You know how much you can drink and stay under the legal limit for driving. Therefore, when you get pulled over after a night out with your friends, you’re absolutely certain that you’re under the legal limit. When you blow a 0.06 on the breathalyzer test you’re given, you’re confident — right up until the officer puts the cuffs on you.
What’s happening? It’s simple: When your blood alcohol content (BAC) is above 0.05%, you aren’t automatically presumed to be drunk per se. However, you can still be found guilty of drunk driving by a judge or jury. Under Georgia’s laws, the court isn’t allowed to infer intoxication based on a BAC lower than 0.08% alone — but they can do so based on a BAC of 0.05% and above combined with other evidence of drunkenness.
What other evidence could there be? This could include your statements to the officer (if you made any) that you’d been at a bar with your friends and drinking, your inability to perform adequately during roadside tests and the officer’s assertion that you were behaving in a way that seemed like you were under the influence of something. Even in situations where you refuse chemical testing, you can still be arrested and charged if the officer believes based on the totality of the circumstances that you are a “less safe” driver.
Essentially, if an officer smells alcohol on your breath when you’re stopped for a traffic violation and decides that you’re “acting drunk,” you can be charged — and, quite possibly, convicted. Typically, even a first-time offender in this state can face jail time, fines, community service, a mandatory education program (that the defendant must pay to take) and a suspended license. Take any charge of driving under the influence seriously and get experienced legal assistance with your case.