Everyone knows that driving under the influence of too much alcohol is illegal. If your alcohol blood level is .08 or above you are considered to be driving under the influence, and you will likely need a Marietta DUI lawyer.
DUI is a per se offense, meaning that a blood alcohol level of .08 alone is defined as driving under the influence. You need not have intent to commit a crime.
A person can have a blood alcohol level of less than .08 and still be guilty of driving under the influence. If you are under the age of 21, .02 is the legal alcohol-blood limit. The blood-alcohol limit is .04 for a person operating a commercial vehicle.
However, a person may be convicted of a DUI when their alcohol-blood level is below the legal limit. A driver’s performance may affect a DUI charge. In this instance, performance refers to what occurred when the person was driving, and how they reacted to roadside sobriety tests. Moreover, the police officer’s observations of the suspect may serve as evidence. For example, the prosecutor may present bloodshot eyes, the odor of alcohol, and a disheveled appearance as evidence at trial.
Marijuana and Other Drugs Prohibited
Georgia’s prohibition of DUI is not restricted to alcohol. The presence of marijuana or illegal drugs in your system in any amount constitutes driving under the influence. If a driver has a restricted prescription drug in their system, they may face a DUI conviction. If a driver has a prescription and is impaired due to the medication, they still can be convicted of a DUI.
Georgia is an implied consent state. Implied consent means a person has consented to a blood-alcohol test by driving on Georgia’s roads. A driver may refuse to take the test, but you may face a suspended license. You only have 10 business days from the date of your arrest to contest the suspension of your license. Do not delay getting an experienced DUI lawyer to handle your case.
Police Must Have a Valid Reason to Stop You
Despite the numerous ways a driver can run afoul of the law, there are many defenses to a DUI charge. Before a police officer stops a motor vehicle, he must have an articulable suspicion of a crime. If articulable suspicion is not present, the stop is invalid. A lawyer may suppress evidence gathered at an improper stop, preventing use of the evidence in court. Articulable suspicion means behavior or evidence was observed that would lead a reasonable police officer to believe a crime was committed. What constitutes articulable suspicion is fact specific. Each case is different. Clear violation of the law, such as a speeding car or an expired license plate, articulable suspicion exists.
In other instances, the police are clearly wrong. Driving in the early morning hours at approximately 1:30 AM on a Friday or Saturday night does not by itself create articulable suspicion. Also, a person’s race or ethnicity does not generate articulable suspicion, even if they are in a neighborhood the police officer does not think they belong in. This is America, and a person does not have to explain why they are in a particular area because of their skin color.
However, many cases are not clear cut, or the police officer may hide his real motive for making a stop. An experienced DUI lawyer knows how to investigate the stop and raise the issue in court.
Police Must Have Probable Cause for an Arrest
Once a police officer makes a stop, they must have probable cause to make an arrest. Probable cause means a reasonable person would believe that a crime has been committed. A variety of tests may determine the presence of probable cause. The first test is the officer’s observations. The police officer’s arrest report will say the driver had bloodshot eyes and a strong smell of alcohol. However, there are numerous cases where a police officer’s arrest report made the observation of bloodshot eyes and the odor of alcohol but subsequent testing indicated that the driver had no alcohol in their system. An experienced and aggressive DUI attorney will investigate and know the facts of the case before trial.
Other tests can be used at roadside. A police officer may instruct you to walk heel to toe, lift one foot and balance, say your ABCs in an unusual manner, and touch your nose. Some will administer a preliminary breath test. Typically, the breath test given at the roadside is not the one that produces the test results used at trial.
After an arrest, a person accused of a DUI is taken to a location where a breath test is administered. Also, they may be transported to a clinic, fire station, or a hospital to take a blood sample. The police must establish probable cause for an arrest to continue the detention. If the court finds that probable cause was not present, then the police have no right to further detain you and administer more tests. Consequently, test results that were gathered after an improper arrest are inadmissible in court.
Contact Our Marietta DUI Lawyer
Kim Frye is an experienced and aggressive DUI lawyer with extensive courtroom experience. Prior to entering the private practice of law, she worked with the district attorney’s office. Her experience as a prosecutor helps her to detect when the police have acted improperly.
If you decide to go to court, Kim Frye will be ready. She will examine the evidence against you and ask the tough questions of the police. She will not let the police take anything for granted. Our DUI lawyer will be with you every step of the way, working to get driving privileges, explaining the process to you, and fighting for you in court. She will investigate to question the validity of the stop, the arrest, and blood-alcohol test results. Kim Frye does not show up in court just to represent you, she comes to win.