An off-duty Georgia law enforcement officer finds himself on the other side of the law after allegedly driving on to a sidewalk and hitting a pedestrian. He was also allegedly under the influence of drugs at the time of the incident.
DeKalb County police detective Justin Hamilton was the off-duty officer arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs. He was driving his personal vehicle on Sunday, July 7, 2019, when he drove onto the sidewalk and struck a pedestrian. The pedestrian complained of leg pain after being hit and was taken to a local hospital for treatment.
Hamilton is charged with DUI and reckless driving. According to a DeKalb County police spokesman, Hamilton is now on leave pending an investigation of his actions. Police have not reported what drug Hamilton is alleged to have taken.
A person under the influence of drugs can end up with a DUI charge in Georgia. If you or someone you care about has been arrested for Drug DUI, an experienced Georgia DUI attorney can defend your case and protect your constitutional rights.
Georgia DUI Drugs
Georgia's law on DUI covers both alcohol and drugs, including both illegal and legal drugs and medications. Under O.C.G.A. 40-6-391, three primary provisions handle a charge of DUI drugs.
- 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.
Understanding these provisions can protect you from a DUI drug charge.
What is "Less Safe?"
Unlike with alcohol, there is no defined "legal limit" for how much of a drug can be in your system before you are considered intoxicated behind the wheel. While alcohol has a "legal limit" of 0.08% BAC, there are no such limits for drugs.
Instead, a person is deemed to be under the influence of drugs if that influence makes the person less safe to drive. Law enforcement officers have a great deal of discretion in deciding whether a driver is "less safe." Officers may use field sobriety tests, general observations, or look for drug paraphernalia to help determine if a person is intoxicated due to drugs.
A person may be chemically tested later after an arrest. This involves either a blood or urine test to determine the presence of any intoxicating drugs, whether legal or illegal. This evidence can be used against you in court along with the officer's testimony.
Consult an Experienced Georgia DUI Attorney
A charge of DUI drugs can very negatively affect your ability to drive, your finances, and your freedoms. With the help of an experienced Georgia DUI attorney at your side, you can make sure your legal rights are protected. Contact us today for a free consultation.