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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Avoid a DUI this 4th of July

The Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety recently announced that drunk drivers will be targeted this July 4th holiday weekend as it kicks off the “Summer Zero Tolerance DUI Campaign.”  The intention of the effort is Zero Tolerance of Impaired Drivers, but too often the arrests include drivers who have had something to drink and are not any more “less safe” than they would otherwise be.

As part of this campaign, law enforcement across the state will be out in full force and “aggressively targeting people” who they believe to be impaired by drugs or alcohol.  Every driver needs to understand that a DUI investigation begins from the initial contact with the officer.

There is no doubt that drinking and driving is dangerous.  In fact, in the state of Georgia, it’s projected that one traffic fatality will happen every five hours this July 3rd – July 6th.  And people are more likely to be injured in DUI-related car accidents at night than during the day.  And although speed, cell phone use and texting while driving will cause more accidents and fatalities, law enforcement will target alcohol or drugs for investigation.

While we appreciate law enforcement keeping the roads in Henry, Spalding and Lamar counties as safe as possible this holiday weekend, drivers still need to maintain their rights.  For example, a driver who drank one beer before getting behind the wheel should not be intimidated into “admitting” that he or she drank an alcoholic beverage before driving and forced into an unjust DUI arrest.   You DO NOT have to discuss you medical history, your alcohol consumption or other personal information with the officer. You DO NOT have to tell the officer where you are going, coming from or who you have been with.

Adrenaline and nerves may affect your balance and eye movements, and anxiety experienced at a DUI checkpoint can also be misinterpreted as acting under the influence.  Rule number one at a DUI checkpoint is to always be polite, but defend your rights by telling the officer that “my attorney advised that I not participate in any field sobriety tests."  If you opt out of the field sobriety tests, there will be less evidence that can be used against you to prove impairment.   YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REFUSE ALL ROADSIDE TESTS WITHOUT NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES.

If you are arrested for DUI, you have the absolute RIGHT to an INDEPENDENT test from QUALIFIED person, of YOUR CHOICE and at your expense, AFTER you take the State test.

Being arrested or convicted for a DUI is not a good way to celebrate our nation’s independence. So drive carefully this week, and click here to read more about what you should do if you are arrested for a DUI.

For more information on this topic, contact Christopher Chapman at cchapman@smithwelchlaw.com or call 770-389-4864.  Prior to his admission to the bar, Christopher spent six years in law enforcement. His experience included training and service in the DUI Task Force/ Heat Unit, Serious Accident Investigations and Special Operations.  Smith, Welch, Webb and White is recognized as a premier law firm throughout the state of Georgia.  Our team of experts routinely handles a wide range of legal matters, and will provide outstanding service for you, your family or your business.

 

Any representations regarding the law in this Blog is made available for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog publisher. The Blog should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.


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Smith Welch Webb & White serve clients throughout the south metro Atlanta area including but not limited to McDonough, Stockbridge, DeKalb County, Clayton County, Henry County, Peach County, Jonesboro, Spalding County, Butts County, and Lamar County.



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