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Georgia state lawmaker arrested for drunk driving in Atlanta

Atlanta police reported that a Georgia state representative was pulled over last week and arrested for driving drunk. The Republican lawmaker allegedly failed field sobriety tests and breath tests after he was stopped for running a red light, according to the police report.

The arrest occurred on Jan. 13. The 29-year-old man had just left a local restaurant when an Atlanta police officer reported that the man drove through the intersection of Peachtree Road and Pharr Road as the traffic light turned red. When the officer stopped the man in his vehicle and informed the lawmaker about why he had been pulled over, the officer reported that he could smell alcohol on the man's breath.

The officer then asked the man if he had been drinking, but the driver said he had not consumed any alcohol. Because the driver's eyes appeared to be watery, the officer asked the man again if he had consumed any alcohol and the man admitted to drinking one beer about 45 minutes prior to driving.

According to the arrest report, the officer then asked the man to step out of his vehicle so that he could take a breath test. The lawmaker first requested to be taken to a hospital or clinic where he could submit a blood test instead, but the officer informed that man that in order to do that, he would need to be placed under arrest. Refusing a breath test in Georgia will result in an arrest.

The lawmaker then agreed to take the breath test which resulted in a blood alcohol concentration reading of 0.091. The legal limit in Georgia is 0.08. After the breath test, the man was then asked by the officer to take a couple of field sobriety tests which he also allegedly failed. He was then placed under arrest and charged with DUI.

After he was arrested, the man allegedly told police that he had a beer just 15 minutes before driving and that he did not make a responsible decision when he got behind the wheel of his vehicle. The office of House Speaker David Ralston reported that the Speaker will not comment on the situation or make any decisions regarding the lawmaker's standing with the office until all of the facts of the man's arrest are gathered in the case.

Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "State Rep. Kip Smith charged with DUI in Buckhead," Christopher Seward, Jan. 13, 2012