Georgia has very strict DUI laws, and not all of them are very precise. In fact, most people think that you can only be charged with driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol if you blow over 0.08% blood alcohol content (BAC). That is simply not true.
Under Georgia's "DUI Less Safe" statute, a person can be convicted of DUI even when his or her BAC is under the "legal limit." Don't let that phrase fool you. In Georgia, even a BAC of 0.04% can result in your arrest if the arresting officer finds that you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
If you or someone you care for has been arrested for DUI Less Safe, an experienced Forsyth County DUI attorney is here to defend your case.
What is DUI Less Safe?
The DUI Less Safe statute is found at O.C.G.A. § 40-6-391(a)(1). It states that:
(a) A person shall not drive or be in actual physical control of any moving vehicle while:
(1) Under the influence of alcohol to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive;
(2) Under the influence of any drug to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive.
DUI Less Safe is far less accurate a charge than an actual breath or blood test and leaves open the possibility that you could be charged with a crime based purely upon a Georgia law enforcement officer's opinion of your ability to drive.
How is DUI Less Safe Proven?
The Georgia prosecutor is required to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol in such a way that it "adversely affected" your ability to drive. It is not enough for the prosecutor to prove that you drank an alcoholic beverage and then chose to drive. There must be evidence that your driving was negatively affected in some way.
Evidence of DUI Less Safe
DUI Less Safe evidence is based primarily on the arresting officer's observations of your driving and your demeanor during your arrest. Officer's typically look for
- Unsafe driving,
- Inability to maintain lane,
- Bloodshot eyes,
- Slurred speech,
- Fumbling with keys or other handheld objects,
- Inability to stand,
- Lack of balance and coordination, and
- Odor of alcohol or drugs on your person or in the car.
Officers will also use field sobriety tests. These include the walk and turn test, one-leg stand, and horizontal gaze nystagmus test.
These tests are designed to look for many of the indicators listed above. However, many of the tests return false positives. When your BAC is less than 0.08% and an inaccurate field sobriety test is used, you could face criminal charges when you were perfectly able to drive.
Consult a Forsyth County DUI Attorney
DUI Less Safe is an inaccurate and often unfair charge that accuses you of criminal activity where none exists. Just because you are arrested does not mean that you are guilty.