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Proving Impaired Driving

The prosecution is very vigorous in their approach when proving impaired driving in Atlanta DUI cases. They are looking at trying to get a conviction in each case. But sometimes within the city, a person may be able to work out a non-DUI resolution like a reckless driving charge, if possible. A determined DUI attorney will be just as vigorous when defending you against Atlanta DUI charges.

Ways to Violate the DUI Statute

When proving impaired driving in Atlanta DUI cases, the prosecutor needs to prove that the person was under the influence of alcohol to the extent that they were less safe or that the person had an alcohol level above the per se limit. One of the six different ways that they can violate the DUI statute is:

Less Safe Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol

A person commits the offense of DUI less safe alcohol when that person is in physical control of any moving vehicle and driving under the influence of alcohol to the extent it was less safe for that person to drive.

Note that there is no requirement that the individual commits an actual unsafe act; rather, the violation of the statute occurs when that person drives to the extent it was less safe for that person to drive.

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.

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 them less safe to drive. Further, the “incapable of driving safely” standard is identical to the “less safe to drive” standard as far as the evidence needed to convict.

Per Se Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol

If a prosecutor is proving impaired driving in Atlanta DUI cases, blood alcohol levels can be instrumental in strengthening their argument. When a person over the age of 21 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, they are driving under the influence of alcohol.

For commercial drivers, the amount of alcohol present for commercial drivers in the blood, breath, or urine may not exceed 0.04. Those under 21 may not have more than 0.02 grams of alcohol in their blood, breath, or urine under Georgia’s DUI law.

Combined Influence of Two or More Specific Drugs

If a person’s driving is less safe because they 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.

Under the Influence of Glue, Aerosols, or Toxic Vapors

There was apparently a need for a subsection barring glue or aerosol DUIs.

Under the Influence of Marijuana or a Controlled Substance Per Se

The statute 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 Georgia’s Controlled Substances Act. The Georgia Supreme Court in Love v. State 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,  in Keenum v. State, 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.”

These are the six ways that a person can violate the DUI statute. When proving impaired driving in Atlanta DUI cases, the prosecutor would need to prove those beyond a reasonable doubt.

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