Did you know that there are multiple types of DUI offenses in Georgia? Let’s go over these four main types so you know exactly what to avoid.
1. DUI Per-Se
DUI per-se is the clearest example of DUI, and what most people are familiar with. You can be charged with a DUI per-se if your blood alcohol level is higher than .08% (the legal limit).
More specifically, to get a DUI conviction, the State must only prove that they had a BAC of .08% or higher within three hours of being in control of a vehicle and that the BAC level was a result of alcohol consumed prior to operating the vehicle.
Many people follow the ‘one drink per hour’ rule to stay below the legal BAC limit for driving. However, it’s important to note that everybody processes alcohol differently. You may think you’re in the clear, but end up being surprised that your breath test result showed you were above the legal limit.
Breath Test Refusal
You may be wondering, if you don’t submit to a breath test, you can’t be charged with DUI per-se, right? Technically, that’s true. If you don’t take a breath test, the police will not have quantitative evidence of your BAC. However, refusing to take a breath test can lead to additional penalties. Under implied consent laws, you are required to take a breath, blood, or urine test whenever asked by law enforcement. If you don’t comply, your license will be suspended.
2. DUI Less Safe
While DUI per-se requires evidence that the driver’s BAC was above the legal limit, DUI Less Safe does not. In order to be charged with a DUI Less Safe, the police must only prove that drugs or alcohol impaired your ability to drive safely, even if you were below the legal limit.
DUI Less Safe charges are usually proven through the use of field sobriety tests. These tests involve having drivers walk in a straight line, balance on one foot, and other physical examinations. However, many people will agree the balance and coordination tests can be difficult even when 100% sober. Unfortunately, failing a field sobriety test can be enough for the officer to move forward with DUI Less Safe charges. We strongly encourage you not to participate in these tests if asked. Unlike breath tests, there is no penalty for refusing. Therefore, it is always the safest decision to refuse - whether you are sober or not.
3. DUI of Drugs
Driving under the influence isn’t exclusively alcohol-related. You may also be charged with DUI of drugs if the police believe you are impaired by a substance other than alcohol.
- Legally obtained prescription drugs
- Over-the-counter medications
To charge someone with DUI of drugs, the police use similar evidence as they would be DUI less safe.
- Unsafe driving behavior
- Signs of impairment (slurred speech, disorientation, etc.)
- Failed field sobriety tests
4. DUI - Inhalants
Driving under the influence of inhalants occurs when an individual intentionally inhales toxic vapors, then operates a motor vehicle. Inhalants may be glue, aerosol sprays, gasoline, or any other chemical that may intoxicate the driver. Inhalants and alcohol have a similar effect on drivers.
DUI inhalants is hard to prove, however, and police officers will struggle to get a conviction for this type of DUI unless there is clear evidence in the vehicle, like a can of gas.
If you are charged with any type of DUI listed above, you face a number of criminal penalties.
If convicted on a first offense, you face:
- Up to 10 days in jail
- A minimum $300 fine
- One year of probation
- Mandatory substance abuse counseling
- Driver’s license suspension
For each subsequent conviction, the penalties will increase.
Marietta, GA DUI Defense
If you are facing DUI charges after a failed breath test, failed field sobriety tests, or any other reason, The Dickerson Firm LLC is here to help. The effects of a DUI conviction can last for many years; our team wants to help prevent your mistake from ever appearing on your criminal record. Call us at (678) 487-5728 to get started on your defense today.