Metro Atlanta and North Georgia Drug DUI Lawyer
Handling Drug DUIs in Atlanta, Canton, and Marietta
Georgia criminalizes DUI due to alcohol use and while impaired by drugs,
whether the drug in question is illegal, validly prescribed, or over-the-counter.
If you are facing drug-related DUI charges in Atlanta, Kennesaw, or Marietta,
seek an experienced Drug-DUI lawyer from The Dickerson Firm for legal
DUI-Drugs Less-Safe Charges
An individual under the influence of any drug can be charged with DUI-Drugs.
Georgia law considers someone under the influence if they are impaired
to the extent that it is “less safe” for them to drive.
When prosecuting a DUI-Drugs Less-Safe charge, the state does not have
to prove a person had a particular level of drugs in their system; prosecution
is possible even if the driver refused the state-administered chemical test.
In place of a test result, the state can prove the drug-related DUI charge
with evidence of impairment, such as:
- admissions of drug use;
- personal appearance indicating drug use (e.g. bloodshot eyes, dilated or
- slurred or frantic speech;
- erratic driving;
- poor field sobriety test performance; and
- the presence of drugs in the vehicle.
legally prescribed controlled substances and over-the-counter (OTC) medication
can also be grounds for a DUI-Drugs charge if they have been used in a way that impairs a person’s driving
ability. As a result, being legally entitled to use a drug is not a defense
to a DUI-Drugs charge in Georgia.
“Per Se” Drug DUI Charges
If an individual takes a chemical test and the results show that they had
drugs in their system, they might be charged with per se DUI-Drugs. The
per se law prohibits driving with any amount of marijuana or a controlled
substance, including drug metabolites and derivatives, in the blood or
urine. In a per se case, there is an exception for drug use that’s
lawful (e.g. prescription drugs). However, if the use rendered the person
“incapable of driving safely” (as mentioned above) they may
still be convicted for per se DUI-Drugs.
Penalties for Drug-Related DUI
The criminal penalties for drugged driving are basically the same as those
for alcohol-based DUI charges, with a few differences. Note that for subsequent
DUI convictions, Georgia considers a “look back” period (how
far apart in time past convictions occurred). Georgia has two look-back
periods – a 10-year period for criminal penalties, and a 5-year
period for driver’s license penalties. This means a DUI conviction
will be considered a second conviction for license purposes only if a
person had another DUI conviction within the previous 5 years.
A first offense and second offense DUI is a misdemeanor punishable by up
to 12 months in the county jail, with part of that time spent on probation.
During probation, the defendant will be required to pay a supervision
fee, and the probation officer will monitor them throughout the probationary
period to ensure they’re completing all the required terms of the sentence.
Fines range from $300-$1,000 for a first offense and $600-$1,000 for a
second offense. Individuals must also attend the DUI Alcohol or Drug Use
Risk Reduction Program (“Risk Reduction Program”), which is
a 20-hour course that costs over $350. Note that this course is one of
the requirements for getting a license reinstated by the Georgia Department
of Driver Services (DDS).
First-time convicted drivers will also have to complete 40 hours of community
service work, and second-time offenders will have to complete 30 days
of community service. Individuals must further participate in a clinical
evaluation for alcohol or drug dependency. If the clinical evaluator determines
that they need treatment, they’ll have to complete the recommended
number of counseling sessions as part of their sentence.
Drug-related DUI license suspensions are longer than for alcohol-related
DUIs and for first-time offenses last for a period of 180 days. There
is also no early reinstatement available, as well as no limited driving
permit allowed for a drug DUI. Second DUI-Drug offenders will face a “hard
suspension” of their license, meaning they won’t be allowed
to drive for 12 months. If the person enters an alternative sentencing
program like a DUI or Drug Court, they may be eligible for a limited permit.
The Dickerson Firm Can Defend Your Drugged DUI Charge
If you are facing a drug-related DUI charge, contact an experienced attorney
immediately. A lawyer can help you argue for mitigated charges. Let The
Dickerson Firm handle your drugged DUI and fight for your defense, whether
you’ve been charged with DUI-Drugs Less-Safe or Per Se Drug-DUI.
Contact The Dickerson Firm at (678) 903-1336 to schedule your free consultation with an attorney.