By: Atlanta DUI attorney, William C. “Bubba” Head, 41-year criminal defense attorney
Because no meaningful training on asserting and exercising “legal rights” is given to Georgia citizens in high school or college, 99% of all people pulled over for a suspected DUI in Georgia do not know what to do — or what not to do — when a police officer starts questioning a suspected DUI-DWI driver. In some DUI cases, some drivers refuse the breathalyzer and face an administrative license suspension for refusing to submit to the State-administered “chemical test,” called for by the Georgia implied consent law.
Some citizens THINK that field sobriety tests are REQUIRED by Georgia DUI law. Absolutely NOT! Never submit to ANY type of “exercise,” balance test, alphabet test, or even allow the officer to test your eyes. All police-requested tests are 100% JUNK SCIENCE, unreliable, and are intended to trick you into giving police a basis to arrest you for drunken driving. This advice includes NOT taking the portable roadside breathalyzer, which is OPTIONAL.
Once arrested, any post-arrest implied consent asking you to take the breathalyzer at the police station or jail cannot be refused without putting your right to drive in jeopardy. A DUI refusal could suspend your right to drive for a full year. If you consent to DUI blood testing to prevent license suspension, or to have a BAC result taken on the Intoxilyzer 9000, ALL citizens who comply should REQUEST and GET their own independent blood alcohol testing afterward at a location and medical facility of their OWN choosing.
This short primer explains your legal rights in a DUI refusal case or a DUI case with a breath alcohol test as part of the State’s evidence. Following these rules help prevent adding a driving under the influence conviction to your criminal records.
First and Foremost, Do NOT Self-Incriminate by Talking or by Taking Field Sobriety Tests
Rule Number 1 is SHUT THE F%CK UP! Do not talk to police beyond what the LAW REQUIRES: your NAME and your ADDRESS. Talking and answering questions can KILL your chances of winning the DUI less safe Georgia case (for alcohol or for drugs), even if you successfully dodge giving a breath test. You don’t need to yell at the officer claiming no reasonable suspicion to pull you over because most DUI arrests have body cams or police vehicle cameras. The US Supreme Court has said that the ONLY information required is your name and address, which should be showing ON YOUR DRIVER’S LICENSE. The central theme to follow in how to beat a DUI in Georgia is to NOT give the police ANY evidence by your OWN words or actions, which is self-incriminating. Remain silent. DO NOTHING.
Rule Number 2 is to NOT take or attempt ANY roadside exercises, evaluations, or verbal tests. All are 100% optional and completely voluntary. Be prepared when the situation arises, and especially knowing what to do when pressured to perform field sobriety tests like the “eye test” (the HGN test), one leg stand, alphabet, or walk the line evaluations. Any attempts to do these subjectively-graded roadside exercises is the KEY EVIDENCE prosecutors focus upon in a Georgia DUI less safe case.
The best way to beat a DUI in GA is to hire a skilled criminal defense lawyer. This means hiring a DUI defense attorney that has a proven track record of being one of the best DUI lawyers in Georgia. This short, targeted list of 11 ways to beat a DUI refusal or breath test walks through the DUI rules for protecting yourself at a police pullover for a traffic ticket or being stopped at a DUI checkpoint.
Remain silent. The only thing required from you to disclose to an officer at traffic stops is your correct name and current address. Anything and EVERYTHING else you provide to the investigating officer looking for a DUI arrest will almost 100% be guaranteed to be used as evidence against you. For example, the officer may ask if you take any prescription drugs. DO NOT ANSWER. Remain silent. If you admit to using prescribed drugs or even over-the-counter products like Benadryl, this may be enough to authorize the officer to arrest you, write up DUI charges, and then request a BLOOD test. The most harmful information in most DUI cases is what comes out of a client’s mouth. If you want to beat a DUI, you need to remain SILENT.
Since Georgia police officers are trained to know that a detained person in Georgia has no right to a DUI attorney, you will not be able to consult with legal counsel for a GA DUI until after you are BOOKED IN at the police station. By then, your DUI case has been documented with a great deal of circumstantial evidence.
