Posted by Jim Yeargan in Atlanta DUI Law on May 26, 2015
What Does DUI Mean?
What does DUI mean? Literally it means “Driving Under the Influence.” If you have been charged with a DUI it means the police officer who stopped you believes that you were less safe to operate a motor vehicle based on the amount of alcohol or drugs in your system, or that you were legally intoxicated.
In Georgia, there are 6 ways you can be charged with a DUI. O.C.G.A. 40-6-391 is the Georgia DUI statute, and it states:
§ 40-6-391 – Driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other intoxicating substances; penalties; publication of notice of conviction for persons convicted for second time; endangering a child
O.C.G.A. 40-6-391 (2010)
40-6-391. Driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other intoxicating substances; penalties; publication of notice of conviction for persons convicted for the second time; endangering a child
(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;
(3) 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;
(4) Under the combined influence of any two or more of the substances specified in paragraphs (1) through (3) of this subsection to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive;
(5) The person’s alcohol concentration is 0.08 grams or more at any time within three hours after such driving or being in actual physical control from alcohol consumed before such driving or being in actual physical control ended; or
(6) Subject to the provisions of subsection (b) of this Code section, there is any amount of marijuana or a controlled substance, as defined in Code Section 16-13-21, present in the person’s blood or urine, or both, including the metabolites and derivatives of each or both without regard to whether or not any alcohol is present in the person’s breath or blood.
The full statute may be found here.
Some people arrested for DUI will only face one DUI charge while some people will face multiple charges. Despite the number of charges the individual is only facing one DUI case. The 2 most common DUI charges are O.C.G.A. 40-6-391(a)(1) Less Safe and O.C.G.A. 40-3-391(a)(5) per se.
O.C.G.A. 40-6-391(a)(1) Less Safe
This charge means the officer believes the driver is less safe to operate a motor vehicle. This charge is written when an individual refuses the breath/blood/chemical test, or the results of a breath/blood test are below 0.08 grams. This charge is also brought as a “catch all” when a driver submits to the chemical test.
This way if the prosecution cannot proceed with the results of the chemical test they may proceed on the general “less safe” charge. To prove this charge the prosecution will rely heavily on the suspect’s driving manifestations, performance on field sobriety tests, and other manifestations of intoxication since they don’t have a chemical test to prove the driver was intoxicated.
O.C.G.A. 40-6-391(a)(5) Per Se
This charge is brought when a driver blows 0.08 grams or higher on the state breath test. Remember, the state breath test is different from the handheld breathalyzer given on the side of the road. To learn more about the difference between these two tests watch my short video here.
The DUI Per Se charge means the driver is legally intoxicated since their breath test result was 0.08 grams or higher. Whether the driver feels intoxicated is irrelevant. Even if the driver feels perfectly normal he is presumed legally intoxicated.
O.C.G.A. 40-6-391 The Other Charges
The other 4 ways of charging someone with a DUI in Georgia involve drugs, inhalants, marijuana, alcohol, or a combination thereof. While these charges are not as common as the Less Safe and Per Se charges they are gaining momentum with the proliferation of illegal and prescription drugs in today’s society.
Each DUI charge has its own set of unique strategies and defenses. If you have been charged with a DUI make sure you hire an attorney who specializes in DUI cases. Do not hire an attorney who merely “handles” DUI cases for the money.
Our DUI Lawyers in Atlanta offer free consultations for those looking to fight DUI charges.