Does Georgia Have a Zero-Tolerance Law for DUI?

Posted by Richard Lawson | Dec 12, 2016 | 0 Comments

Georgia does not have a zero-tolerance law for DUI.  However, when people fail to understand Georgia DUI Laws, they may end up arrested. 

One of the biggest mistakes people make is their failure to understand that the consumption of alcohol or drugs will affect their judgment insofar as to whether they know they are impaired. 

Georgia has strict tolerances for drinking and driving but does not have a zero-tolerance law:

Drivers Under the Age of 21:

The closest thing Georgia has to a zero-tolerance law for drinking and driving is with drivers under the age of 21.  The “legal limit” for under 21 drivers is .02 because the margin of error on the Intoxilyzer 9000 is .02.  Since people under 21 should not be consuming any alcohol, the .02 limit is designed to reflect zero alcohol consumption when considered the margin of error in testing. 

CDL Drivers:  

The legal blood alcohol level in Georgia for CDL drivers is .04.  The reason for the lower “legal limit for CDL drivers” is the greater danger involved in driving a vehicle that requires a commercial license such as a tractor trailer. 

Practice Note for CDL Drivers:

The .04 alcohol level does not apply when a CDL holder is driving a vehicle that does not require a CDL.

Drivers 21 Years of Age or More:

Everyone knows about the .08 "legal limit;" however, many do not understand that in Georgia a person can be charged with a DUI if he or she are considered to be a less safe driver due to the consumption of alcohol or drugs.  As a result, our office routinely sees cases where our clients are charged with a DUI while having an alcohol level below .08.  

DUI Drugs:

If a person is under the influence of a legally prescribed drug or an illegal drug, they can be charged with DUI Less Safe Drugs.

Having a valid prescription does not indemnify a less safe driver.  We are all responsible for driving safely.

Moral of the Story:

Many people tell me that they "felt fine" and were surprised that they were arrested.  This is why they assume they were caught up in a "zero-tolerance" enforcement regime.

Nothing can be further from the truth.  It is not illegal to drive after drinking.  It is illegal to drive impaired.  However, since alcohol and drugs impair our judgment, the best course is never to drive after consuming alcohol, drugs or medications that cause impairment.  That is my overall advice.  

About the Author

Richard Lawson

Managing Partner at Lawson & Berry:


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