As a Dekalb County DUI Lawyer, I regularly handle drug and alcohol-related charges both in and out of a car, including what is referred to as a PUI – pedestrian under the influence. It's important to know that a charge of Pedestrian under the influence is not the same as public intoxication. In today's post, I'll explain what you need to know about the law behind a pedestrian under the influence.
Pedestrian Under the Influence in Georgia
OCGA § 40-6-95 states that 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. In Dekalb County, a person is not allowed to walk or stand in the road if there is a sidewalk and a vehicle is fewer than 1,000 feet away. If the roadway does not have a sidewalk or sidewalk contains a hazard, pedestrians are then required to stay as far in the shoulder or walk as close to the edge of the roadway as possible.
Although it is a misdemeanor crime, the consequences can be severe. A conviction of Pedestrian Under the Influence carries a $500 fine. You may also be given probation in order to pay the fine. But the most dangerous consequence of a PUI conviction is the permanent blemish on your criminal record. This could inhibit you from obtaining a job, continuing your education, or even obtaining housing.
However, you must know your rights. Remember that you are not required to speak to a police officer 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). Being intoxicated while walking on the roadway is not enough to be charged with a PUI – the officer must have a reasonable belief that you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol to the degree that you are a threat to others.
At the Law Offices of Richard S. Lawson, our Dekalb County DUI Attorneys are committed to defending those who have been charged with drug and alcohol-related offenses. We know that many innocent people are suspected of crimes they did not commit and that good people can make mistakes. If you have been charged with a PUI or DUI in Dekalb County, give our office a call today.