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Atlanta Criminal Defense Lawyers > Blog > DUI > Can I Be Charged With DUI For A Substance Other Than Alcohol?

Can I Be Charged With DUI For A Substance Other Than Alcohol?


Many times when we think of “DUI” we think of “drunk driving,” but in reality, drivers can be under the influence of far more than alcohol. In Georgia, any substance that impairs your ability to drive or makes you a less safe driver than you would be without it, can result in a DUI charge thanks to Georgia’s “Less Safe” standard. In fact, the police may not even be required to prove what drug you were on or that you had taken anything illegal to arrest you, provided they witnessed you driving in a less-safe manner. Even CBD (which is legal in Georgia, provided its THC level is below .03%), over-the-counter cold medicine, and many legal prescriptions can result in a DUI if they impair your ability to drive.

What is the “Less Safe” Standard?

O.C.G.A. § 40-6-391(a)(1) essentially states that a driver can be convicted of DUI where the ingestion of alcohol or drugs causes a driver to be “less safe” to drive than they would be without having ingested them. In theory, this means that a person can have a drink or two if they are just as safe a driver as they would be without any alcohol in their system at all. Under this statute, it also means that erratic driving can be de facto evidence of impaired driving. That’s right, there are three ways to prove a Less Safe DUI, and one of them is direct evidence of erratic driving. Another way to prove a Less Safe DUI is with circumstantial evidence that someone was under the influence of drugs and alcohol obtained by performing field sobriety tests. The Third way involves assessing a driver’s demeanor for any circumstantial evidence of intoxication or drug use, such as the smell of alcohol or marijuana on the driver’s person. This is significant, because if any of these three requirements are met, it is enough to be convicted of DUI. This is true even if your BAC was below .08.

How a Lawyer Can Help

If you have been charged with a Less Safe DUI, the chances are that the evidence against you is highly subjective and open to being challenged. The best thing that you can do is hire an experienced DUI attorney to review the facts and circumstances of your case and determine any possible bases for dismissal, as well as any defenses. Mike Hawkins is Board Certified in DUI Defense as recognized by the American Bar Association.  Your attorney may also be able to negotiate a plea to a less serious offense. The sooner you contact an attorney, the more they will be able to do to help your case.

Schedule a Consultation with Hawkins Spizman Trial Lawyers

If you are facing DUI charges in Atlanta, Dunwoody, Alpharetta, Cobb County, Fulton County, Gwinnett County, Johns Creek, Sandy Springs, or the greater Georgia area, you do not have to navigate the process alone. Hawkins Spizman Trial Lawyers are here to zealously advocate on your behalf and fight for the best possible outcome in your case. Call our DeKalb County DUI attorneys today to schedule your free consultation.

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