's license being administratively suspended for one year. However, only you know exactly how much alcohol you consumed. Since your driver's license can also be administratively suspended if your test results are over the legal limit of .08. If you decide to takes "the State's test" always ask for an independent blood test.
How Can You Protect Your Driving Privileges In Georgia?
Since your license can be suspended from the criminal process (DUI conviction) and/or administrative process, it is crucial to hire an attorney as soon as you are arrested for DUI to protect your driving privileges and request your hearing with the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS) within 10 days of your DUI arrest date.
Should You Contact A Lawyer?
Absolutely. DUI is a complicated area of criminal and administrative law, and you need an experienced lawyer focused on protecting your rights, your reputation, your driving privileges and your future. Contact Ross & Pines for a free consultation.