Most of us are aware that you can be charged and convicted for DUI in Georgia if you are driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or greater. That may lead you to believe that you are in the clear if you have only had one or two drinks and you’re pretty sure that your BAC is below that limit. The reality in Georgia is that you can absolutely be charged and convicted for DUI even though your BAC is less than 0.8%
DUI Regardless of Blood Alcohol Content Level
Drivers in Georgia can be charged with what is known as “DUI Less Safe” if they are driving or are in actual physical control of a vehicle “while under the influence of alcohol to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive.” O.C.G.A. § 40-6-391(a)(1). There is no BAC level too low that would automatically preclude a “Less Safe” charge.
DUI Less Safe charges typically occur after a driver has been pulled over for a moving violation such as speeding or an improper lane change, or if there has been an accident. If the officer observes or obtains evidence of impairment, such as an admission of drinking, slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, nervousness, repeating questions or comments, or the odor of alcohol, they can arrest a driver for a Less Safe violation even without a Breathalyzer or chemical test if they believe that the presence of alcohol impaired the driver and led to the moving violation.
The fact that DUI Less Safe convictions are largely based on circumstantial evidence and the testimony of the arresting officer as to the driver’s condition can make the defense of such a charge even more complicated to some degree than a traditional DUI “per se” charge based on chemical or blood tests.
“Less Safe” Does Not Equal Less Serious
Additionally, the “Less Safe” label does not mean less serious consequences upon conviction. A DUI Less Safe conviction can still result in significant fines, the loss of driving privileges, and possible jail time, not to mention increased insurance rates, and damage to your career and reputation.
If you’ve been charged with DUI Less Safe in Georgia, you have no time to waste: if you don’t take quick action within 10 days after your arrest, you will lose your license and your right to drive for one year. DUI Less Safe charges are subject to the same “10-Day Rule” that applies to other DUI convictions. You can read more about the details of the 10-Day Rule and why it is so important to act quickly here.
Given the importance of complying with this quick deadline in order to continue driving, and the consequences of a conviction, it is critical that you contact an experienced Georgia DUI lawyer as soon as possible after you’ve been charged with DUI Less Safe.
Alan Welch: Your Brunswick and Southeast Georgia DUI Defense Lawyer
If you’re facing a DUI charge, give me a call today at (912) 265-9811 for a free consultation. Together, we’ll work to preserve your driving privileges as we develop the best defense strategy for your particular case. I look forward to speaking with you.
This article has been prepared by J. Alan Welch Law for informational purposes only and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to substitute for legal advice from an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.