Pembroke City Councilman Elijah Lewis Jr., 60, was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving early morning on April 29, according to a news report in The Augusta Chronicle.
The newspaper reported that it was the city official’s fourth arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence and his second in the last two years. At about 1:30 Sunday morning, Pembroke Police Officer William Kile said he saw a 1990 Lincoln Town Car traveling 26 mph in a 45 mph zone on U.S. Highway 280. Officer Kile said he stopped the vehicle after it crossed the centerline twice.
The officer also said in his police report that he saw an open 12-pack of beer in the car and detected a strong odor of alcohol coming from Lewis. The councilman was arrested after he failed four field-sobriety tests, according to the police report. Lewis was taken to the Bryan County Sheriff’s Office, where one blood alcohol test resulted in a reading of .16 and a second test read .15, the article said. A reading of .08 or higher automatically results in a DUI charge in the state of Georgia.
In Georgia, persons arrested for DUI will be subject to additional criminal law punishments including jail time, fines, and community service. Usually, first-time DUI offenders can expect to incur a fine and face probation or the possibility of jail time.
But repeat DUI offenders, such as Councilman Lewis will incur harsher fines, and will almost certainly be sentenced to a number of days in jail. Fortunately for Mr. Lewis, he was not involved in an accident in this case. Penalties would be harsher if the DUI offender was involved in an accident in which someone else was injured or killed. In such cases, charges will be elevated from misdemeanors to felonies.
In this case, the councilman clearly seems to have a drinking problem, given that this was his second in two years; his fourth to date. However, there are several Georgia DUI cases where a person is charged with drunk driving wrongfully or unfairly. A surprising number of police officers are not aware of how to administer field sobriety tests. A Breathalyzer test is also questionable because our blood alcohol content level (BAC) could be elevated for a variety of reasons.
Recently a British pilot who lost his job was reinstated because he registered a high BAC level not because he was drunk, but because of his diet and the type of food he ate. Remember that a DUI can mean more things than jail time. You could lose your job, your kids, your life. You need a defense attorney who can deal with your case intelligently and aggressively.