As a Hall County DUI Attorney, I also frequently handle what is referred to as a PUI – pedestrian under the influence. Not many people realize that a charge of pedestrian under the influence is different than a charge of public intoxication (sometimes called public drunkenness). In today's post, I'm going to be explaining what you need to know about the law behind a pedestrian under the influence.
What does it mean to be a Pedestrian Under the Influence?
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 Georgia, a person is not allowed to walk or stand in the road if there is a sidewalk and a vehicle is 1,000 feet or less away. If the sidewalk poses an imminent danger or if the roadway does not have a sidewalk, pedestrians are supposed to stay as far in the shoulder or walk as close to the edge of the roadway as possible.
If you are convicted of pedestrian Under the Influence, you are looking at a $500 fine - you could also be given probation in order to pay the fine. But the most dangerous effect of a PUI conviction is the permanent mark on your criminal record. This could inhibit you from obtaining a job, getting housing, or continuing your education. Even though it is a misdemeanor crime, the consequences are serious.
However, know 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). Simply 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 alcohol or drugs to the extent that you were a danger to others.
At the Law Offices of Richard S. Lawson, our Hall County DUI Lawyers are dedicated to defending people charged with drug and alcohol-related offenses. We know that people make mistakes, and we know that many innocent people are suspected of crimes they did not commit. If you have been charged with a PUI or DUI in Hall County, give our office a call today.