DUI: "How bad is it that I stumbled?"

Posted by William H. Sherman on Jan 07, 2015 | 0 Comments

Question: I was arrested in Atlanta for a DUI.  I really hadn't been drinking that much.  I just had a few beers and a whisky.  Since I just had a kid I thought I'd tone it down.  And I've pretty much given up pot on most nights.

Anyway I was driving and I got pulled over by an Atlanta cop who said I was driving with my lights off.  Since I left the bar I forgot to turn them on.  I pulled over and when the cop came to my door he told me to stop breast feeding and get out of the car.

I got out and did the field sobriety tests like he wanted.  I just told him I had one beer.  I think my only mistake on the tests was when I stumbled.  The officer made a big deal out of the stumble and kept asking me how much I really had to drink.

How bad is it that I stumbled?  Can't it be from something else than being drunk.  I live in Buckhead with my 2 kids who go to a famous private school.

P.A. in Atlanta

Answer: Certainly it's always better not to stumble on the field sobriety tests because any misstep will be attributed by some to intoxication.  But, of course, a stumble can be attributed to many different things.  Perhaps the roadway is not level, you slipped on a rock or because of a puddle.

As for your question about “how bad” was the stumble, the answer is that it depends.  We'd need to evaluate your video and read the police report.  Some police officers will make more out of a misstep than others.  Some cops will highlight it in the police report, while others might not even mention it.

Also, how you looked in the context of the full video is important.  In other words, if you looked great in the rest of the video, a minor stumble is more likely to be seen as something other than a manifestation of DUI.

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