There are a number of different ways that police officers can test to see if someone is operating a vehicle while intoxicated. However, one of the most popular ways for officers to check is with a breathalyzer test.
A breathalyzer works by analyzing a person's breath to estimate their blood alcohol content, or BAC. The legal limit for intoxicated driving in Georgia is a BAC of .08%. Breathalyzers are most commonly used because they are small, portable, and can be used in the field.
There are 2 types of devices that people refer to as breathalyzers. There is the portable alcosensor, which is small, portable and can be used in the field either before or after arrest and there is the Intoxilyzer 9000 (or state breath test) that is administered usually at the police department or jail and is a done after an arrest. The portable alcosensor tests for alcohol, however, an officer can only testify as to whether that device was positive or negative for alcohol. The Intoxilyzer 9000 gives a printed alcohol concentration that the state then uses to charge an individual with what is referred to as a per se DUI. An individual has the right to refuse either one of these types of breath tests.
The penalties for being convicted of a DUI are severe and can include jail time, community service, heavy fines, court-mandated treatment programs, loss of your driver's license, and probation. These consequences can greatly impact your happiness and what you are able to do with your life. They can even cost you your freedom.
In addition to the fines and penalties the State of Georgia can impose, you might also face punishment from friends and family, parents, and others. A DUI conviction can cost you your job and creates a criminal record. Therefore, you could have a harder time getting a job in the future. Moreover, many of the penalties that the state will leverage against you will make it harder to go to work. Without a job, it will be hard or impossible to pay the various fines and fees that come from a DUI conviction.
A breathalyzer test only produces an estimate of your BAC, and is not as accurate as a blood test or other test. The US Constitution demands that someone must be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and if you are being charged with DUI per se the state has to prove that your BAC was above the legal limit when you were driving, which is a different level depending on whether you are above or below 21 years old. You do not have to prove you were below the legal limit.
A good DUI lawyer knows how to challenge these tests in court. Therefore, hiring a DUI lawyer goes a long way toward protecting your rights. Jason Slider has over 18 years experience trying DUI cases on both sides. Before he became a defense attorney, Slider worked as a state prosecutor and that gives him unique insights into the way DUI cases and breathalyzer tests must be handled. As a result, he is uniquely qualified to provide an aggressive defense against DUI charges, and his performance has earned him some of the highest honors the DUI defense industry can offer, including awards for client satisfaction.