The Six Different Types of DUI Charges in Georgia
Columbus Ga DUI Lawyer Mark Jones is often asked by clients in Columbus, Georgia about the law concerning driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Georgia.
In Georgia, there are six (6) statutory ways that the State of Georgia can charge you with a DUI offense pursuant to OCGA 40-6-391, Georgia’s Driving Under the Influence statute. Lawyer Mark Jones has already blogged about Six Consequences of a DUI conviction. This blog is about the six ways a person can commit a DUI:
(1) Less Safe Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol:
A person commits the offense of DUI less safe alcohol when that person being in physical control of any moving vehicle drive under the influence of alcohol to the extent it was less safe for that person to to drive. OCGA 40-6-391(a)(1).
Note that there is no requirement that the individual commit an actual unsafe act; rather, the violation of OCGA 40-6-391 occurs when that person drives to the extent it was less safe for that person to drive. See Duren v. State, 252 Ga. App. 257 (2001); see also Susman v. State, 256 Ga. App. 94 (2002).
(2) Less Safe Driving Under the Influence of Drugs:
Driving under the influence of drugs or prescription drugs to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive is another manner of committing DUI in Georgia. OCGA 40-6-391(a)(2).
Concerning prescription drugs, the relevant code section is OCGA 40-6-391(b), which states that a person commits DUI less safe drugs when that person is “rendered incapable of driving safely as a result of using a drug other than alcohol, which such person is legally entitled to use.” It does not matter then that the person has a prescription for the drug that makes him/her less safe to drive. See State v. Kachwalla, 274 Ga. 886 (2002). Further, the “incapable of driving safely” standard is identical to the “less safe to drive” standard as far as the evidence needed to convict. See State v. Johnson, 268 Ga. App. 426 (2004).
(3) Per Se Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol –
Ordinary Drivers: when a person drives a motor vehicle and that person’s alcohol concentration is 0.08 grams or more at any time within three hours after driving, during driving, or after the driving ended. OCGA 40-6-391(a)(5).
Commercial Drivers: the amount of alcohol present for commercial drivers in the blood, breath or urine may not exceed 0.04.
Those Under 21: Those under 21 may not have more than 0.02 grams of alcohol in their blood, breath, or urine under Georgia’s DUI law.
(4) The Combined Influence of Two or More Specific Drugs – if your driving is less safe because you are under the influence of alcohol combined with any other drug, alcohol combined with aerosol or glue, or any drug and glue or aerosol, then the person has committed DUI under OCGA 40-6-391(a)(4), which is the “combined influence” subsection of the DUI statute.
(5) Under the Influence of Glue, Aerosols, or Toxic Vapors
There was apparently a need for a subsection barring glue or aerosol DUIs. Lawyer Mark Jones has never actually seen this particular subsection charged in his career, but that does not mean some solicitor somewhere has not done so. OCGA 40-6-391(a)(3).
(6) Under the Influence of Marijuana or a Controlled Substance Per Se
OCGA 40-6-391(a)(6) provides that a driver cannot drive or be in actual physical control of a motor vehicle when there is any amount of marijuana or a controlled substance as defined in OCGA 16-13-21, Georgia’s Controlled Substances Act. The Georgia Supreme Court in Love v. State, 271 Ga. 398 (1999) struck down OCGA 40-6-391(a)(6) as unconstitutional at least as to marijuana under equal protection grounds due to a lack of relation between legal and illegal marijuana use. However, what the Georgia Supreme Court giveth, the Georgia Court of Appeals taketh away. In Keenum v. State, 248 Ga. App. 474 (2001), the Court held that OCGA 40-6-391(a)(6) was not unconstitutional “as applied to those with a detectable level of cocaine in their system.”
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