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Georgia man facing DUI charge after striking skateboarder

A 42-year-old Georgia man was taken into custody by police in Fulton County on July 12 after his pickup truck struck and severely injured a skateboarding teen. Police claim that the man was impaired by alcohol at the time. The 16-year-old skateboarder is expected to recover from injuries that include a broken ankle, lacerations and brain swelling caused by a blow to his head. The accident took place on Taylor Road in Johns Creek at approximately 4:00 p.m.

Responding police officers say that the man initially denied that he had been drinking, but they ordered him to take a field sobriety test after smelling alcohol on his breath. The man was placed in custody after he allegedly performed poorly during this test. A Johns Creek Police Department representative said that the man subsequently admitted that he had consumed one or two beers several hours before getting behind the wheel of his Ford F150.

A breath test conducted at the scene revealed the man's blood alcohol level to be .103 percent. The legal driving limit in Georgia is .08 percent. In addition to a count of driving under the influence, the man has been charged with causing a serious injury with his vehicle.

Criminal defense attorneys will generally advise their clients to take advantage of their constitutional rights to remain silent and speak with a lawyer, but the urge to provide police officers with an explanation can be powerful in individuals with little experience of law enforcement. Defense attorneys may also question the validity of field sobriety or breath tests in drunk driving cases. Factors such as age, weight and illness can make even sober individuals do poorly during a field sobriety test, and breath testing equipment that has not been properly taken care of may be unreliable.

Source: WSB-TV Atlanta, "Police: Dashcam video shows moments after teen hit by drunk driver", Chris Patterson, July 21, 2016

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