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The Problem with Breathalyzers

As we approach the holiday season, parties and alcohol will be as equally present as the increased law enforcement on the road. While it is always the best choice to have a designated driver to take you to and from your festivities, some people choose to drive after having a drink or two. In many cases, taking the precaution of limiting yourself to minimal alcohol leaves you safely under the legal limit. However, Georgia DUI lawyer Mickey Roberts often explains to his clients that if you are stopped and tested by a breathalyzer, you may be accused of drinking far more. How does this happen, and how can you stop it?

mouth alcohol breathalyzer

As part of the 4 simple rules to remember when stopped by the police to avoid DUI, remember not to submit to any voluntary roadside field sobriety evaluations—breathalyzers included.

In fact, it is advised not to take any state tests if you are arrested, especially if you believe you might be over the legal limit of .08. Unfortunately, even if you do not believe you are over the limit, a breathalyzer may show a very different, incriminating result.

The problem with breathalyzers is the false reading sometimes caused by mouth alcohol. When a breathalyzer analyzes your breath for blood alcohol concentration (BAC), the internal computer believes it is reading from air exhaled from deep within the lungs, also known as alveolar air. However, if your last sip of alcohol was recent, the sample very well may come from your mouth or throat. Even if a very small amount remains, the breathalyzer will report a very high BAC.

Another reason the breathalyzer may report higher than accurate numbers is if the DUI suspect has recently belched or is affected by acid reflux, causing what could be alcohol-filled liquids and gases of the stomach to rise into the esophagus and mouth’s soft tissue, where it remains until it is dissipated by saliva. The action of saliva rinsing the mouth and tissues of alcohol takes roughly 15-20 minutes. An additional cause of inaccurate breathalyzer reading is the usage of mouthwash or breath freshener, which you may be better off not using if you are attempting to cover up the smell of alcohol after consumption. Also, if you have dental work or removable components such as dentures, you are subject to much longer periods of holding high mouth alcohol.

To elude the mouth alcohol problem, it is best to stop drinking—even at minimal levels—hours before driving. To avoid DUI, it is best to always have a designated driver on hand to exacerbate the risk altogether.  If you need DUI help, please Contact MRGADUI  today.  Be sure to follow MrGaDUI on FacebookTwitter and Google+ for more information on Georgia DUI laws.

Case of the Month: When Parking the Car is the Best Option

Even efforts to make good decisions can go awry when you do not hire the right DUI lawyer. However, in November’s case of the month, because my client went the correct route in getting out of her DUI case, a good outcome was possible in a not-so-good situation.

My client had been drinking when she found herself in a situation where she needed to leave for her safety. After she started driving, she realized that she might have had too much to drink to drive safely. After pulling into a subdivision and parking on a side street, she turned off the car, took the keys out of the ignition, moved over to the passenger side, and drifted off to sleep. Almost 2 hours later, a resident called the police, who came to the scene to investigate. After waking my client up, the officer arrested her for DUI.

One of the key elements in prosecuting a DUI is that the State must prove that you were in control of a moving vehicle and were impaired to drive.  It is possible to be convicted of DUI, EVEN if the officer does not see you driving. You can be convicted by “circumstantial” evidence. For instance, if you are in a parked car with the engine running, you admit that you had parked the car recently, or if you are involved in an accident and admit that you were driving.

The key elements to not being found guilty of DUI–even though you tried to do the right thing by parking your car–are as follows:
  1. Turn the engine off, take the keys out of the ignition, and move to the back seat.
  2. If approached by the police, do not answer any questions relating to when your driving ended, how much you had to drink, etc.
  3. Do NOT submit to any field evaluations.
  4. Do NOT take any breath test at the scene.
  5. If you think you would register above the legal limit, DON’T take any state test.
 

In this particular case, I was able to find a compassionate prosecutor who agreed to dismiss the DUI charge. One would think that if a person was trying to do the right thing by getting off the road, the State would give you a break. However, this rarely happens in the DUI world. Therefore, you need to exercise your Constitutional rights and protect yourself as much as you can.

For more DUI arrest advice you can connect with me on FacebookTwitter and Google+.  Keep reading the MRGADUI blog for the latest traffic law news.

The Importance of Doing “Nothing”

My last two DUI case wins show the importance of doing “nothing.”  While there are many self-help books and articles going around that emphasize the importance of being able to do nothing when alleviating stressful situations, the same advice should be applied when you are stopped for DUI.

dui-in-georgiaThe important thing to understand is that during any police stop, the officer, in asking you questions and asking you to perform certain “field sobriety evaluations,” is in reality attempting to gather evidence which he can use against you at trial. Therefore, even a seemingly harmless admission of drinking can be used against you.

In one of my DUI cases this month, my client ran through a stop sign obscured by a tree limb; she actually had only consumed one glass of wine.  She never admitted drinking anything, never took the field tests, and refused to take a State chemical test. As a result, the DUI was dismissed.

