Category Archives: DUI Laws

Full Disclosure? Not for Georgia Breath Tests

Many of our government officials love the term “full disclosure” these days. Another word they like to use is “transparency”. Yet, the Georgia  Supreme Court doesn’t believe in transparency or full disclosure when it comes to breath tests. Take the recent case of Padidham v. State, decided May 7, 2012.

Let me set the scene. In Georgia, when you are arrested for DUI, the officer reads you the Implied Consent Warning (ICW), where he basically informs you that “Georgia law requires you to submit to a test of blood, breath, urine or other bodily substance to determine if you are under the influence of alcohol, but you can refuse to take such test(s). The refusal can be used against you in court, and that if you do take the test(s), you are entitled to additional independent tests of your choosing.”

Logic would tell us that it would help to know the results of the “State” test BEFORE deciding whether to get an independent test or not. For instance, if the State breath test showed a blood alcohol content of .08, .09, or something close to the limit, you might want to ask for a blood test or another type of test.

It would be very easy for the police to let you know your results immediately after submitting to a breath test as the machine prints out copies of the results immediately after you blow into the machine. However in Padidham, our Georgia Supreme Court holds that ALL an officer needs to do is inform you of your right to an independent test. The police do NOT need to tell you your actual test results. Once again this brings to mind the saying, “good enough for government work.”

To learn more about DUI and traffic violation defense, read our blog and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Why You Should Not Trust Georgia’s Breath Test Machine

When a person is arrested for DUI in Georgia, suspected of being under the influence of alcohol, most of the time the police will request that the person go to the jail or police station and submit to a “State chemical test of your breath.” It is this “breath test” that is used to convict that person of DUI, simply for having blood alcohol content (BAC) of over .08 grams.

Georgia uses a breath test machine manufactured by CMI, a company out of Kentucky. The machine contains many parts, and operates through an Infrared device used to take a breath sample from a suspect and convert it into an amount of alcohol in the person’s blood. The machine is a computer and operates by using a “source code” as all computers operate. There are many reasons why we should not trust the accuracy of Georgia’s breath machine. Here a just a few:

1. The machine is only inspected by a State employee once every 3 months; it is not inspected before and after every individual test. Therefore, even if the machine is deemed to be working properly, it can only be argued correctly that it was working that day, with only the inspector present.

2. During the “inspection”, the tester never actually opens up the machine to check to see if the electronic components are working properly.

3. The inspector does run a known alcohol solution through the machine. If the machine prints out a reading that is close to the actual alcohol amount, the machine is deemed to be working that day.

4. The alcohol control solution is in no way similar to an actual human sample. It does not take into account how a person with asthma, allergies, braces, gastric reflux, bridgework, or a fever would blow.

5. The inspector runs two test samples, if the two test results are within 25% of each other the machine is deemed to be working properly!

  There are many other reasons why you should not trust the breath test machine, but if you just consider the way Georgia inspects these machines to “verify” that they are working properly, ask yourself the following:

a. Would you allow your CPA to prepare a federal tax return with a 25% potential disparity?

b. Would you pay a lasik surgeon to fix your vision, and accept as “good enough for medical purposes” a CORRECTION that was OFF by these + and – ranges?

c. Would you book a flight on an airline with these variable percentages on their altimeters (the device that estimates the distance between the ground and the wheels at “touch down” on the runway)?

While these scenarios may seem far-fetched, they demonstrate the importance of only seeking the advice of an experienced Georgia DUI attorney if charged with DUI. To learn more about DUI and traffic violation defense, read our blog and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

4 Simple Rules Explained: Rule 3

mrgaduiThe 3rd Simple rule is not so simple.  Should you take the State blood, breath, or urine test after you are arrested for DUI? The answer is: it depends. Under Georgia’s Implied Consent law, once you are arrested for DUI, you must submit to the officer’s request for a test of your blood, breath, urine,  or other bodily substance.  If you don’t, you face having your license suspended for a year with no work or school permit available.  After you submit to the officer’s test(s), you are then entitled to independent tests of your blood, breath, urine or other bodily substance.

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How Does a Sobriety Checkpoint Work?

Now that summer’s over, more holiday festivities are approaching which means more food, more fun, and a lot more alcohol. The best option when it comes to drinking is to designate a sober driver to make sure that everyone gets home safely. Because police know that this advice isn’t always followed around the holiday season, there are typically more DUI checkpoints along the roads. Sobriety checkpoints are temporary roadblocks set up late at night, early in the mornings, on weekends, or on holidays when police expect people will be drinking. At a sobriety checkpoint, police may stop every car or just a few based on a pre-determined pattern to determine if the driver is impaired. Usually police ask a stopped driver to perform field sobriety tests to ensure he or she hasn’t been drinking.  These tests may include the horizontal gaze, walk-and-turn, and one-leg stand tests; the same tests used if you were to be pulled over under the suspicion of DUI. If a driver fails the field sobriety test, he or she will be asked

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Case of Month: When the System Works

This month’s case is an example of how sometimes our criminal justice system can work.  My client, who takes prescription drugs for anxiety and depression, was arrested for DUI prescription drugs.  He was found by a passing motorist, slumped over at the wheel of his car on the side of the road. The engine was off. No one had witnessed him driving the car. When the police arrived on the scene and were able to wake him, he admitted that he was driving home, had an anxiety attack and took a prescription drug.  He decided to pull over when he began to feel the affects of the drug and call his family for help; he subsequently passed out. In Georgia, a person commits a DUI when

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The above information is intended to help educate members of the Georgia motoring public as to their rights under the law and to assist presumptively innocent citizens in properly asserting those rights. Information within this site should not be misconstrued as legal advice.
DUI Laws (7)