Although DUI is common in Georgia, there are two different ways to be charged with driving under the influence charge: DUI Less Safe and DUI Per Se are two different ways that the state of Georgia can charge you with a DUI, both resulting from alcohol or other illicit drugs while driving.
While still a DUI, the State convictions are completely different.
30 Day Warning
You only have 30 days after being charged with DUI in Georgia to ask for an ALS hearing or to have an ignition interlock device installed on your car. Without requesting a hearing or installing the device within those 30 days, your driver’s license will be automatically suspended for a year. Michael Fulcher Law can help you decide which option is best for your case and assist you with achieving this goal before the 30 days are up
There are fundamentally different elements that need to be proven by the State. In this post, we focus on cases involving alcohol, including DUIs. Find out more about DUI Marijuana, DUI Drugs, or DUI Prescription Drugs by clicking the links.
What is DUI Less Safe
DUI Less Safe is the more traditional of the two types of DUI charges in Georgia. To secure a conviction, the State must prove that
- You were driving
- You have consumed alcohol or drugs and
- As a result of the consumption of those substances, your driving was less safe.
In order to do this, the arresting officer will take note of any field sobriety tests administered, as well as any personal observations made during the arrest. If an officer smells marijuana in the car, for example, that would be considered evidence that your driving was impaired. Or if you fail a field sobriety test, such as walking heel-to-toe in a straight line, that would also be evidence that your driving was impaired.
The “Less safe” means that the driver is less safe to drive as a result of consuming alcohol before or while driving in comparison to not having ingested any drugs or alcohol.
DUI Per Se
DUIs are also commonly referred to as DUI Per Se cases. To secure a conviction in a DUI Per Se case, the State needs to only prove that
- You were driving and
- Your blood alcohol content (BAC) was .08 grams or higher.
If your BAC is .08 or above, you are automatically guilty of DUI Per Se in Georgia, regardless of whether your driving was actually impaired.
How Can the Police Charge You With a DUI If They Have No Evidence That You Are Under the Influence?
If an officer has probable cause to believe that you are driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they can arrest you and charge you with DUI Less Safe. Probable cause can be anything from the officer smelling alcohol on your breath to observing you swerving in and out of your lane.
Once you are arrested, the officer will ask you to submit to a chemical test to determine your BAC. If your BAC is .08 or higher, the officer can then charge you with DUI Per Se. If your BAC is below .08, the officer can still charge you with DUI Less Safe if they have other evidence that your driving was impaired.
It is important to note that you can be charged with both DUI Less Safe and DUI Per Se, but you can only be convicted of one. The prosecutor will decide which charge to pursue, and they will typically go with the charge that they think is more likely to result in a conviction.
DUI Less Safe vs DUI Per Se in Georgia
As you can see, there are some key differences between DUI Less Safe and DUI Per Se in Georgia. If you have been charged with DUI, it is important to understand which type of charge you are facing so that you can prepare an effective defense.
If you have been charged with DUI in Georgia, contact Michael Fulcher Law today. We will review your case and help you determine the best course of action. Call us today at (706) 438-1555 or contact us on our website.