Last week, a University of Georgia student who forgot to turn her car’s headlights on before hitting the road was arrested by an Athens-Clarke County Police officer after the officer conducted a traffic stop. The 20-year-old student was charged with DUI and underage possession of alcohol.
The underage student claims that she only drank a little bit of her friend’s beer before driving. But in Georgia, drivers who are under the age of 21 can be arrested for drunk driving even when a blood alcohol reading is less than 0.08.
According to reports, the driver was pulled over after an officer noticed that the student was driving without her headlights on. The officer who conducted the traffic stop said that he could detect the odor of alcohol. He also noticed that the driver had been wearing a type of wristband that is often used by clubs and other venues to indicate whether a person is of the legal age to drink alcohol.
When questioned about the wristband and the odor of alcohol, the student admitted to drinking a “sip of her friend’s beer” at a party. The officer asked the underage student to take field sobriety tests and a breath test. The student was arrested after the breath test indicated that she had consumed some alcohol.
When an underage UGA student’s blood alcohol reading is less than 0.08, he or she could face a six-month license suspension. Underage students who are charged with driving with a blood alcohol reading of 0.08 or higher could face one day in jail as well as a one-year driver’s license suspension.
These consequences are certainly severe, but a license suspension could also make it very difficult for students to get to class and work. Fortunately, some students may be able to avoid some or all of these consequences with the help of an aggressive and strategic defense attorney who knows how to protect drivers’ rights in Georgia.
Source: The Red and Black, “Off headlights spur DUI charges against UGA student,” Erica Techo, Aug. 16, 2012