A Deputy Commissioner with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources faced DUI and failure to maintain lane charges in 2017 after a crash. Walter Hyman Rabon crashed on Georgia 11 Northbound with a passenger in the car. Rabon claimed he swerved to avoid a deer, which caused him to spin counterclockwise and land in a ditch.
When a sheriff's deputy responded to the scene of the accident, he stated that Rabon's breath "reeked of alcohol." Officers noticed that Rabon had bloodshot and watery eyes, was not wearing shoes, and had difficulty finding his driver's license.
A Georgia Trooper searched the vehicle and found nine bottles of moonshine, some of which were broken as a result of the crash. Rabon first stated that he had one drink while at home, but later admitted to as much as two drinks. However, he performed poorly on field sobriety tests and blew a 0.146 on the breathalyzer test.
What is Moonshine?
Most people have heard of moonshine or have even tried it, but few know what it is actually made of or how its alcohol content may affect their ability to drive. Moonshine has come a long way from its roots, distilled in makeshift stills in the hidden hills and valleys of the backwoods. In the old days, people risked blindness and death for a taste of alcohol, which for a time was banned in the United States.
Now the drink has become popular again, and new makers create a product worth drinking. Moonshine is unaged whiskey, the alcoholic product that first appears after the distillation process for what could later be whiskey or bourbon. Instead of being aged in casks to create whiskey, the alcohol is unaged, creating "moonshine." Legal distillers create products that can be consumed without anything added to it ("straight") or as a mixer in a cocktail. With the additions of multiple flavors, there is no end to the variety distillers can create.
Is Moonshine Illegal?
A common misconception is that all moonshine is illegal. This misconception comes from the drink's origins when all alcohol was illegal. Now, licensed distillers create, market, and sell legal moonshine for consumption. It is still illegal to distill alcohol without the proper permits and licensing.
Moonshine's Effects on Driving
Moonshine is liquor and has a typical alcohol content ranging from 20% to 60%, or 40 proof to 120 proof. It is strong, and moonshine's intoxicating effects include
- slower reaction times,
- slurred speech,
- watery eyes,
- red eyes,
- trouble focusing,
- inability to retain memories, and
- poor balance.
As moonshine has become more popular and distillers experiment with new flavors, more and more people drink the beverage straight. Many often forget that while they may have been able to drive after one or two beers, one or two drinks of moonshine may make them incredibly intoxicated and unable to drive.
Consult a Dekalb County DUI Attorney
If you have been arrested for DUI, there are defenses that can be raised to protect your rights. Do not assume that just because you were arrested that you are guilty of a crime. Police make mistakes and sometimes commit false arrests.