In another case, my client was stopped for failure to wear a seat belt; he did admit to having a couple of beers at the Braves game.  However, he did NOT do any field tests, nor did he take the State chemical tests. As a result, his DUI was also dismissed.

In another case I had a client stopped who admitted drinking a couple of beers. She agreed to submit to field tests; however, the video showed the field tests were administered incorrectly by the officer.  My client, however, then agreed to take a State breath test at the jail and registered a .13 (above the legal limit of .08). Had she refused to take the State breath test, the DUI charges more than likely would have been reduced to reckless driving charges.

It seems to go against human nature to do “nothing.” Not only in DUI stops, but in most areas of our lives we feel the need to do something.  My advice is to cultivate the habit of doing nothing. It just might help if you find yourself charged with a DUI.

For more DUI arrest advice you can connect with me on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.  Keep reading the MRGADUI blog for the latest traffic law news.

What happens if you’re under 21 and get a DUI?

When you hear of someone receiving a driving under the influence (DUI) charge, you may automatically assume that the person is over the age of 21.  While DUI may be commonly associated with individuals over the legal drinking age, it is important to note that if you are under 21 and unable to legally drink, you are not exempt from charges associated with DUI. under 21 dui in georgia

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), alcohol is the most frequently abused substance among today’s youth with over 4,700 annual deaths related to underage drunk driving.  In Georgia, those over 21 found driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent is considered DUI and at a minimum can face fines, jail time, suspended license, community service and possible probation.  For underage drinkers, the BAC is much lower with penalties that are different than for those over the legal drinking age.  Anyone under the age of 21 driving with a registered BAC level of .02 percent can be cited for a DUI.

The penalties associated with an under 21 DUI depends on your BAC level.  For those who register below .08 percent on the state’s breath test, a fine must be paid, your driver’s license is suspended for six months with no limited permit and you must complete a minimum of 20 hours of community service.  If you register above .08 percent, a minimum jail sentence of 24 hours must be served, you will lose your license for a full year with no limited permit, must complete a 40 hour minimum of community service as well as pay a fine up to $1,000.

If you are suspected of DUI and are under the legal drinking age, it is important to remember the 4 simple rules for underage drivers: be polite, never admit to the number of drinks consumed, do not submit to field sobriety tests and refuse the required chemical test as one drink could put you over the legal limit.  If you are arrested for under 21 DUI in Georgia, it is imperative that you hire an experienced DUI and traffic lawyer with a high success rate on contested cases to represent you.

With over 30 years of practice experience, attorney Mickey Roberts has success defending his DUI clients and is recognized by judges and peers as a leading DUI Defense lawyer in the State of Georgia.  If you require legal representation for under 21 DUI or any other traffic offense, contact MRGADUI attorney today.  Be sure to follow MrGaDUI on FacebookTwitter and Google+ for more information on Georgia traffic laws.

Avoid Labor Day BUIs with Designated Boater Service

Labor Day weekend is a momentous occasion that often serves as the official goodbye to summer. If you’re like many Georgians, you prefer to spend the holiday with your toes in the water at Lake Lanier. It’s easy to cut loose when everything seems to be taken care of and your to-do list of picking up hot dog buns, ice, and beer is all crossed off. One thing you may have forgotten to add to that list is a sober driver for your boat.

It is a common misconception that boating under the influence is dissimilar to driving under the influence. However, the hard facts tell otherwise. The number of BUIs has notably increased since last summer, when Jake and Griffin Pearce were tragically struck and killed on Lake Lanier by a boater under the influence of alcohol. With 8 million people coming to the Atlanta-area lake each year, safe and sober boating is essential to the security of both the passengers of your boat and boaters surrounding you.

When you or your intended driver has overindulged, your choices have traditionally beenlimited to waiting it out until you are sober and able to drive (which should be tested with a breathalyzer) or choosing a designated driver.  Recently an Atlanta area company has expanded those options with SAFENAV. This company’s drivers travel through the lake in a small dinghy, which attaches to the customer in need of a safe boat and provides a ride back to shore. The company’s $125 for a boat pick up and drive back is justifiable when considering the protection they provide a would-be unsafe driver from getting a BUI, spending a fortune paying for fines and DUI School, increased insurance, or harming a fellow lake-goer.

If alcohol will be part of your Labor Day celebration make sure to plan ahead and consume responsibly. While boat-on-boat collisions remain rare at about five per year, dozens of people each year are injured or killed by reckless drivers. The last thing you want to do is be one of them, on either end.

To learn more about BUI lawyers, or if you are in need of legal representation for other traffic violations, please contact MRGADUI. You can also connect with attorney Mickey Roberts on FacebookTwitter, and Google+ for the latest in DUI and BUI news.

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Disclaimer

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.
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