By: William C. Head, Best DUI Lawyers Recipient of Lawyer of the Year for Atlanta in 2012 and 2017
Before people ever encounter a police officer who is investigating them for driving under the influence, they will ask me How to Beat a DUI charge, if they are pulled over by law enforcement. The short and sweet answer is to GIVE as little EVIDENCE as possible, and still retain your right to drive.
Because every DUI in Georgia is controlled by the Georgia implied consent law, any person arrested on suspicion of drunk driving or drugged driving is going to be FIRST arrested, and the READ the implied consent notice, in Georgia. This article outlines how to NOT self-incriminate, to the greatest extent possible.
The author of this article has fought Georgia DUI cases for 41 years, and wrote the definitive book on how to beat a DUI, in 1991. A photo of that book is shown below.
Unless your driver’s license has an incorrect address, then NO WORDS need to be uttered by you. If that license displays your current address and correct name, then just NOD your head, when asked if this is your correct name and address. Anything else that the officer needs can be retrieved from government computers.
A famous comedian pointed out that his legal problems came when he KNEW he had the right to remain silent, but that his intoxication took away his ABILITY to remain silent. This Step #1 is also Rule #1, to Shut the F*%k Up!
Roadside agility tests, like an HGN eye test, walking a line, standing on one foot, counting, saying a partial alphabet, or ANYTHING else, is OPTIONAL, and not required to be done, under any state’s laws. NEVER attempt to pass these biased, non-scientific, VOLUNTARY, subjectively-graded evaluations, that are all done PRIOR to any arrest, or the giving of implied consent warnings. Shake your head in the negative.
If the officer persists, look away from him or her, shaking your head, to non-verbally communicate NO. The so-called NHTSA standardized field sobriety test, 3-test battery is JUNK science, at best. These roadside exercises have been the source of more false convictions than anything else EXCEPT verbally incriminating yourself. JUST SAY NO, by shaking your head side-to-side.
Because the United States Supreme Court made a ruling in 1966 in Schmerber v. California that elevated the need of police to get a post-arrest breath test above the Constitution, you must be your own protector of what few legal rights you still enjoy. Police will NOT allow you — in the middle of an investigation of a suspected crime (DUI-DWI) — to get on your cell phone to call a DUI attorney or anyone else.
The Schmerber case decided that, due to the dissipating nature of a blood alcohol concentration, that the 4th Amendment right to NOT self-incriminate, and the 6th Amendment right to have access to legal counsel took a back seat to DUI interdiction. The high Court reasoned that time is of the essence, for the officer to gather this “changing” evidence, in order to support the officer’s suspicion of drunk driving.
Once cuffed and arrested, you will be VERBALLY advised of implied consent. Georgia officers do not have to show the driver any written copy. This implied consent law is a statutory provision, only used for drunk driving and drugged driving arrests, to NOTIFY the arrested driver of his or her OBLIGATION to be tested for impairing substances, under the Georgia implied consent law.
Under the administrative part of Georgia law, the driver can be suspended for one full year, for saying NO, or simply not answering. In Georgia, consent must be ACTUAL and VOLUNTARY. This was decided in a recent Georgia Supreme Court Case called Williams v. State in 2015.
Under the criminal aspects of implied consent in GA, the REFUSAL to submit to State breath testing CAN be used by the Prosecutor at your criminal trial. Georgia law permits the State’s lawyers to argue (to a jury) that your refusal to give the breath test is a CONSCIOUSNESS OF GUILT, since you knew you would blow over the legal BAC limit.
Due to a new change in GA implied consent, first offense DUI suspects who are age 21 and over, have their FULL driver’s license, and no convictions in the last 5 years (measured by dates of arrest) have a new option to put an ignition interlock device (IID) on their vehicle for one year, and not suffer a total suspension, as would be required under prior law (before July 1, 2017).
An arrested driver under age 21, and any person with a 2nd DUI in GA (or another state) within those preceding 5 years is treated just like an out-of-state driver. But, for ALL of these “disenfranchised” second-class motorists (in the eyes of DDS Georgia), the appeal of the pending suspension offers SOME hope of a benefit, and should ALWAYS be taken.
This differentiation between GA drivers, who have 1st DUI offense, and out-of-state licensees (who are NOT eligible for interlock) now makes it BETTER for an out-of-state licensee to TAKE the State’s breath test, and then get his or her own independent test. Conversely, for the ELIGIBLE Georgia licensee, if he or she is NOT POSITIVE that he or she would pass, refusal NOW opens the door to a limited permit (LP) for the full 12 months or a potential suspension. CAUTION:
This limited permit is very “fragile,” meaning that any TICKET for which the driver gets convicted or if any other cause of an interlock compliance violation occurs, this IIDLP can be revoked, and that driver then is totally suspended for at LEAST 6 full months. This new twist in Georgia implied consent laws has made the services of a top-rated DUI attorney indispensable.
You should demand an independent test AFTER you agree to submit to the State’s implied consent test. This request can be done immediately after telling the officer that you WILL submit to the state-administered test, or later, but be certain to demand this additional test.
You must be able to pay for it, and Georgia law requires that you tell the officer where and what type(s) of tests. You can ask to go to a hospital in an adjacent county, and you can opt for blood or urine, or you can get both. Don’t wait too long, and get turned over to the jail, where no independent test is likely available. ASK EARLY, and repeat the request, if needed.
No fellow cellmate can be trusted. Say nothing to him or her about your facts, you case or anything to do with your amount of alcohol. These folks will turn State’s evidence for an extra bologna sandwich. Do your talking to a criminal defense attorney, once you are out, and able to FREELY speak.
One word to remember is “FREE”. The call is FREE, the initial lawyer consultation is FREE. We will even help you make the RIGHT choice about whether to opt for the Interlock or file a traditional ALS appeal with GA DDS. Our DUI lawyers, Larry Kohn, Bubba Head and Cory Yager, are here to help you beat a DUI in Georgia. DIAL 404-567-5515, to get instant information about your DUI in GA.