Georgia DUI Legal Procedures
In a Georgia DUI charge, the very first step that occurs is that the police officer must stop the defendant on the roadway, which could happen through a roadblock checkpoint or through articulable suspicion. Articulable suspicion means that the law officer must observe behavior that leads them to determine the driver is DUI of alcohol or drugs, or that the driver’s ability to safely operate a vehicle is impaired; the driver is then arrested, advised of their rights and transported to jail for a breath test or to a hospital for a blood test.
An experienced Georgia DUI attorney will evaluate if the legal protocol and procedures were properly followed that will hold up in court, or if the charges can be reduced. There are dozens of legal steps and procedures that must be followed in a Georgia DUI arrest and conviction. Some of the most common reasons that your Georgia DUI lawyer may use in your defense follow:
- Standard field sobriety tests inaccurate. Use of the one-leg stand test is only 65% accurate and the walk-and-turn test is only 68% accurate. Physical issues which may have a direct effect on results of these tests include chronic or acute pain, being overweight, recent injuries, type of shoe, fatigue and any other health or medical issue that could affect balance, speed and control on a field test.
- Non-Standardized field tests not valid. The police often use field tests such as touching your finger to your nose, counting backwards, or other similar cognitive or coordination tests to determine driver impairment. The Federal Government and the medical scientific society do not view these sobriety tests as valid or admissible.
- Breathalyzer tests not accurate. One breath test alone is not reliable. Breath testing is subject to variances as much as +/- 12.5%, are not specific for testing for ethanol, and the way the test is administered varies from one officer to another.
- Breathalyzer machine malfunction. Was there a malfunction or repair of the breath test instrument before or after a suspected driver’s test? On what date was the machine last inspected? How is the machine cleaned after each use? Does the cleaning method alter the results the machine gives? Is there a record of the officer’s in-servicing and proficient use of the machine?
- Breathalyzer test device not approved. The exact type and model of the breathalyzer used must be listed on the Federal list of Approved Breath Evidential Instruments and on the ISP approved list of devices or results obtained are inadmissible in a court of law.
- Field sobriety tests not properly administered. Did the police officer receive documented training on the procedural use of a breathalyzer in the field? Has the officer taken updated training and passed all demonstrations of proficiency in its use? Were all valid field sobriety tests administered according to specific procedures following the steps in order?
- Blood test results not accurate. Police administered blood tests often fail to follow prescribed rules of testing, analysis or preservation. Hospital blood tests may over-estimate data up to 25%, and are not statistically reliable in a severely injured person.
- Other reasons: your Douglasville DUI attorney knows how to plan your defense and what to look for including police failure to properly give Miranda rights, illegal stop of the vehicle, illegal search, bad weather effect on performance, misleading statements made by the police, and numerous other reasons that only an experienced Georgia DUI lawyer would know what to look for.
Call the Douglasville DUI law team at Miller & Hightower to represent you as soon as you are arrested or charged. A good Georgia DUI lawyer may save you money in fines and insurance costs, but an experienced Georgia DUI attorney will work to reduce or clear DUI charges before a felony record can destroy your future.