Troy Hickey, a man in Gwinnett County, was accused of driving under the influence and crashing into a hearse which was leading a funeral brigade for Evelyn Osborne. According to reports, Hickey ignored police who had stopped traffic on Lawrenceville Highway for the funeral procession and slammed into the hearse causing it to flip three times and seriously injure two of the funeral home employees that were inside the vehicle.
Hickey allegedly admitted to being under the influence of methadone. Methadone is a Schedule II narcotic in Georgia. It is an opiate much like heroin or a pharmaceutical painkiller, and was used to treat people with extreme pain. However, today, it is used as a treatment to treat heroin or narcotic painkiller addiction. Methadone is highly addictive. As a Georgia DUI Lawyer, I will outline the offense of DUI Drugs in today's post.
DUI Drugs in Georgia
DUI Drugs in Georgia is defined alongside DUI in Georgia and DUI Less Safe in Georgia. O.C.G.A. § 40-6-391, covers not only offenses related to driving under the influence of alcohol, but also offenses related to driving under the influence of drugs. According to Georgia Law:
- A person shall not drive while under the influence of any drug to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive.
- A person shall not drive under the influence of a combination of substances (i.e. drugs and alcohol) to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive.
- A person cannot be under the influence of prescription drugs, even if a drug or drugs are prescribed legally. However, in order to uphold a conviction, the State must prove that such legally prescribed medication rendered the individual incapable of driving safely.
If convicted of DUI Drugs, the consequences will result in a minimum of 24 hours in jail, a fine of at least $300, 12 months on probation, completion of 40 hours of community service, DUI school, and a clinical drug and alcohol evaluation.
These are the minimums allowed by law - meaning that many jurisdictions in Georgia actually punish much more harshly. A 6 month driver's license suspension is very common in DUI-Drugs cases.
As a Georgia DUI Attorney, I should also point out that some police officers are trained as Drug Recognition Experts (DREs). These officers receive specialized training to determine through field-sobriety testing if someone is under the influence of illegal or prescription drugs. That being said - there is no requirement that an officer is a DRE to arrest someone for driving under the influence of drugs.
However, having the certification of being a drug recognition expert adds tremendous credibility to a police officer accusing someone of DUI-Drugs.
This is where we step in. If you or a loved one has been arrested for DUI, contact our offices today.
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