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DUI: It was only chewing tobacco

Question: I shouldn't have been arrested for DUI in Forsyth County because I wasn't drinking. It was actually the first time I tried chewing tobacco. I didn't know that I would feel sick from using smokeless tobacco.

I was out at my daughter's softball game and a friend talked me into trying some dip. I used a little bit and when the game ended I drove home. But I was feeling like I would vomit. A Forsyth County deputy sheriff pulled me over and said I didn't maintain my lane. When I was talking to the deputy I actually got sick in the car. He thought I was drinking or on drugs and he arrested me for DUI.

I refused all tests. He took my license and I have to go to court in Cumming. What should I do? I don't want a DUI? Do you know anything about chewing tobacco and its effects?

B.H. in Cumming

Answer: It is not an uncommon occurrence for a first-time user of smokeless tobacco to experience dizziness, nausea and other discomfort. These side-effects can seem like DUI to a police officer, particularly when a motor vehicle driver vomits during a police stop.

Based upon your assertion that you did not have anything to drink, you should have taken a breathalyzer test or a blood test. Since the tests would not have shown the ingestion of alcohol or drugs, the DUI charge would be quite weak.

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