By: William C. Head, DUI Lawyer in Atlanta
Many people erroneously think that they can judge being “over the limit” by how they feel. However, whether a person feels “drunk” is not the legal standard. Under Georgia DUI law, the standard is whether or not the drinking driver can be proven to be a “less safe” driver, by virtue of whatever alcohol was consumed before or during driving. Even if a DUI checkpoint refusal occurs, the criminal prosecution can go forward on DUI less safe, or (if a search warrant is obtained for your blood) on both the less safe DUI and the per se DUI, assuming your BAC levels exceed the legal limit.
Most people who routinely drink alcohol and drive never check a BAC chart or check an online BAC calculator to know their legal limit during and after the time they drink. The legally permissible BAC levels for adults age 21 and over have dropped to about half of what was permitted 50 years ago (0.08 grams percent today, versus 0.15 grams percent 50 years ago), and two or three drinks can put some adult drinkers at a number that is above the legal alcohol limit, especially when the alcoholic beverages are consumed rapidly (i.e., in 45 to 75 minutes) or the night ends with “taking a shot” just before leaving the drinker’s final bar or restaurant location.
With a DUI alcohol per se law, which requires NO proof of impaired driving, any drinking driver can be facing a violation of the 0.08 grams percent legal drinking limit under OCGA 40-6-391 (a)(5), even if no errant driving is noticed by the law enforcement officer.
When a vehicle is pulled over or stopped at a police checkpoint, a suspected drunk driver who provided sufficient proof of driving while intoxicated (through manifestations and/or admissions to consumption of alcohol) will be read an implied consent notice that requires the arrested person to provide a BAC alcohol result, by a DUI test of breath alcohol, blood alcohol, or urine alcohol. This testing is targeted to obtaining the person’s legal limit alcohol BAC levels through the legal coercion of the Georgia implied consent law. Any DUI refusal to be tested can cost that accused drunk driver a full one year total loss of driving privileges.
If arrested in Georgia for driving under the influence, refusal to submit to the official state sobriety test (alcohol breath test on the Intoxilyzer 9000 is the most common type of legal BAC test) will trigger an administrative license suspension process whereby the State is seeking to suspend or revoke the person’s driver’s license under GA implied consent law. Currently, Georgia DUI laws call for a FULL YEAR of Georgia driver’s license suspension, for DUI refusal. However, in MANY other states, a DUI refusal may also require jail time for refusing to submit to a state sobriety test to check the arrested driver’s BAC levels – or a fine, or both.
So, caution must be exercised by any drinking driver in refusing to be tested after a lawful DUI arrest, or that person may not only suffer license suspension, but also be assessed fines and spend time in jail, whether or not the person hires the best Atlanta DUI lawyer who knows how to beat a DUI refusal in the criminal case. By way of example, Hawaii now calls for 30 DAYS IN JAIL, for a person who refuses to submit to a breath alcohol test to determine the legal limit for alcohol of that detained driver.
If stopped at a DUI checkpoint, call the Bubba Head DUI law firm to speak with a DUI lawyer. We know the ways to win a checkpoint case in Georgia, by reviewing all aspects of the legality of the roadblock. Call our criminal lawyers at 404-567-5515 or 1-888-384-4323 NOW to speak with our criminal defense attorneys Atlanta, for coverage anywhere in Georgia.