What’s a “Less Safe” DUI in Georgia? Are Some DUIs “More Safe?”
A long time ago lawmakers figured out something about drunk driving: different people respond to alcohol differently. The legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit of .08 is the standard of intoxication, but some people are not able to handle a car at much lower levels.
Many motorists like to think that just because their BAC is below the .08 legal limit, they can’t arrested for DUI. The fact is, if you’re impaired by alcohol, you can be arrested for DUI, no matter what your BAC level is.
Some states make the distinction by using different abbreviations, such as DUI, DWI (driving while intoxicated), DWAI (driving while ability impaired), and the like.
Georgia uses the term “less safe DUI.” This just means that the driver is less safe to drive because he or she has taken alcohol or drugs. The BAC level is not the issue: safety is.
Proving “Less Safe DUI”
It’s easy to prove a standard, or per se, DUI: just fire up the breathalyzer or draw blood and do an analysis. A “less safe DUI” is a different matter. To obtain a conviction, the prosecution must prove that the alcohol or drugs the driver consumed contributed to the DUI. Such proof can be obtained: a crash, a failed sobriety test, or proof of speeding will work. If a witness attests that the defendant was driving erratically, that will work to bring about a “less safe DUI” conviction.
Proving “less safe DUI” might be harder than producing a BAC over .08, but if you’re convicted, the penalties are the same. In Georgia, that includes a fine of at least $300 and possibly $1,000, and possible jail time. An ignition interlock, a device which prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking, is not required. However, many DUI offenders in the state can apply to have their license suspension waived by installing an ignition interlock.
For more information about “less safe DUI” and per se DUI in Georgia, please consult an attorney. But if you don’t currently have a DUI of either type, the best way to avoid needing to learn the distinction is not to drink and drive.