"I Wasn't Drinking WHILE I Was Driving"

Question: I can't believe that I was arrested in Roswell, Georgia for DUI. I was out with a few friends and I was the designated-driver. My friends got pretty drunk from drinking at dinner and from going to a sports bar on Holcomb Bridge Road. I made sure that I only had two drinks. But now I think I really should have not had any booze at all.

I dropped off everyone at their apartments and on my way home I was pulled over for speeding on Highway 9. The Roswell cop said I was 25 miles per hour over the speed limit. There weren't many cars on the road, it was early in the morning and I didn't think that I had to drive slowly. But I don't think I was driving that fast.

I'm just writing because I'd like to ask you about a possible defense for DUI. I was not actually drinking while I was driving. I only drank before I drove. The cop never saw me drinking and I was not drinking at the exact same time I was driving. I don't know if that's a good defense but it's true and if it can get me out of a drunk driving charge I'll certainly use it.

P.O. in Roswell

Answer: The defense that you were not drinking WHILE you were driving will not help you with the prosecutor in the city of Roswell, Ms. Krista Young.

The vast majority of people arrested for DUI were not actually drinking while they were driving. DUI charges under Georgia law are brought because a police officer believes that someone is a less safe driver because they have ingested alcohol (or drugs) at some point before driving. So even if a cop did not actually observe you drinking (which is rare), you can certainly be charged with DUI. That's why law enforcement requests that a person charged with DUI take a breath test or a blood test, which is used to determine their blood alcohol concentration (BAC).

But even if a person refuses a breath test or a blood test they can still be charged and convicted of drunk driving. The police will try to make a DUI case based on factors other than BAC, including the odor of alcohol, slurred speech, any admissions the driver makes (such as how much they have had to drink), and how they performed on field sobriety tests.

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