Dawsonville, Ga. - The Georgia Bureau of Investigation was tasked with investigating and analyzing the death of a teenager who was incarcerated at the Dawson County Jail when he died last month.
According to analysts and investigators, the autopsy showed that the teenager died from what they describe as a “combined drug intoxication.” The teenager was arrested on charges for DUI in Georgia and died in custody after his arrest. The investigation is still ongoing.
As a Dawson County DUI Lawyer, stories like these break my heart. Not everyone who is arrested for DUI is guilty but sometimes people who are arrested for a drug or alcohol related offense have serious substance abuse problems. This is where officers and law enforcement agents need to be more cautious about deeming it solely a criminal act. There are times where medical professionals also need to be involved - and most of the time, they aren't.
In today's post, I will simply outline the law behind driving under the influence in the state of Georgia as it is the offense that the teenager was accused of committing. Read below.
DUI in Georgia
O.C.G.A. § 40-6-391 defines the offense of DUI as:
“A person shall not drive or be in actual physical control of any moving vehicle while:
(1) Under the influence of alcohol to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive;
(2) Under the influence of any drug to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive;
(3) Under the intentional influence of any glue, aerosol, or other toxic vapor to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive;
(4) Under the combined influence of any two or more of the substances…
(5) The person's alcohol concentration is 0.08 grams or more at any time…
(6) …there is any amount of marijuana or a controlled substance, as defined in Code Section 16-13-21, present in the person's blood or urine, or both…”
The maximum penalty for a misdemeanor is 12 months in jail and a $1,000.00 fine plus court surcharges. The minimum penalty for a first DUI conviction within a 10 year period is 24 hours in jail, which may still be waived as time served, and a $300.00 fine. Other mandatory requirements are 40 hours community service, a DUI Risk Reduction course (commonly known as “DUI School”), and 12 months probation less any time served in jail, which may be supervised or potentially non-reporting and may allow for random drug and alcohol screening. An Alcohol and Drug Evaluation may be required, but can be waived by the judge at his or her discretion.
I am a defense attorney because I believe in upholding a person's constitutional rights. Bottom line is that regardless of what a person is accused of doing, he or she deserves to be treated with care and respect. The full story on this young man's life has not been discovered yet, but either way, I hope it opens people's eyes to the problems faced with drugs and alcohol in the state of Georgia.
As I mentioned above, not everyone is guilty of driving under the influence. If you have been arrested and would like to know your options, call our offices now.