I've written a lot of posts recently on what people consider the stereotypical DUI in Georgia. However, what most people don't know is that there is a DUI offense for being under the influence of drugs as well. According to the law, drugs include illegal narcotics and prescription medications.
Arrests for DUI Drugs in Georgia are on the rise in Georgia - even though most people think that Georgia law enforcement has eased up on drug arrests after the new marijuana laws passed by the city of Atlanta. In fact, Georgia police are likely to assume a driver is under the influence of drugs when they are not showing signs of a traditional, alcohol DUI.
The realities of a DUI Drugs conviction in Georgia are harsh, and the penalties are severe. If a person is accused of DUI Drugs, he or she may not qualify for a permit to drive.
In today's post, I will focus on clarifying the law behind Georgia DUI Drugs and the penalties if convicted.
DUI Drugs in Georgia
Georgia Law defines DUI Drugs as:
“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.” O.C.G.A. §40-6-391.
As I mentioned above, this includes all drugs. The investigating officer will be looking for anything that might be a clue to driving under the influence. In traditional DUIs, a person is presumed to be under the influence of alcohol if his or her BAC is over the legal limit. However, in DUI Drugs cases, there is no quantitative legal limit for drug intoxication. The question then becomes: is the accused individual under the influence of a drug to the extent that he or she is a less safe driver?
The officers will consider all of the factors surrounding both the investigation and the arrest including but not limited to:
- Observed driving
- Results of Georgia Sobriety Chemical Tests
- Performance on Georgia Field Sobriety Tests
- Conversational Skills
In order to be convicted of DUI Drugs, the prosecution must prove whether or not someone is driving under the influence of a drug or drugs to the extent that he or she is a less safe driver. Again, there is no quantitative legal limit for drug consumption, so the arresting officers' observations are usually the determining factors.
The penalties for a first-time conviction for DUI-Drugs in Georgia can include:
- Minimum of 24 hours in jail
- Fine of at least $300
- 12 months on probation
- Completion of 40 hours of Georgia community service
- Completion of Georgia DUI school
- Clinical drug and alcohol evaluation.
However, these are just the legal minimums. The reality is that in most jurisdictions in Georgia, judges are more likely to impose even more severe Georgia DUI Penalties.
If you or a loved one has been charged and accused with a DUI in Georgia, contact a Georgia DUI Lawyer today. You need an attorney who is experienced in not only DUI Defenses in Georgia, but who will also examine every piece of evidence in your particular case. You need a specialist who is aware of both the science and the law in a DUI case. We are here to help.