Question: I need to speak with someone about my nephew who just got a DUI in Atlanta. He was charged after his car went off the road and hit a tree. He wasn't injured, but the Atlanta police department came and they brought him to a hospital and he was charged with DUI.
My nephew admitted to me that he didn't drink too much but he and his friends were inhaling spray paint and paint thinner that his friend had at his house, in his garage. They were inhaling that stuff to get high, and they had some beers too. He admitted that he passed out right before the accident. He said that sometimes that happens to him when he sniffs stuff to catch a buzz. He said he sniffs about twice a week with his friends and girlfriend.
I've never approved of his friends because many of them have police records and his girlfriend told me her ambition was to be a stripper in Atlanta and then maybe in New York.
I think he's finally scared that he could have killed himself or someone else and that he can't abuse these household products any longer. He lives with us because his mother is in rehab in North Georgia for drug and alcohol abuse. Plus she has mental illness, which runs in our family.
I need an attorney to help us with his DUI charge. What should we do?
D.B. in Atlanta, GA
Answer: Driving under the influence of inhalants can certainly lead to a DUI in Georgia. Many people, especially young people, abuse inhalants. Oftentimes they are found around the house or in the garage. Some commonly abused products include nail polish remover, glue, dust cleaner, paint thinner, spray paint and gasoline. When inhaled, all of them can get a person “high.” And all of them, when abused excessively, can cause long-term physical problems and even death.
People tend to abuse inhalants because they are easy to find, inexpensive and can quickly cause intoxication.
We would be interested to know if a blood test was taken, which is quite likely. Unless these substances are abused very frequently, they are not detected in the bloodstream for long. So it will be interesting to see what the evidence is against your nephew.
Also, we'd like to know his age, as that could factor into the case. There are different levels for per se alcohol intoxication in Georgia; if a person is 21 years of age or older then it is .08, while for those younger than 21 it is .02.
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