DUI: I told the cop I gave my dog liquor

Question: I got stopped by a cop in Sandy Springs and I admitted that I’d been drinking. I only said that I’d had a couple because the cop seemed pretty cool so I thought he’d let me go. My dog was in the car and I told him I gave the dog a few shots of tequila because we were making margaritas.

When I told the police officer that I gave the dog (whose name is Sparky) booze he got angry and started to say I was a bad owner and an idiot and that I could really injure my pet. That’s when he told me to get out of the car and he seemed to get serious about charging me with drunk driving or something else. He gave me a breath test and made me do those field sobriety tests.

I got out of the car and I did the tests he asked me to do. I said I had about 4 margaritas but that I ate a lot of nachos and that I didn’t think I was drunk, really just buzzed. I felt like I could drive fine. He said he stopped my car because of speeding and I admitted that I speed but I don’t drive super-fast like some of my friends who have a bunch of tickets.

He asked me how much liquor I gave the dog and I said no more than 2 shots total. He said he could charge me with cruelty to animals but that if I had my friend take my dog home he wouldn’t charge me with that. I just did it because I thought it would be funny to see the dog messed up and my girlfriend says the dog looks really cute after he’s been drinking.

I felt like the cop was going to let me go but when I said I gave my dog some drinks the cop got pissed and then wanted to stick me with a DUI, and now I need the help of the best Sandy Springs DUI lawyer I can get. Since he never charged me with animal cruelty do you think that will help me get out of this DUI charge?

J.N. in Sandy Springs, GA

Answer: Knowingly giving an animal alcohol can certainly lead to a misdemeanor or possibly felony cruelty to animals charge in the state of Georgia. In fact, around the holidays, dogs (as well as other pets) are more likely to drink from glasses containing alcohol because during and after parties people often leave glasses containing alcohol sitting around.

And some people do feed their dogs alcoholic beverages because they think it’s funny or cute and they may even film a video of it to post on social media websites.

Veterinarians warn that giving dogs alcohol can be very dangerous. Dogs are much smaller than people and they can become extremely intoxicated very quickly. And the toxicity of the alcohol can cause severe reactions in dogs, including seizures, respiratory failure and death.

We’re glad that you weren’t charged with cruelty to animals (and you should be too), but the lack of the charge will likely have no impact on the DUI. To properly assess your DUI case, we’d like to know your reading on the breath test and how you did on the field sobriety tests that the Sandy Springs police officer asked you to perform. We’d need to see the incident report and the video, if one was made. We would assess whether there was truly a reasonable articulable suspicion for the stopping of your car and whether probable cause existed to make an arrest.

Hopefully the cop won’t include any mention of you giving your dog tequila so that it won’t influence the prosecutor and judge.

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