The legal limit for driving under the influence (DUI) in Georgia is .08% blood alcohol concentration (BAC). This means that
any driver who submits to a breath or blood test and registers a BAC of
.08% or above can be charged with DUI. This law is known as DUI per se.
In the state of Georgia, however, DUIs can also arise in another way.
Drivers who register a BAC below .08%, for instance, may still face criminal
prosecution under Georgia's less safe DUI law.
The basis of a DUI less safe is that any amount of alcohol can cause impairment.
Alcohol impairment, as established by numerous scientific studies, can
negatively impact an individual's driving in a number of ways by slowing
reaction time, causing reckless or unsafe driving behaviors, and reducing
a driver's ability to respond to potential hazards, among other factors.
As such, law enforcement officers throughout the state have the ability
to arrest and charge a driver if they believe that alcohol has impaired
their ability to drive. This means that even if a motorist's BAC is
still below the legal limit of .08%, a law enforcement officer has the
right to use their discretion to determine if their being under the influence
causes the individual to drive less safely.
Recently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) –
a subsidiary of the U.S. Department of Transportation – and other
anti-DUI organizations are pushing for states across the country to lower
the legal limit to .05% BAC. This is directly related to scientific evidence
that any amount of alcohol can impair one's physical and mental abilities.
Additionally, many countries throughout the world enforce DUI laws with
BAC limits lower than .08%. Although this push for a lower BAC limit has
met considerable opposition, and while it is still far from becoming law,
it does illustrate the fact that individuals can drive less safely with
any amount of alcohol in their system.
As any amount of alcohol can result in less safe driving behaviors, Georgia
law defines driving under the influence in several ways. Aside from driving
under the influence of drugs and driving with a BAC of .08% or higher,
Georgia law also states that being incapable of driving safely is legally
the same as driving under the influence of alcohol to the extent that
it is less safe for the person to drive. Cases in which a driver is arrested
and charged with a DUI with a BAC below .08% present a number of legal
difficulties. In particular, these cases entail a considerable amount
of subjectivity, especially when it comes to the arresting officer's
interpretation of a motorist's driving ability. An officer who witnesses
a driver swerving, for example, can still legally arrest and charge the
individual under Georgia's less safe DUI law.
In order to convict drivers under the DUI less safe law, there must be
sufficient evidence and observation of a driver's inability to safely
operate a motor vehicle. As these factors can become complex and difficult
to present or dispute, it is essential that anyone facing DUI less safe
allegations work with an experienced Atlanta DUI attorney. Courts will
view the arresting officer's report carefully for signs that a driver
was impaired, but these factors can be effectively challenged by a skilled
and seasoned attorney. If you or a loved one has been arrested for driving
under the influence with a BAC below .08%, it is essential that you bring
your case to the attention of the Law Offices of Howard J. Weintraub as
soon as possible. Learn more about your charge, the potential penalties
you may face, and how our firm's legal team can be of assistance.
Contact an Atlanta DUI lawyer today.