As we mentioned earlier this week on our Athens DUI law blog, drowsy drivers could easily be mistaken for drunk drivers on our Georgia roads and wrongly arrested for DUI.
However, other drivers could also be wrongly accused of DUI if police arrest a driver without probable cause or if field sobriety or breath tests are not administered correctly. For these reasons, making sure one’s rights are properly protected after an arrest for any alcohol-related offense is extremely important.
Although DUI charges may seem difficult to fight in Georgia, any number of things could happen during a traffic stop or an arrest that could prompt a judge to request that any evidence be thrown out in a case or that one’s charges be dropped entirely. In fact, something as simple as having a tongue stud in one’s mouth while taking a breath test could contaminate evidence in a DUI case.
Earlier this year, a 29-year-old woman was arrested for DUI after a Breathalyzer test revealed that the woman was legally drunk. According to New Jersey police, the woman blew a .21, which certainly exceeds the legal limit of .08. However, after analyzing the circumstances under which the breath test had been administered, the woman’s attorney discovered that police had failed to follow proper protocols.
Under the state’s law, a suspected drunk driver must not have any foreign objects in his or her mouth when a breath test is administered in order to prevent the results of the test from being skewed. The woman’s attorney pointed out that she had a tongue stud in her mouth when the Breathalyzer had been performed, arguing that the results were not valid since the test was not administered properly.
Last month, a judge agreed that the results of the breath test could not be used as evidence against the alleged drunk driver since the test had not been administered correctly by police.
Source: Mount Olive Chronicle, “Tongue stud helps woman reduce drunk-driving charge in Mount Olive,” Phil Garber, May 2, 2012