Georgia’s Less Safe Laws
While other states have some of the strictest DUI laws in the United States, Georgia is also very tough when it comes to DUI laws. Georgia DUI laws are very complex and confusing for most people.
One of the biggest misconceptions people charged with a DUI have is that if their blood or breath alcohol concentration is less than .08%, they cannot be charged with a DUI.
However, under Georgia law, the DUI less safe statute gives a law enforcement officer the authority to bring a DUI case against a driver, even if their BAC is below the legal limit of .08% or if they refuse the DUI breathe or blood test.
If you have been charged with a drunk driving case or any other DUI offense, it is essential to contact a DUI lawyer and establish an attorney-client relationship as soon as possible.
What Does DUI Less Safe Mean?
Under Georgia law, the DUI less safe statute means that a driver may be charged with a DUI and be found guilty even if their BAC is less than 0.08 grams.
Under the law, being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol to the point that you are less safe to drive is a crime, meaning that it is a crime to drive a motor vehicle if one has been drinking alcohol, taking prescription drugs, toxic vapors, or any other illegal drug.
One may be charged with DUI less safe in Georgia if they are found to have been driving under the influence of the above substances.
DUI Alcohol Less Safe Statute
The Georgia DUI laws assert that one should not be in actual physical control or be found driving a moving vehicle while under the influence of a prescription drug, illegal drug, or alcohol, making them unsafe drivers.
The DUI less safe statute makes driving while under the influence of any amount of alcohol or drugs a criminal offense. The difference between a DUI less safe and a regular DUI is that you can be charged with the former even if you are below the legal limit of .08% set by the law or even if you do not take a state-administered breath or blood test.
Regarding Georgia’s less safe laws, drinking alcohol before or while driving lowers the driver’s safety compared to not taking any drugs or alcohol before or while driving.
Police officers are trained to look out for possible DUI clues during their patrol and to pull you over, such as: speeding, failure to maintain lane, erratic driving, car accident, weaving, equipment violation, improper lane change, etc.
Most times, prosecutors only have circumstantial evidence of less safe driving, so getting a DUI less safe conviction is not always sufficient.
A failed standardized field sobriety test can serve as circumstantial evidence of less safe driving, as can a driver’s demeanor and appearance, including smelling of alcohol, being unsteady, stumbling, or staggering.
Required Evidence to Prove a DUI Less Safe
For you to be convicted of DUI less safe, the prosecutor needs to prove beyond reasonable doubt that:
- You had consumed some drugs or alcohol before or while driving a motor vehicle.
- Drug or alcohol consumption impairs your driving ability, so your driving is deemed “less safe” than it would be without any intoxicating substances.
Additionally, the prosecution will use the results of any field sobriety tests conducted by police officers, such as horizontal gaze nystagmus, walk and turn, one-leg stand, portable breath test, or alco-sensor, as evidence in your case. They will also use the officer’s review of any physical manifestations you may show, such as bloodshot, watery eyes, the odor of an alcoholic beverage, swaying while standing, slurred speech, stumbling while walking, etc.
Nevertheless, it’s important to remember that under the DUI less safe statute, police officers can charge you with a DUI without administering any tests.
DUI Less Safe Penalty in Georgia
Under Georgia DUI law, DUI less safe penalties are not much different from standard DUI penalties. Some of the penalties may include the following:
Potential license suspension for a maximum of one year with no permit
DUI risk reduction school usually includes a minimum course time of at least 20 hours
40 hours of community service for a first offender and 240 hours for a second-time offender
Up to a year of probation in addition to jail time
A minimum of 24 hours in jail
Drug and Alcohol Evaluations plus any recommended treatment
In addition to these penalties, a DUI conviction may result in drivers facing a range of court fees and fines: minimum of $300 – $1,000 fines (not including additional court costs and fees)
If you have been charged with a DUI less safe offense, contact the Chehimi Law office today to speak with an experienced criminal lawyer.
What Happens if You Get 3 DUIs in Georgia?
A third offense DUI in Georgia within ten years makes a conviction a felony. As such, a third DUI offense usually attracts a mandatory minimum 15-day sentence in jail and a minimum fine of $1,000 and no more than $5,000.
You will also face a driver’s license suspension of at least five years if the third offense conviction was within the last five years of the previous offenses.
You will also have to serve up to 30 days of community service and have your name, address, and photo published in the local paper at your own expense.
Other penalties for a third-offense DUI conviction include:
Mandatory clinical evaluations.
Confiscation of license plates.
Installation of an ignition interlock device.
A requirement for enrollment and completion of a substance abuse treatment program.
How to Beat a DUI Less Safe?
If you have been charged with a less safe DUI, your best chance at beating such a charge is to contact a Roswell DUI lawyer.
A DUI conviction in Georgia can have severe consequences, such as a suspended license and a lengthy jail term, so it is always advisable to work with an attorney.
A dependable, compassionate, and experienced Atlanta DUI lawyer is ready to help you. Feel free to contact us today to schedule your initial free consultation about your case.