Types of Georgia DUI Charges
There are six general categories of DUI in Georgia. Two of the six categories
address driving under the influence of alcohol, and the remaining four
categories are concerned with driving under the influence of substances
other than alcohol. The two types of
alcohol-related DUIs are DUI-Per se, and DUI-Less safe.
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DUI – Per se
This is the type of DUI most people are familiar with. Under the Georgia
DUI-Per se statute, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while the
driver has a blood-alcohol level of more than .08 grams. DUI-Per se does
not require evidence of impairment. In order to convict a person of DUI-Per
se, the state needs only prove: (1) that the defendant’s blood alcohol
content was .08 grams or more at any time within three hours of being
in actual physical control of a moving vehicle, and (2) that the defendant’s
blood alcohol content resulted from alcohol consumed before the defendant
operated the motor vehicle.
DUI – Less Safe
A lesser-known type of DUI which does not require evidence of blood alcohol
content. Under the Georgia DUI-Less Safe statute, a person can be charged
with DUI if the arresting officer believes that the person is a less safe
driver as a result of alcohol consumption. DUI-Less safe is commonly charged
when a person refuses to submit to a test of blood, breath, or urine.
However, DUI-Less safe can also be charged even if the driver submits
to chemical testing and the person’s blood alcohol content is less
than .08 grams. DUI-Less safe requires the state to prove the driver’s
impairment beyond a reasonable doubt, and thus, DUI-Less safe cases are
the most commonly tried types of DUI cases.
DUI – Drugs
Under the Georgia DUI-Drugs statute, a person may be charged with DUI if
the person is under the influence of any drug to the extent that it is
less safe for the person to drive. It doesn't matter whether the driver
has a valid prescription for the drug. If an officer believes that a driver
is a less safe driver as a result of taking a drug, the officer can arrest
the driver for DUI-Drugs. Like DUI-Less Safe, a conviction requires the
state to prove the driver's impairment beyond a reasonable doubt.
DUI – Inhalants
Under the Georgia DUI-Inhalants statute, a person may be charged with DUI
if the person is under the "intentional influence of any glue, aerosol,
or other toxic vapor to the extent that it is less safe for the person
to drive." A conviction for DUI-Inhalants requires the State to prove
each of the following beyond a reasonable doubt: (1) that the person intentionally
inhaled toxic vapors, (2) that the person operated a motor vehicle while
under the influence of said toxic vapors, and (3) that the person was
a less safe driver as a result of being under the influence of toxic vapors.
DUI – Multiple Substances
Under the Georgia DUI-Multiple Substances statute, a person may be charged
with DUI if the person is under the influence of a combination of alcohol,
drugs, or inhalants to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive.
DUI – Marijuana/Controlled Substance
Under the Georgia DUI-Marijuana/Controlled Substance statute, a person
may be charged with DUI if the person has any amount of marijuana or other
"controlled substance" in his or her blood while operating a
motor vehicle. Whether a violation of DUI-Marijuana/controlled substance
is prosecuted as a "per se" or a "less safe" depends
on whether the person is legally entitled to use the drug. If the person
has a valid prescription, the state must prove that the driver was a less
safe driver as a result of the controlled substance. If the person is
not legally entitled to use the controlled substance, the state need not
prove actual impairment, but instead, must only prove that the driver's
blood contained the controlled substance, (or metabolites and derivatives
thereof), while the driver was operating a motor vehicle.
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