Do nothing in terms of “sobriety screening” at the roadway. In Georgia, every roadside exercise or so-called “field sobriety test” is both voluntary and unscientific. No decent DUI lawyer will EVER tell a client to attempt to perform roadside field tests offered by a police officer because these bogus evaluations have been the source of more innocent people being convicted of drunk driving than anything else.
As stated above, the DUI less safe case rises or falls on these OPTIONAL evaluations. This unfortunate and inaccurate description (i.e., using the word “tests’) is misleading since the NHTSA standardized field sobriety tests are not “reliable” tests of sobriety at all. Despite the lack of a REAL scientific basis for detecting impaired driving ability in Georgia, these field sobriety evaluations are allowed to be used against you in court by officers with no medical training and no degree in psychophysical testing and measurement.
Why attempt to perform such bogus DUI tests when they can and almost always will be harmful to your chances of winning your less safe DUI case? Field sobriety tests have been described as a “fraud” on the American public by Texas researcher Dr. James Booker, Ph.D., Colorado physician Dr. Greg Kane, MD, and Georgia clinical psychologist Dr. Spurgeon Cole, Ph.D.
The next way to beat a DUI is to never take a roadside breathalyzer test on a hand-held, portable breath test device. In Georgia, the numeric breath test results of the hand-held preliminary breath test machine are NOT an “approved” forensic device. Plus, no “waiting period” is used, and the last drink may be only minutes after the time of driving from the bar.
By this statement, “forensic” means “admissible in a court of law.” In a DUI trial in Georgia, the “number” on a preliminary breathalyzer is not admissible, but a police officer is allowed to testify that the RESULT was “positive” for alcohol. Too often, jurors hear this phrase and are quick to think the worst and not the best. To win your DUI case, avoid submitting to this VOLUNTARY, nebulous, and possibly harmful “inference” by simply declining to blow into this portable breathalyzer, which is an OPTIONAL and VOLUNTARY alcohol-screening test. Simply say “NO,” but do it politely.
If arrested for a Georgia DUI, do not physically resist the officer cuffing you and do not verbally protest or beg to be given a “break.” Remember to SHUT UP! Even celebrities who resist arrest get their asses beat by police — just ask Randy Travis! Once arrested, and before any implied consent notice is read to you, politely assert your right to an attorney. Resistance can create another criminal charge of obstruction of an officer at either the misdemeanor level (no physical contact with an officer) or a felony obstruction (physical contact such as hitting, biting, kicking, head-butting, or spitting on) of a law enforcement officer. You are not going to get much sympathy from a jury or judge if your conduct towards law enforcement is something these people would not think of doing in the same situation. Calm, polite, and responsive detainees are usually perceived to NOT be impaired without more proof.
Don’t EVER assume that you have privacy inside a police car. Modern police cars, especially if designated to be used for DUI-DWI arrests, often have both AUDIO and VIDEO recording focused on you. Do NOT engage in a cell phone conversation about your case, even if it is to your DUI lawyer because the appellate courts have ruled that you have no expectation of privacy in the back seat of a police car. All recorded audio and video can be used against you, and it often means the difference between winning and losing. SHUT UP! Remain calm. Be polite. This will HELP to beat a DUI case.
Don’t confuse your POST-ARREST obligation to take the “implied consent” breath test or, under special circumstances, a blood test (only if drugs are reasonably suspected, or if you refuse breath testing). This post-arrest test is NOT the pre-arrest, optional, voluntary portable breathalyzer test (a handheld breath test device about the size of a smartphone) offered at the roadway. If you assert your right to talk to a criminal lawyer, the arresting officer may claim that this constitutes a refusal. But, so long as you affirmatively tell the officer you WILL take his or her requested type of test, you are allowed (under GA DUI law) to change your mind, and submit to the breath alcohol test.
