State representative John Andrew (Kip) Smith was arrested for DUI in Atlanta last Friday.  Officer Z.A. Kramer pulled over the lawmaker after he ran a red light at the intersection of Peachtree and Pharr Road in Buckhead. According to the AJC, the police record indicated that Smith admitted to having one beer 45 minutes before he was pulled over after the officer allegedly noticed the scent of alcohol and Kip’s watery eyes.

Rep. Smith initially refused the field sobriety test (walk-and-turn or one-leg-stand test) and breath test when the officer requested and instead asked to be taken to a hospital for a state chemical blood or breath test, but then consented when the officer told him that they only did that if he were arrested for DUI.  According to reports, Smith then blew a .091 (over the legal limit of .08) on the officer’s breathalyzer test and was placed under arrest for DUI.

Two additional officers then arrived on the scene where Smith completed two more breath tests rendering results of .099 and .100 respectively. Kip Smith has been charged with three offenses:  two DUI charges and one charge for failure to obey a traffic control device.

The intention of this post is not to exploit the wrongdoings of a public figure, but to reiterate the importance of knowing your Georgia driver rights.  Smith initially followed my suggestions of “what to do if stopped for DUI” by refusing the field sobriety test and requesting a state chemical test; however, he did himself a disservice by eventually consenting.

As you can read, the results of different breathalyzer test equipment can vary significantly depending on the age of the machinery and even the experience of the officer administering the test.  While the other details of this case will certainly surface as Smith goes to trial, the event serves as an ideal opportunity to reiterate what you should do if you’re pulled over for DUI regardless if this is your first DUI or third DUI in Georgia:

1.)  Take your DUI seriously

2.)  Hire an experienced DUI attorney

3.)  Don’t delay your DUI hearing

4.)  Don’t rely on advice of friends

5.)  Don’t base the hiring of an attorney on money alone

Of these tips, the most important is hiring an experienced DUI attorney to handle your case if you find yourself in this situation.  Visit my website to learn more about my experience as an Atlanta DUI, Georgia vehicular homicide, and commercial driving offense attorney.  You can also connect with me on Facebook and Twitter for more tips on defending your driver’s rights.