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.
What is 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.
What is 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.