The Georgia implied consent law alcohol breath test is typically given at the jail or at a police substation after you have been handcuffed and arrested. If blood is being taken, it is usually not for BAC alcohol, but more commonly a blood drugs test. In Georgia, failure to say YES to implied consent can cause you to lose your entire right to drive for a full year by refusing to submit to implied consent testing. Plus, by rejecting the implied consent chemical test (usually conducted at the police station or jail), an officer would then be authorized to seek a search warrant for blood and take a forcible blood test from you, pursuant to state criminal law relating to drunk driving.
The DUI refusal can lead to a license suspension, even before the criminal case comes up. In Georgia, once you TAKE the arresting officer’s requested type of implied consent test, you are entitled to obtain your OWN independent test or tests from a person of your choosing. This request is protected under the GA implied consent law. Just because you allegedly blew over the legal limit, this test is STILL available and should be requested at a hospital in an adjacent county. Always know the name of a nearby hospital that will be willing to take your blood test, even if the facility is located in an adjacent county. Don’t ask for it to be tested on their hospital test devices, but ask them to draw the blood and deliver the tubes to you for later analysis.
Shockingly, a typical hospital blood draw is NOT of whole blood, but conducted on test devices that only report NADH and do not measure alcohol AT ALL! If your arresting officer does NOT reasonably accommodate you in getting an independent sample, this can be grounds to eliminate your blood or breath tests.
On your journey to jail, you may deal with a police transport officer, a book-in officer, a nurse to ask health questions, or even another prisoner who may make an excellent witness in your criminal case. If you have medical conditions that MAY impact a breath alcohol test, tell the nurse. If you don’t bond out of jail and hire a criminal attorney quickly, some courts require that a public defender speak to you, and this person will ask if you need an appointed DUI attorney. Do your best to remember the names and a good identification of these potential witnesses. Write this information down at your first opportunity.
In Georgia, you only have thirty (30) calendar days to appeal your driver’s license suspension. Once you get out of jail, call a Georgia DUI attorney immediately to avoid a DUI license suspension. Do this under guidance from an experienced criminal defense attorney in Georgia who knows how to beat a DUI. Maintaining your ability to drive is job #1 for top-rated lawyers who practice drunk driving defense.
Act quickly to get your DUI attorney to assist you in filing this important letter to appeal your DDS 1205 administrative suspension, or opting for the IIDLP (ignition interlock device limited permit) if you are eligible. You may be facing a total loss of driving privileges for a DUI refusal. A check for the $150 filing fee payable to “Georgia DDS” needs to go to the State of Georgia to cover your filing fee.
If you wish to file your OWN letter, you must send it by U.S. certified mail with a receipt from the post office showing delivery and receipt by them within 30 calendar days. But, our DUI attorneys will help decide whether send an appeal letter or opt for the IIDLP for no legal fee cost, don’t screw this up.
Anything you say in jail, including over the phone, may be recorded. So, don’t think that verbal admissions made to another prisoner or a guard won’t be used by a prosecutor as potential incriminating evidence against you. Only speak to your DUI attorney. Remain silent while in jail, and focus on posting bond and getting good descriptions and names of favorable potential witnesses.
So long as your criminal case for DUI is pending, any new arrest — especially for another DUI — could create MAJOR issues. To begin with, your first bond can be revoked and you could go back to jail. Then, your DUI attorney will have to try to get a new bond. This may take days or even weeks. He or she may have to agree to have you submit to other conditions on your bond, just for you to remain out of jail (e.g., wearing a transdermal ankle monitor 24 hours a day until your case is resolved).
In some GA courts, like in Troup County State Court, for a 2nd DUI in GA (or any other repeat offender), the Judge will only allow you out of jail on bond if you agree to wear (and PAY for) an ankle monitor that detects and records through transdermal sampling any alcohol in your body. Because any DUI lawyer that you may hire cannot alter this “discretionary” act by the judge, your new arrest may simply cause you MUCH more inconvenience and DUI attorney costs. These conditions can be financially painful or even crippling to your ability to work. This may result in the installation of an alcohol interlock device on your car (painful) or not being allowed to drive at all (crippling).
