Arrested for Inhalant DUI in Georgia?
In some cases, the Atlanta police will pull over a driver for erratic driving, or speeding, or any other traffic offense, and look for evidence of some kind of intoxication. Obviously, an open bottle of alcohol is not only an open container violation, but could also be an indication to the police that the driver may be under the influence of alcohol. Similar to evidence of marijuana, such as smoke or a pipe. But what about normal everyday objects like a bottle of glue for fixing things around the house, or an aerosol can to deodorize a room? Believe it or not, the police can charge a driver with driving under the influence of a toxic vapor for everyday objects.
Georgia law spells out a specific provision for driving under the influence of intoxicants. Specifically, they make it unlawful to drive under the intentional influence of glue, aerosol or other toxic vapor that makes it less safe for the person to drive.
Inhalants and Their Effects
Inhalant use is not very popular among adults or older people like alcohol is, but is more prevalent with teenagers who find it easy to get access to household inhalants. Typical inhalants include correction fluid, rubber cement, spray paint, and even gasoline. To get the effects of the chemical vapors, users either sniff the chemicals straight out of a container, or pour them on a rag or in a bag and breathe them in, known as “huffing.”
Inhalants have mind-altering effects and cause dizziness, apathy, impaired judgement, lack of coordination, muscle weakness, disorientation, and even loss of consciousness. These effects combined with driving are an obvious hazard on the roadways. Driver's under the influence of inhalants may find it more difficult to stop or avoid an accident in an emergency situation, misjudge distances or speed, and engage in riskier driving behavior that could increase the chances of an accident.
Georgia Less Safe Inhalant DUI
Some of the effects of alcohol are similar to the effects of inhalant use. However, the effects last much longer with alcohol than they do with alcohol. Additionally, it is much more difficult to test for inhalant use than it is for alcohol. Inhalant use does not show up on breath tests. Yet, the penalties for an inhalant DUI are similar to alcohol driving under the influence charges. This includes fines of up to $1,000; possible jail time; mandatory community service and DUI school; and even a substance abuse evaluation that could require treatment. Second or third offenses include more significant penalties, with a fourth offense in 10 years charged as a felony DUI.
It can be difficult for anyone, including police, to detect inhalant abuse. In part, this is because the effects of inhaling aerosol or glue only lasts for a few minutes. Instead, police often rely on circumstantial evidence to arrest a driver for inhalant DUI. This could include noticing the chemical smells coming from the car, traces of paint on the driver's face or body, aerosol cans or typical inhalant abused products in the car, or rags and bags with a chemical odor inside the car.
However, because most inhalants have normal uses, a police officer may mistake a simple driving mistake as inhalant intoxication simply because there is glue or nail polish in the driver's car. DUI inhalant cases are different than other DUI cases, and benefits from special training in inhalant detection and police techniques.
Georgia Inhalant DUI Defense Lawyer
Have you or a loved one been charged with DUI due to aerosol vapors, or inhalant use? An arrest does not have to mean a conviction, especially in inhalant DUI cases. Our attorneys at Lawson and Bery have represented clients charged with inhalant DUIs in the Atlanta area, and we understand what it takes to get these charges reduced or dismissed. Don't risk a criminal record and loss of your driving privileges just because the cops wouldn't listen to you. You have rights, and need to understand all your options before going to court. Call us anytime 24/7, and we can get your charges reduced or dismissed, and you can keep your license to drive.