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Athens GA DUI Law Blog

Getting through the holiday party season without drinking

You're committed to not drinking at any holiday parties this year. Besides the advantage of being able to remember the parties the next day and not making a spectacle of yourself in front of family, friends or (maybe worse) people you work with, this commitment will save you from getting arrested for DUI. Georgia law enforcement officers will be out all over the Athens area, and a DUI can ruin the holidays -- and can impact you well into the future.

Sometimes, the most difficult part about not drinking on social occasions is dealing with the people around you who feel the need to make sure that everyone else is drinking. Have a short and sweet response ready. "I'm driving" should be enough. Whatever you choose to say, keep it brief. You don't need to explain yourself. If you're polite, no one has reason to be upset with you.

Why DUI checkpoints are legal

In the upcoming weeks, you're likely to see at least one DUI checkpoint around Athens or wherever your holiday travels take you. Law enforcement agencies step up their checkpoints over holidays when drinking is common, and people are more likely to be on the roads while under the influence.

Since drivers are required to pull over at these checkpoints and submit to officers' questions and orders simply because they're driving on a road and not because of anything they've done to arouse suspicion, people sometimes question their legality. Don't they violate the U.S. Constitution's Fourth Amendment, which protects us from unreasonable search and seizure since they don't involve a search warrant? After all, your car is being "seized" in a sense, by being directed into the checkpoint and kept there until you're told you can leave.

How common is underage drinking among Georgia teens?

Almost a quarter of Georgians between 12 and 20 years old say that they've consumed alcohol within the previous month. That's according to a recently released survey by the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility.

Aside from it being against the law in most cases, it's also unhealthy. Alcohol consumption by young people whose brains are still developing can cause have long-term developmental consequences. It can also have more immediate consequences. Young people who binge drink are at a higher risk of death by homicide and suicide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Man faces DUI, vehicular homicide charges after Georgia teen dies

The most tragic potential consequence of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is killing another person. A Georgia man is facing multiple charges, including homicide by vehicle, for a crash that occurred in DeKalb County earlier this month.

According to local police, the man was under the influence and driving 70 mph when he slammed into the back of a car stopped at a traffic light. A passenger in that car, an 18-year-old Alabama State University (ASU) student, was killed. The teen, who was in her freshman year at ASU, was back in Georgia for her mother's birthday.

What happens during a blackout?

Americans don't usually hear discussions about what it means to pass out versus black out from alcohol during Supreme Court confirmation hearings. However, that subject was addressed during the recent Senate confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh as senators questioned him about his youthful drinking.

Many people don't know what a blackout is, and those who have gotten very drunk at one or more points in their life probably couldn't state definitively whether they've ever had a blackout or "merely" passed out.

What you should know when planning an intervention

A person really can't be too young to have a problem with alcohol. Too many teens and even preteens are drinking to excess. Some young people have already gone through substance abuse recovery programs before they begin college.

When loved ones see someone going down a dangerous path that the person fails to recognize, they may choose to do an intervention. The catalyst for an intervention may be a night of binge drinking that lands someone in an emergency room with alcohol poisoning. It may be a DUI. Sometimes, it's just a growing realization by the people in someone's life that they have a problem that needs to be addressed.

Survey: Hard liquor readily available at University of Georgia

Parents whose kids attend the University of Georgia (UGA) here in Athens may be relieved to hear that it's no longer ranked at the top of the Princeton Review's list of "Party Schools." It had that dubious distinction back in 2010. In fact, it didn't even make the top 20 in the 2019 edition of "The Best 384 Colleges," which is based on data collected from 384 colleges and universities and 138,000 students.

However, that certainly doesn't mean that drinking is no longer a significant part of college life for many UGA students. It ranked 12th in the "Lots of Hard Liquor" category. That ranking is based on student responses to the survey question "How widely is hard liquor used at your school?"

Talk to your teen about what to do (and not do) if arrested

If your daughter or son is starting college this fall, they may encounter new situations you hoped wouldn't be part of their college experience. One of those is getting pulled over by police for suspected drunk driving.

Police officers can be intimidating to people of all ages, but certainly to teens. Often, we assume that we must comply with whatever they tell us to do. That's not always the case. We all have legal rights and young people should learn how to assert those rights firmly but politely to avoid exacerbating their legal problems.

Do college students have privacy rights in their dorm rooms?

If you've got a son or daughter going off to college this fall, you're likely going to caution them, if you haven't already, about avoiding alcohol and drugs and those who use them. Even though underage drinking and drug use can be found on just about every college campus, they're still illegal.

This brings up the issue of privacy on campus. What if the police or college authorities suspect that students are engaged in illegal activity in a dorm room? Do they have the right to enter the room without students' permission?

College drinking and sexual assault

Most parents whose teens will be college freshmen in the fall are understandably concerned about the availability of alcohol on and around campus. Even though their kids are too young to legally drink, parents know from their own college years that it's not hard to find parties with copious amounts of alcohol — and no ID required.

Binge drinking is a particular concern. It can lead to alcohol poisoning and drunk driving. It can also lead to sexual assault. In one study that followed over 1,000 young college men through their first five semesters, approximately 18 percent admitted to committing at least one sexual assault during that time.