How Can I Be Arrested with No Evidence of DUI?
A question I hear almost daily from new and prospective clients is how one can be arrested for DUI when there was no evidence that they were DUI. This is a very good question and one worth taking a few minutes to explain.
When a cop in Georgia arrest you for DUI, that cop has already made up their mind that you are a "drunk driver". Most people think of drunk driver and they think of someone who is fall-down, can't say a word drunk. This is not the standard for DUI in Georgia. Under Georgia law, an officer must prove that you were less safe to drive due to your alcohol consumption. Not that you were incapacitated, or the drunkest person on the road, but simply "less safe".
Georgia gives drivers the right to refuse to cooperate with all roadside testing. Have you ever driven by a traffic stop and seen someone hopping around on one leg, or trying to walk a straight line? All voluntary. You can simply tell the officer "NO" to all of these roadside sobriety exercises. But, remember, the less you give the officer, the more they will emphasize every little detail of your arrest in an effort to make their DUI case. Without field sobriety tests, the officer must really emphasize what you did wrong when driving. The officer's report will likely focus on your errant driving and your physical manifestations of alcohol intoxication.
Another area the officer will really highlight in his reports to support the DUI is their personal contact and ovservations of you. The appearance of your eyes, your overall appearance, how your speech sounded, how your balance was, whether you were 'making sense'. These are all things, plus more, that the officer will attempt to show were not quite right in their encounter with you. There is no requirement that they have chemical proof- like a breath test number. You do not actually have to be over a .08 to be arrested for DUI.
While I am a firm believer that 99% of people will not benefit from taking field sobriety tests, remember, refusing them may still get you locked up for DUI. In the end, the cop will generally have a tougher time explaining why they are so confident you are DUI though.