Drugged Driving In Georgia
Often when we think of DUIs, we think of drivers under the influence of alcohol. However, DUIs are not limited to alcohol, they also include drugs (even prescription drugs) that impair the person’s ability to drive safely to any degree. Unlike alcohol, which is legal in a person’s system up to a certain level (.08 in most cases), a person can be charged with DUI for driving with any amount of marijuana or controlled substances in their system. Georgia therefore essentially has a zero tolerance policy for drugged driving. It carries a minimum sentence of 24 hours in prison, up to a year for a first offense, with sentences increasing based on prior convictions and other aggravating circumstances.
Earlier this week, a driver who caused multiple hit-and-run crashes, causing traffic on Ga. 400 to come to a chaotic halt, has been arrested and charged with DUI. Police said that the 19-year-old driver had marijuana in his system when he was taken into police custody. According to police, the teenager is responsible for at least three wrecks in their jurisdiction, but believe he may also be responsible for other wrecks that occurred on Ga. 400 around the same time that fall under other county’s jurisdictions. Police responded after receiving calls from dozens of drivers on Ga. 400 reporting the hit and runs and the driver was arrested shortly after. Thankfully, no injuries have been reported in connection with the accidents.
As noted above, a first-time DUI is generally a misdemeanor, carrying a sentence of 24 hours to one year in prison, a fine of $300-$1000, and a number of other requirements, including completion of a risk reduction program, probation, and community service. A second DUI is also a misdemeanor and carries a sentence of 72 hours to twelve months, a fine of $600 – $1000, mandatory alcohol and drug treatment, license suspension of three years, probation, community service, and additional requirements. A third offense becomes significantly more serious, being upgraded to a high and aggravated misdemeanor and carrying a sentence of 15 days to three years in jail, a fine of $1,000 -$5,000, license suspension for five years, drug and alcohol treatment, and more, including having your photo published in the newspaper. A fourth offense becomes a felony and requires 1 – 5 years in prison, and, in addition to the requirements above, your vehicle may be subject to seizure.
There are certain aggravating factors that can make even a first-time DUI offense a felony. These include causing serious harm to another person while driving under the influence, endangering a child by driving with a child under the age of 14 in your car, and, as noted above, being charged with 4 DUIs in ten years.
Consult with a Georgia DUI Lawyer
If you are facing a DUI charge, the best thing you can do is hire a DeKalb County DUI lawyer. Hawkins Spizman Trial Attorneys can work to ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive the best possible outcome. If you have been charged with a DUI in Atlanta, Dunwoody, Alpharetta, Cobb County, Fulton County, Gwinnett County, Johns Creek, Sandy Springs, or any other area of Georgia, call Hawkins Spizman and schedule your free consultation today.