While many are familiar with DUI and have a rough understanding of its severity, it may be said that fewer are familiar with the offense of PUI - Pedestrian Under the Influence. Pedestrian under the influence is a distinct charge from Public Drunkenness/Public Intoxication (defined as “boisterousness, by indecent condition or act, or by vulgar, profane, loud, or unbecoming language" under O.C.G.A. § 16-11-41(a). Under Georgia law, it is illegal for any pedestrian (whether walking, standing, jogging, etc) to walk or stand on a roadway unless there are no vehicles within 1,000 feet unless the sidewalk presents an imminent danger. A pedestrian is required to keep to the shoulder of the road if there is no sidewalk. If a pedestrian is found to be under the influence, the maximum they could be fined is $500, which they may be given probation to pay. By far, the most serious consequence of PUI is not a fine or probation - it is the lifetime criminal record that results from it.
A misdemeanor conviction like PUI can negatively impact job prospects, as potential employers may view you with undue bias after performing a background check. This is why it is critical that you speak to a skilled Roswell DUI attorney, with an extensive knowledge of Georgia DUI, traffic and PUI law. Alpharetta DUI attorney Richard Lawson is equipped with over 20 years experience defending Georgians against such charges and is ready to weaponize his formidable legal experience and fight for a good outcome in your case. He understands the fear and confusion that can accompany these type of charges and will handily guide you through the process with which he is familiar and extensively trained.
How Georgia Law Applies in Pedestrian Under the Influence Cases
The Pedestrian Under the Influence Law 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.
If approached by a law enforcement officer, you are under no obligation to speak to them or reveal any incriminating information, such as inquiries into your previous whereabouts or recent alcohol consumption. Any statement you make can be held against you in a court of law, and this is why you are entitled to not answer questions until you have an attorney present. It is beneficial to know your rights when approached by an officer, especially if you know have been drinking. Georgia case law has established: “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.” A pedestrian seeming intoxicated is not enough to charge a person with PUI; the pedestrian must also be posing an imminent risk to others or themselves.
For example, one case saw a woman charged with PUI after being struck by a vehicle's side view mirror while walking home from a bar. The driver, who drove on a dimly lit road, was not charged.
If an individual is under 21 and arrested for Pedestrian Under the Influence, they will face a Minor in Possession of Alcohol charge as well. Penalties for Minor in Possession include driver's license suspension, jail time, a fine, and/or a period of probation. Those charged face a maximum fine of $300 and up to 6 months in jail.
The skilled legal team at the Law Offices of Richard Lawson are exclusively devoted to alcohol and traffic-related defense. As the top rated and most reviewed attorney in Georgia, Richard Lawson has handled Pedestrian Under the Influence and similar cases for over 20 years. DUI and PUI charges can happen to anyone and Richard Lawson will build you a competent defense in court so you can put these charges behind you and are free to carry on with you life. Contact Roswell DUI Lawyer Richard Lawson today.