Georgia takes driving under the influence seriously. This is not surprising given how dangerous drunk driving is. If you are facing DUI charges and you opt to go to trial, you can be sure the prosecution will use all available evidence against you. Police and prosecutors know the stigma against impaired driving so you shouldn’t expect them to treat you with kid gloves. However, when you have an experienced attorney on your side, you can ensure the system treats you fairly.
For a jury to find you guilty of a DUI charge, the state needs to show that you were driving or operating a vehicle and under the influence. To prove the latter element, the prosecutor will either have to show that:
- You had a blood or breath alcohol concentration of .08 percent or more or
- Your driving was actually impaired by drugs or alcohol
It’s usually easier to prove a driver’s BAC was over the legal limit than to prove impairment. However, prosecutors often file two charges to improve their chances of obtaining a conviction. They may allege that your BAC was above 0.08 percent and that you showed signs of impairment while driving. The state will use a variety of evidence against you ranging from traffic violations to results of chemical tests.
Types of Evidence Used to Support DUI Charges
The court allows both direct and circumstantial evidence. Direct evidence includes eyewitness testimony, video footage, test results and admission of guilt. These are things that are taken as fact without the need for reasoning. Circumstantial evidence includes more subjective things like the way you drove, your appearance and whether the officer smelled alcohol. The results of your field sobriety tests or your refusal to take such tests can also affect your case.
In most DUI cases, the courts convict the driver on the basis of both types of evidence. Your DUI attorney in Atlanta will investigate your case and evaluate the evidence to determine how strong it is. If any of the evidence was obtained illegally or tampered with in any way, your lawyer will work hard to ensure it’s not presented in court. Let’s look at some of the evidence that can be used against you.
Your Driving Behavior
Often, drivers get pulled over because an officer saw them driving recklessly. They may have been speeding, driving the wrong way, or swerving in and out of their lane. If you violated a traffic law, this will come up in court.
Your Speech and Comments
When the police pull you over, they will ask you questions. They will be listening to hear if your speech is slurred or if you’ll admit to drinking. That’s why it’s best to say as little as possible when the police question you.
The Results of Your Breathalyzer Test
Depending on what the officer observes when they ask for your license and proof of insurance, they may ask you to take a breath test. Open containers in the vehicle, slurred speech, or a strong smell of alcohol will indicate they need to probe further. If you record a blood alcohol content of more than 0.08 percent, you’ll likely be arrested. That’s the state’s legal limit for all drivers.
However, police can also arrest you if your BAC is under 0.08 percent. If you are under 21, your limit is 0.02 percent. This is because it’s illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to drink alcohol. If you are a commercial driver, you can be arrested if your BAC is above 0.04 percent. Another possibility is that you will be charged with DUI Less Safe instead of DUI Per Se. Any driver regardless of age or the type of license they hold can be arrested for driving while impaired. It doesn’t matter what your BAC is if the officer determined that you were less safe to drive because you used drugs or alcohol.
The Results of Your Field Sobriety Test
The standardized field sobriety tests in Georgia are the one-leg stand, horizontal gaze nystagmus, and walk-and-turn. These tests are voluntary, and most lawyers agree that they’re designed to make you fail. Even people who are sober can find it difficult to follow the instruction perfectly.
Reach Out to Howard & Arca to Discuss Your DUI Case Today
If you are facing charges of driving under the influence, you need to hire a skilled attorney. At Howard & Arca DUI Lawyers, we analyze all the evidence against our clients and look for ways in which we can challenge it. A DUI charge, while serious, doesn’t have to be the end of the world. Contact our Georgia DUI lawyers today to get the help you need.