Police officers may not happen to be in the area when someone gets behind the wheel drunk. Even when other drivers witness erratic driving, they are not always compelled to call 911. They may narrowly miss catching the driver's license plate. Police presence is not 100% widespread of course, and this means that they will not catch absolutely everyone they suspect of drinking and driving. That being said, can you be charged with DUI after the fact? Can you be arrested, belatedly? The evidence gathered during an on-scene DUI arrest is certainly crucial to the prosecution's case. It is worth asking, can they even pursue a conviction without blood/breath test evidence and a police report?
In light of a Brooklyn police officer's own recent DUI, it appears the answer is yes. This police officer was off-duty when he hit a guardrail and flipped his car. According to the NY Daily News, "investigators eventually determined he was drunk behind the wheel." It is unclear as to how they exactly arrived at that conclusion. Although he was immediately stripped of his badge after the incident, he was not arrested for DUI until over a month later. The crash occurred on December 7, 2017, and the arrest was made in mid-January 2018. The exact circumstances of the delay are unknown, as are the procedures by which they determined the former officer was drunk behind the wheel.
Can I Get Arrested in Georgia for DUI if the Police Didn't See Me?
Technically speaking, it is possible to be arrested for DUI after the fact, or when an officer does not directly observe you driving drunk. Under Georgia DUI law, the statute of limitations for making a DUI accusation is two years. Note, this does not mean the case must be tried within two years, but the accusation must be filed within two years. You may wonder, can I be arrested for drunk driving even if police didn't see me? The answer is yes, it is possible. Provided, for example, there are eyewitness accounts, or you were caught on camera driving erratically. If, however, police were not able to conduct chemical testing, it will be extremely difficult to prove that intoxication was the reason you were driving unsafely or erratically. But, like the case of the Brooklyn officer, it can be done in Georgia, too.
Ultimately, it is incredibly difficult to pursue a DUI conviction when there is very little evidence. Proving that the suspect was driving and that the suspect was intoxicated may be impossible to prove if there are no eyewitness accounts. If, however, there are witnesses who can attest to the fact that the suspect was the one driving and was seen drinking prior to driving, the prosecution may successfully pursue a conviction. It is rare and it is difficult, but it could theoretically happen.
If you are currently contending with a belatedly charged DUI in Georgia or were otherwise arrested on DUI charges, immediately contact a Georgia DUI attorney for a free consultation. Phones are answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.