When helpful evidence or a key witness disappears, your GOOD case can become a TOUGH case. Criminal defense attorney Bubba Head can tell you hundreds of good stories about how gathering evidence shortly after a DUI arrest has helped him and his law firm win cases and beat a DUI. Head and Law Partners Cory Yager and Larry Kohn are all DUI specialists. All members of our DUI law firm can also tell you just as many BAD stories of how such key evidence was lost by not acting quickly. Be one of the “winners” by promptly hiring your choice of the best DUI lawyers.
One of the central themes for Mr. Head’s former clients who sought an attorney who knew “how to beat a DUI” was to take prompt action to hire a DUI attorney to gather this key evidence and find the flaws in the police officer’s case. Two examples of flaws: (a) road construction that makes painted lane dividers difficult to see, and (b) premises video camera footage from a restaurant, a parking lot, or a service station that can provide us with information to support our client’s version of what happened, and possibly make a difference in whether or not you can beat a DUI in GA.
Some people foolishly try to self-assess their chances of winning the DUI in GA. The operable word here is “FOOLISHLY.” Just reading TRUE DUI case histories with: (1)BAC levels triple the alcohol legal limit, or (2) with a DUI refusal and failing all three NHTSA field sobriety tests, or (3) another drunk driving case report of a DUI checkpoint with a Intoxilyzer breath test double the legal alcohol limit, from two of our previous criminal trials will dissuade you from thinking that you have no chance to beat a DUI in court.
Some citizens are so depressed that they dwell on their mistake the night before, and not on beating the criminal charges. Fear of the unknown can be a powerful enemy. Our DUI lawyer partners WELCOME comparing criminal attorney comparisons. For example, our law firm has three different lawbook authors, which is unique in Georgia and possibly in all of America.
A successful defense record for all Atlanta DUI attorneys in the law firm must include possessing the ability to neutralize field sobriety test evidence and finding ways to eliminate breath alcohol test results, especially where the “number” is in excess of the legal alcohol limit. Plus, know the Georgia DUI law is critical, and this entails our DUI attorneys being familiar with every prior appellate decision on Georgia driving under the influence laws and especially the Georgia implied consent law.
Drugged driving cases have grown by 100% in the last 15 years. Sleep driving DUI cases, after taking prescribed medications for insomnia or pain management are up by 400%. Plus, a conviction for DUI-drugs has more devastating DUI penalties in Georgia that a DUI-alcohol case, due to more severe loss of driving privileges and other loss of entitlements (e.g., loss of the GA Hope Scholarship due to a “drugs” conviction).
Each DUI attorney in our law office possesses special training on debunking “drug recognition” officers’ training and roadside tests like the “modified Romberg test” and the less-extensive ARIDE training that some law enforcement officers take. Plus, we have obtained Intoxilyzer training (the Georgia breathalyzer), and have taken additional courses that allow us to challenge GBI alcohol or drugs testing once we review the laboratory paperwork.
Each of our Atlanta DUI lawyers is an NHTSA “instructor,” meaning that we possess additional field sobriety test knowledge that 99% of all drunk driving attorneys lack. This instructor status is a high-level, advanced course that exceeds the training of most law enforcement officers making arrests for DUI in Georgia.
Take advantage of a review of your DUI arrest facts by one of our Atlanta criminal defense attorneys. A Partner will review your DUI case facts and implement a game plan for deploying winning strategies in your GA DUI. Our three Georgia Super Lawyers aggressively represent clients accused of committing crimes through filing and arguing suppression motions.
Limit your search to a lawyer for DUI who has achieved legitimate legal industry excellence attorney ratings, and who possesses a track record of proven litigation experience. A Partner from our law firm will be the RIGHT Atlanta criminal defense lawyer for you. Plus, do not hesitate to ask our DUI law firm about our criminal attorney fees payment plans.