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Passenger faces charges after UGA student is arrested for DUI

University of Georgia students may be well aware that drinking and driving is illegal. But sometimes finding a ride home from someone else is not enough to avoid alcohol-related criminal charges.

Over the weekend, two underage UGA students were arrested for alcohol-related offenses after a traffic stop. Athens-Clarke County Police reported that the students were pulled over when police noticed that the student who was driving the vehicle had failed to stay in the correct lane of traffic. Police first suspected that the driver was drunk. After discovering that the driver was not of the legal age of 21 to drink alcohol, police then suspected the passenger of underage possession of alcohol.

The 19-year-old UGA student who was driving the vehicle was pulled over near the intersection of West Broad Street and King Avenue. According to the passenger, police addressed the driver first and charged the student with DUI. But after the driver's arrest, police then asked the 20-year-old passenger to get out of the vehicle to take a breath test.

The student complied with the request, but he told The Red & Black after his arrest that he should not have agreed to take the breath test. "I'm pretty sure I should have refused the breathalyzer, I knew that before, but everything was so fast that I didn't deny it," the student said. According to the Athens-Clarke County Police, the passenger was charged with underage possession of alcohol.

When drivers and underage students are suspected of DUI or other alcohol-related offenses, some individuals refuse to take breath tests in order to prevent police from gathering additional evidence that could be used against them.

Individuals might assume that they have no chance at winning a DUI case or other case involving alcohol-related charges if they did take a breath test. However, there are times when police over-step their boundaries and issue a breath test unlawfully. Police have also made mistakes while administering breath tests that can result in inaccurate readings.

Source: The Red & Black, "University students charged with DUI, underage possession," Megan Ernst, March 26, 2012