It’s common knowledge at this point that drivers caught with blood alcohol concentration (BAC) that was at least 0.08 percent will receive DUI charges. Those aware of it go to a bar and try to limit their alcohol intake so they can still have a good time without going overboard enough to face a DUI conviction.
However, Georgia has some unique laws when it comes to drunk driving. While most states may not be able to press charges if the defendant’s BAC is below the legal limit, Georgia courts can convict you regardless if your BAC is a 0.07 or a 0.02. It is crucial to be aware of the state’s drinking laws before you and your buddies head out to the local bar.
The “less safe” DUI statute
While Georgia statute 40-6-391 states the legal alcohol concentration limit, it also mentions that a person should not driver under the following conditions:
- They are drunk enough to the point where it is not safe to drive
- They took enough drugs to make it unsafe to drive
- They took enough inhalants to make it unsafe to drive
- They took two of the previously mentioned substances to make it unsafe to drive
These requirements make up the “less safe” DUI statute, as they clarify that it is illegal to drive if you are intoxicated to the point where it is not safe to be behind the wheel. Convictions for those above the legal limit are known as “per se” DUIs. Even if there are no BAC percentage tests, the prosecution is often able to prove this by providing evidence of reckless driving. This could include speeding, improper lane changes, failing to yield or a crash with another driver. The police officer can also report any signs of intoxication from how you behave, look and smell.
Dangerous days ahead
Back in 2014, WTVM reported that holidays are common times to for officers to make “less safe” DUI arrests. Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas are very popular times for people to drink before heading out on the road, so expect to see an increase in police activity during your drive to your relative’s house.
Another frequent misconception is that a less safe DUI is not as punishing as a per se DUI. Make no mistake, a less safe DUI will still land you with potential jail time, fines and a mark on your permanent arrest record in Georgia. Regardless of how much alcohol they think you had, a criminal defense lawyer can help you devise strategies to ensure that you do not receive a damaging conviction.