Georgia residents may be surprised to learn that the state's drunk driving laws do not only apply to those on a public road behind the wheel of a car, pickup truck or SUV. Individuals can find themselves on the wrong side of the law when they operate any kind of motorized vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and this is true even if they do not venture onto a public highway. A 48-year-old Congers man learned this lesson on Oct. 16 when he was taken into custody and charged with drunk driving after an incident in a grocery store involving an electric mobility scooter.
Congers police officers say that they discovered the man having difficulty negotiating a grocery store parking lot in his scooter after responding to a call regarding an accident involving an SUV. The SUV is said to have struck the scooter while backing out of a parking space. While police concede that the scooter did not cause the accident, the man was charged with drunk driving after a breath test allegedly revealed his blood alcohol level to .08 percent or higher.
According to police, the man admitted taking the prescription medications trazadone and Valium and drinking a pint of alcohol before riding his scooter to the store. It is believed that the man was visiting the store to refill a prescription. Officers say that the man was so intoxicated that he required hospital treatment and could barely walk.
While the penalties for drunk driving in Georgia can be severe, a criminal defense attorney may seek to have DUI charges reduced or dismissed when no accidents or injuries have occurred and there are mitigating circumstances that could explain their client's behavior. Such mitigating circumstances could include a prior record of good behavior, genuine remorse or an underlying medical condition.
Source: Atlanta Journal Constitution, Conyers man gets DUI on motorized wheelchair at grocery store, Tyler Estep, Oct. 20, 2015