How Can I Be Charged with DUI in Georgia If My BAC is Under the Legal Limit?

Posted by Richard Lawson | Feb 10, 2019 | 0 Comments

As I was driving through Downtown Atlanta this evening, I noticed one of the traffic signs blinking: “OVER THE LIMIT - UNDER ARREST - DONT DRINK & DRIVE.” As a Georgia DUI Lawyer, I thought to myself how misleading this notice is for drivers in Georgia.

DUI Laws in Georgia criminalize all different types of DUI. This includes driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, whether illegal, prescription, or over-the-counter, and toxic vapors.

The main reason why the notice is misleading is that Georgia Law includes DUI under the limit. One of the most common misconceptions about driving under the influence is that a person cannot be charged with DUI if the person's blood alcohol concentration is less than 0.08 grams.

However, Georgia does not have lessor DUI offenses. Other states have OWI, DWI, or Wet Reckless. In Georgia we have DUI Less Safe which is treated the same way as DUI in Georgia. The terms “less safe” refers to the manner in which a case is proved against the accused DUI Driver in Georgia. 

DUI Less Safe in Georgia

The Georgia Code defines DUI Less Safe in Georgia in the same statute as DUI in Georgia:

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 specified in paragraphs (1) through (3) of this subsection to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive;

(5) The person's alcohol concentration is 0.08 grams or more at any time within three hours after such driving or being in actual physical control from alcohol consumed before such driving or being in actual physical control ended; or

(6) Subject to the provisions of subsection (b) of this Code section, 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, including the metabolites and derivatives of each or both without regard to whether or not any alcohol is present in the person's breath or blood. O.C.G.A. §40-6-391.

Practice Note

In order to convict someone of a DUI Less Safe in Georgia, the prosecution must be able to show that the person was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. A chemical test result is not necessary in order to do so.  An officer's observations during the DUI investigation can be sufficient to support that the driver was impaired by alcohol. 

During the initial DUI investigation, the officer will be look for clues such as:

  • Admission of drinking,
  • Slurred speech,
  • Bloodshot eyes,
  • Stumbling over words,
  • Repeating questions or comments,
  • Odor of alcohol on the person's breath,
  • Performance on standardized field sobriety tests, etc.

If you or a loved one has been arrested for DUI in Georgia, contact a Georgia DUI Attorney today.

About the Author

Richard Lawson

Managing Partner at Lawson & Berry:


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Georgia DUI Defense Attorneys

At the Law Office of Richard S. Lawson, we have offices conveniently located throughout metro Atlanta and throughout Georgia. If we do not have a convenient office, we will come to you. We practice throughout Metro Atlanta and North Georgia. If your case is in an area we do not serve, we will find you an attorney in your area free of charge. Our office is part of a State-wide network of Georgia DUI Lawyers. Contact us 24/7 for immediate legal help. Our attorneys are standing by. Your DUI Case will not defend itself. Your Best Georgia DUI Defense Begins Here!