What is the Difference Between A DUI Less Safe and A DUI Per Se?

What is the Difference Between A DUI Less Safe and A DUI Per Se?
A man holding the gearshift while an empty glass bottle is beside it.

Most people know that they can be charged with a DUI if their blood alcohol level is above 0.08 percent. This is called a per se DUI charge and it also applies if controlled substances were detected in your blood. However, it is not the only type of DUI on the statute books in Georgia. There is also what is known as a DUI less safe.

Regardless of whether you used drugs, alcohol, or an inhalant, you can face a DUI charge if you’re deemed impaired. The prosecution doesn’t have to prove that you had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) that was more than 0.08 percent. As long as it can be established that your ability to drive safely was reduced, you can find yourself before the court.

In addition, if you are under 21 years old and your BAC is more than 0.2 percent, you could face a DUI less safe charge.  That’s because people under 21 should not be drinking at all. Meanwhile, commercial drivers who have a BAC of more than 0.4 percent are also breaking the law.

If you drive on Georgia’s roads, you need to know the law. If you find yourself facing DUI charges, you need to reach out to one of the best DUI lawyers in Atlanta. Whether the police charge you with DUI less safe or DUI per se, it is a serious charge and you need to have legal counsel. There’s a lot at stake when you’re facing a DUI charge.

A man holding the gearshift while an empty glass bottle is beside it.

What Happens When You Face A DUI Charge or Conviction in Georgia

Drivers in Georgia can face harsh punishments upon conviction including jail time and heavy fines. However, even if you’re just suspected of being impaired, police will arrest you and take you to jail. That arrest will stay on your record forever. Furthermore, it won’t matter whether your BAC was above 0.08 percent or not. Any amount of alcohol or drug use could result in arrest and conviction if you choose to drive. However, if you mount a strong defense against the charges, you may be able to prove that you’re not guilty. DUI cases can be quite nuanced. You may still be able to avoid conviction or the harshest penalties.

The prosecution has to show that you were under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance. One way to do this is with chemical testing. However, police officers can also rely on their observations. After they pull you over, they will look for signs of intoxication like bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, confusion, or the smell of alcohol. If you fumble when reaching for your license and proof of registration or admit to having a drink, they will use this against you.

It’s important to note that mere signs of intoxication aren’t enough for a conviction. There needs to be evidence that you were too impaired to drive. If you ran a red light or failed to stay in your lane, this could indicate impairment when paired with other factors.  Officers often administer the standardized field sobriety to drivers who they suspect are impaired. These are the walk-and-turn, one-leg stand, and horizontal gaze nystagmus tests. Your performance will help the officer to determine whether there is probable cause for arrest. Keep in mind that field sobriety tests can be subjective and they are voluntary so you can decline to take them. Furthermore, you can fail a test even if you’re sober. Advanced age, medical conditions, and even body weight can make it difficult to perform the tests as instructed. Environmental conditions can also affect your performance. However, if you consent to the tests, your attorney may be able to challenge the results.

Get Help from Howard & Arca DUI Lawyers

Whether you are facing charges of DUI less safe or DUI per se, you need to hire a lawyer. You’ll face the same consequences regardless of which charge is on your arrest record. Regardless of what you may have heard, the courts won’t automatically go easy on you if it’s your first offense. You could be sentenced to jail time if you don’t have an attorney fighting on your behalf. That’s why you should reach out to an experienced Atlanta DUI attorney as soon as you can after your arrest. You will have just a short time between your arrest and your first court appearance. Contact Howard & Arca DUI Lawyers today to get the advice and representation you deserve. Your freedom, livelihood, and reputation are at stake.

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