DUI: My Headlights Were Off & I Fell

Question: I need some DUI advice. I work for a company on Alpharetta Highway and I and my boss went out to dinner at Swallow at the Hollow restaurant. When we finished it was still pretty early and we both drink so we hit some bars. We went to Lucky's Burger & Brew and to the Brookwood Grill in Roswell. We were not just drinking but talking about our personal lives and that we are both going through pretty nasty divorces and that I might have to file bankruptcy.

I was driving my car from Bentley Atlanta in Alpharetta. It is a new car that I'm leasing. I forgot to turn the lights on and a Roswell cop saw me and pulled me over.

I admitted to a couple of beers but I really had like 5 vodka drinks. The cop said that I should do some tests. On the tests I fell twice. But I think I was just tired. Finally he arrested me for DUI and I went to the jail. Just because I fell doing the tests is that really that bad? I mean I don't have the best coordination and I have back problems from playing football. Also, can I get stopped by the police just because my car lights were off? That doesn't mean I was drunk.

Answer: The tests you participated in are called "field sobriety tests." These tests were developed by an agency of the federal government to help determine if a driver is impaired and is DUI. There are usually there tests that are administered and the police officer "grades" them. The officer looks for "clues" of intoxication. If you fall that would lead the officer to conclude (even if you performed well on the rest of the tests) that you are impaired. The three approved field sobriety tests are the (1) horizontal gaze nystagmus test (HGN), (2) the walk and turn test, and (3) the one-leg stand test.

A police officer can initiate a stop of an automobile, motorcycle or truck that fails to obey any law. If it is dark and a car is being operated without headlights, an officer can stop that vehicle.

We certainly understand the impact a divorce situation and a bankruptcy can have on a person. We see many clients who are going through difficult person situations. We understand how these issues can impact a DUI.

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