DUI: "But she wasn't that drunk."

Posted by William H. Sherman on Mar 02, 2015 | 0 Comments

Question:  My daughter got arrested for DUI in Gwinnett County.  She was out with some friends.  She lives with us and told us that she was doing a college project by helping some disabled homeless people learn how to do math. 

But instead she later admitted that she was out drinking with some friends from Georgia Gwinnett College and Gwinnett Technical College.  She said they went out for some drinks at a couple of bars in Duluth and Lawrenceville.

She was the designated driver.  Unfortunately, she did have a little to drink.  She was stopped by a Gwinnett County police officer for speeding and failure to maintain lane.  She said she cooperated with the officer.

She took a breath test at the jail and she only blew a .05.  So she couldn't have been that drunk.  I know that means she did not have a huge buzz.

She is 19 years old and she wants to become a psychologist or social worker and help people from poor environments.  Do you think she will get a DUI even if she wasn't that drunk?  She didn't score high on the breath test. 

K.M. in Suwanee

Answer In Georgia, if you are under the age of 21, then the per se alcohol limit is .02.  If you are 21 years of age or older, the per se limit is .08.  So because your daughter is under 21, the law is that any alcohol breath or blood test that indicates a .02 or higher means that she is driving with an unlawful alcohol concentration.

With a breath test reading of .05, she is actually over twice the legal limit.  As you state, she was probably not drunk.  However, under Georgia law, she can be charged with DUI. 

Utilizing data from certain studies, her test result of .05 probably means that she had only a drink or two.  Generally, one drink equals 1.5 ounces of 80 proof liquor (40% alcohol), 12 ounces of beer (4.5% alcohol), or 5 ounces of wine (12% alcohol).  Depending on factors like body weight, height and what she had eaten, she may have had just one drink.

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William H. Sherman

With a professional background that includes serving as a Senior Assistant County Attorney and as an Assistant Attorney General, attorney William H. Sherman has great experience, a broad range of legal knowledge and a proven record of success.  Each of Mr. Sherman's clients gets the full benefit of his experience.  Because attorney Sherman has worked for governmental organizations, large corporations and clerked for a judge, he has handled a wide variety of cases from negotiation and trial to successful appeal. Mr. Sherman is very proud of his reputation as a problem-solver who is always available to his clients.  Active in the community, Mr. Sherman and his wife, attorney Valerie Sherman, support many community organizations, sports teams and charities.  Call him now and let his experience work for you.


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