In Atlanta there are a number of music festivals, outdoor neighborhood events happening all the time. People are often careful and don’t drive when they know they will be drinking. However, did you know that in Atlanta, public intoxication can lead to a PUI. (Pedestrian Under the Influence)
Your walking home from a festival, the sidewalk is packed with people, you are a little typsy, so you decided to walk in the street. You are NOT doing anything but walking home. Can you get a PUI? You bet you can. You are putting yourself in harm’s way.
In 2012, a pedestrian was struck by a car in Atlanta on her walk home after a night of drinking when she chose to walk in the street. The road was not well lit and the woman was struck by a car with its passenger side mirror when the driver failed to notice her in time to swerve out of the way. The driver was not charged, but the woman was charged with Pedestrian Under the Influence for putting herself in harm’s way.
Being intoxicated in a public place in Atlanta could potentially lead to an arrest if your behavior is disruptive or you are otherwise a danger to others, whether your actions were intentional or not. Most people are familiar with the offense of Driving Under the Influence and even Public Intoxication (sometimes called Public Drunkenness), but in Georgia, it is also possible to be charged as a Pedestrian Under the Influence. You will need an Atlanta Lawyer who can fight for you so this doesn’t appear on your record.
The PUI statute in Georgia: O.C.G.A. § 40-6-95 states:
A person who is under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug to a degree which renders him a hazard shall not walk or be upon any roadway or the shoulder of any roadway.
Even if not under the influence of alcohol, pedestrians must abide by certain rules and includes any person on foot whether standing, walking, jogging, or running. O.C.G.A. § 40-6-96 provides that pedestrians cannot stand or walk along a roadway if a sidewalk is provided unless there are no vehicles within 1,000 feet of the person or the sidewalk presents an imminent danger. If there is no sidewalk, you must walk along the shoulder of the roadway as far from the edge as practicable. If there is no shoulder, the pedestrian must walk close to the edge of the roadway and along the left side if on a two-lane road.
The maximum punishment for a misdemeanor charge of Pedestrian Under the Influence in Georgia is a fine up to $500. You can also be given probation in order to pay the fine. That being said, even though the consequences for Pedestrian Under the Influence are not severe, the issue is more than the penalties for Pedestrian Under the influence.
How does the PUI Law apply to me?
You are not required to speak to law enforcement officers if they approach you on the side of the road. “Police officers may approach citizens, ask for identification, and freely question the citizen without any basis or belief that the citizen is involved in criminal activity, as long as the officers do not detain the citizen or create the impression that the citizen may not leave. … So long as a reasonable person would feel free to disregard the police and go about his business, the encounter is consensual and no reasonable suspicion is required.” White v. State, 310 Ga. App. 386 (2011). Simply being intoxicated while walking along the roadway is not enough to be charged with Pedestrian Under the Influence. The officer must have a reasonable belief that you are intoxicated and under the influence of alcohol or drugs to the extent that you were rendered a danger to others.
An officer is not required to administer a chemical sobriety test in order to determine your blood alcohol concentration before making the decision to arrest you for Pedestrian Under the Influence. The officer only needs a reasonable belief that you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs, but this belief can be based upon manifestations such as an odor of alcohol on your breath, bloodshot eyes, stumbling or unsteadiness on your feet, slurred speech, repeating questions or comments, fumbling with your identification, and providing incorrect or inconsistent answers.
What can be done if you are charged with Pedestrian Under the Influence?.
We know that people make mistakes. That is why certain crimes are called misdemeanors. Regular good and hard-working people make mistakes. Contact the Howard Law Group, we can help sort out a PUI do it doesn’t appear on your record.