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WALKER v. STATE

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Court of Appeals of Georgia.

WALKER v. The STATE.

No. A99A0877.

Decided: August 27, 1999

Ralph M. Hinman III, Dalton, for appellant. T. Joseph Campbell, District Attorney, Mickey R. Thacker, Assistant District Attorney, David P. Soulis, for appellee.

Defendant was tried at a bench trial and convicted of driving under the influence of a prescription drug to an extent that it was less safe for her to drive.   This appeal followed.   Held:

 Defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence, arguing that the State failed to prove that her erratic driving, slurred speech and inability to pass field sobriety tests were associated with her admitted use of an “antidepressant” prescription drug.

 Although there is no proof that defendant's use of an “antidepressant” prescription drug caused her erratic driving, it is undisputed that defendant refused the arresting officer's request for her to submit to a state-administered chemical test of her blood to determine whether a prohibited substance was the cause of defendant's impaired driving abilities.   This evidence authorized a presumption that defendant was under the influence of a substance which impaired her driving.   OCGA § 40-6-392(d);  Mendoza v. State, 196 Ga.App. 627, 629(2), 396 S.E.2d 576;  Brooks v. State, 187 Ga.App. 194(1), 369 S.E.2d 801.   And while this Court held in Brinson v. State, 232 Ga.App. 706, 503 S.E.2d 599, that such a presumption, alone, is insufficient to authorize a finding of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, defendant's refusal in the case sub judice to submit to a state-administered blood test, along with proof of defendant's erratic driving (weaving off the road), her slurred speech, her unsteadiness on her feet and her inability to pass field sobriety tests, authorizes the trial court's finding that defendant is guilty, beyond a reasonable doubt, of drug-influenced driving in violation of OCGA § 40-6-391(a)(2).  Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 99 S.Ct. 2781, 61 L.Ed.2d 560;  see Albert v. State, 236 Ga.App. 146, 150(3), 511 S.E.2d 244.

Judgment affirmed.

McMURRAY, Presiding Judge.

ANDREWS, P.J., and RUFFIN, J., concur.

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