If someone were to ask you to define a drunk driving offense in Georgia, you likely would respond with an answer of someone driving with a blood-alcohol content over .08. That is the assumption that many have when they come to us here at Daniels & Rothman, P.C. Yet that is not always the case.
Indeed, Georgia law differentiates between “DUI” and “DUI Per Se.” Understanding the difference between the two may be the key to answering to the legal system should you come under criminal scrutiny for driving under the influence.
Breaking down Georgia’s DUI laws
Specifically referring to driving under the influence, Section 40-6-391 of Georgia’s Motor Vehicles and Traffic Code states any of the following qualifies as a DUI offense:
- Driving while impaired by alcohol
- Driving while impaired by a controlled substance
- Driving while impaired by intoxicating vapors
- Driving under the influence of any combination of the aforementioned substances
- Registering a BAC measurement over .08 within three hours of driving
- Failing a blood or urine test for marijuana or another controlled substance
For the first three criteria, the standard for charging you with DUI is for your perceived impairment to be greater than that which is safe for you to drive. It is this standard which distinguishes “DUI from “DUI Per Se.”
Challenging DUI charges
“DUI Per Se” is when you register a BAC measurement over .08. A “DUI” charge is when authorities still prosecute you for drunk driving when they perceive you to be drunk (despite not having a BAC measurement demonstrating this). Your perceived impairment may be open to interpretation, giving you grounds to potentially challenge a DUI charge. Prosecutors might cite a failed field sobriety test as proof of your intoxication, but the validity of such test may be debatable.
You can find more information on responding to DUI charges throughout our site.