1. Why did I get more than one DUI ticket?
In Georgia, Driving Under the Influence laws cover several DUI offenses, so you may be charged with multiple counts of DUI; most commonly DUI “less safe” and DUI “per se.”
If you refused to submit to State-administered chemical testing or test results showed a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) below the legal limit, you may be charged with DUI “less safe.” "Less Safe" is defined as being not as safe to drive as if you had consumed no alcohol at all. DUI less safe requires a showing that you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs to the extent that you were less safe to drive.
DUI “per se” is charged when there is a State-administered test result showing a blood alcohol concentration at or above the legal limit. If you were charged with DUI per se, you may have also been charged with DUI less safe. These offenses are commonly charged together in the event a motion hearing leads to the test results being suppressed (prevented from being shown) prior to trial. If the test results are suppressed, there may be no other evidence showing your BAC was at or above the legal limit. However, the prosecution may still have sufficient evidence to proceed on a DUI less safe charge.
There are also separate DUI charges for DUI alcohol, DUI drugs, DUI toxic vapors, and DUI multiple substances. Ultimately, if you are charged with alternative counts of DUI, you can only be sentenced for one count of DUI from a DUI arrest. The alternative counts of DUI give the State different ways of prosecuting a person for the same DUI. It, however, is only one DUI.
2. I was on private property when I was arrested for DUI. Can the police do that?
DUI laws do not distinguish between driving on public roads versus private property and apply anywhere in Georgia, whether on a street, highway, or private property.
DUI laws apply to all moving motor vehicles. A vehicle has been defined to mean “every device in, upon, or by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a highway, excepting devices used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks.”
This includes golf carts driven on or around golf courses or subdivisions as well as tractors. There is even precedent to prosecute someone for being under the influence of alcohol while in a power wheelchair. “Private Property” is not a valid defense to DUI in the State of Georgia.
3. The police never saw me drive the car. Can I get a DUI when they never saw me drive?
Proof that anyone actually saw you driving a motor vehicle is not required if there is sufficient circumstantial evidence that shows that you recently drove a vehicle.
If an officer arrives at the scene of an accident and you are the only person near the vehicle and the engine is warm, it is reasonable for the officer to assume that you had driven the vehicle prior to the accident. An officer can approach a parked or stopped vehicle to speak with you and if you are sleeping or sitting with the ignition or lights on that may be enough to establish that you were “in control” of the vehicle or had recently driven.
In Georgia, circumstantial evidence carries the same weight as direct evidence if a jury decides the circumstantial evidence warrants belief. The comparative weight of direct and circumstantial evidence is a jury decision. In the end, there must be evidence of being in physical control of a motor vehicle, not eyewitness evidence.