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Odor of Alcohol & Under 21 & Driving = Jail

What does it take for someone under 21 to be arrested for DUI? An odor of alcohol and an admission of drinking are enough regardless of impairment.  In Dodds v. State, 288 Ga. App. 231 (2007), a 19-year-old male was stopped by police as a result of his tag frame partially covering his license plate validation sticker.  There was an odor of alcohol about the young man and he admitted to drinking two beers earlier.

There was no evidence of less safe driving, unsteadiness, slurred speech, red and glassy eyes.  Although the Georgia Court of Appeals held that he could not be arrested for less safe driving as a result of alcohol consumption or drunk driving, he could be arrested for driving with a blood or breath alcohol over 0.02 even without a valid breath test or even a field sobriety test indicating that his blood or breath alcohol was over 0.02.

The admission of drinking and odor of alcohol was enough to arrest and take to jail.  Talk about zero tolerance.  What should you do if you are under 21 and driving with any alcohol on your breath? Give your identifying information, ask for an attorney and remain silent.  Any breath sample or statements will land you in jail and without a breath sample, the government has to prove you are a less safe driver which in most cases they can’t do.  You will lose your license regardless of what you do, so there is no incentive to cooperate.