Whether you drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you are committing an offense that could result in serious consequences. Even if it is a first offense you could end up in jail, with your license suspended for a year, facing fines, and community service.
Our experienced Peachtree City criminal defense attorney explains how the authorities decide whether or not a person is driving under the influence (DUI) in the state of Georgia.
Types of DUI in Georgia
As in all other states in the USA, Georgia recognizes two different types of DUI:
- Per se, that is based on the concentration of alcohol or drugs in the bloodstream
- Impairment, that is based on the effect drugs or alcohol have on a person
Per Se DUI
Throughout the US a driver aged 21 years or more can be charged with DUI if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08 percent or more and they are driving an ordinary passenger vehicle. If they are operating a commercial vehicle, they can be charged with DUI if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08 percent or more. Drivers younger than 21 years need only have a BAC of 0.02 percent.
But in Georgia, there are zero tolerance laws that enable traffic officers to charge drivers with DUI regardless of the quantity of alcohol or drugs involved. Even prescription drugs are covered, though there isn’t the same percentage ratio test as there is with alcohol.
To be convicted of a per se offense, breath (for alcohol), as well as blood and/or urine testing is required. While implied consent for the two latter tests is required legally, nobody can force you to agree. However, refusal to agree to tests can be used as evidence against those suspected of DUI.
If an officer assesses that someone is not in complete control while driving, because they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they have the legal right to arrest that person for DUI. While directed primarily at any drugs or chemicals that are regulated by government, including marijuana, this law also applies to drugs that have been legally prescribed by a doctor. Even toxic vapors from aerosols and glue are covered.
Any good Peachtree City criminal defense attorney knows that to make a legal arrest, police officers don’t even need evidence of impaired driving. All they need is a “reasonable belief” that the driver is impaired!
While it is more difficult to convict someone who has been charged with impairment, it is a real threat to anyone who is found to be DUI.
Penalties for DUI, depend on how many (if any) previous offenses that person has been convicted of, as well as their age. The younger the driver, and more frequent the offense irrespective of age, will lead to higher penalties, whether alcohol and/or drugs were involved.
Slepian, Schwartz & Landgaard can provide an experienced Peachtree City criminal defense attorney who can help you with any DUI drug or alcohol charges. So if you, a friend, or a member of your family, is charged with a DUI offense, contact us immediately for advice.