Most people are aware that the legal limit for a DUI is a .08 blood alcohol content (BAC). However, many people are unaware that in Georgia, you can still be charged with a DUI even if your BAC is below this legal limit. Georgia has separated DUIs into a few distinct categories. Among the most common ways to be charged with a DUI in Georgia is DUI per Se and DUI Less Safe.
DUI Per Se applies to individuals who are arrested while driving with a BAC of 0.08 or more. In these scenarios, the individual had their blood alcohol measured after they were arrested. However, many Georgia residents are also charged with DUIs under DUI Less Safe laws. In these situations, individuals face DUI charges despite having BACs under the legal limit.
If you are facing DUI charges in Georgia despite having a BAC lower than 0.08, it’s important to take legal action. Working with a skilled DUI defense lawyer is the best way to minimize the consequences of a DUI and ensure a favorable outcome for your case. Here is some important information to know about Georgia’s Less Safe Law.
What to Know About Georgia’s Less Safe Law
Georgia’s Less Safe law allows individuals with BACs below 0.08 to face criminal DUI charges. In fact, if your BAC is within .05-.07 you could be prosecuted for a DUI. While this may seem surprising, this law is commonly used to prosecute drivers in Georgia.
In order to prosecute a driver under Georgia’s Less Safe Law, an officer will still need probable cause for pulling you over. This means that an officer must have observed you driving in a strange manner—such as straddling lanes or driving through a light—in order to legally pull you over. In addition, after they pull you over, they must observe behaviors that would classify you as a “less safe” driver. Some of these behaviors include:
- Inability to speak and stand properly
- Flushed face and bloodshot eyes
- The smell of alcohol on your breath or clothes
- A failed sobriety test
If you exhibit these behaviors you can be legally arrested for driving under the influence in Georgia—even if your BAC test returns a concentration under the legal limit. In DUI cases under Georgia’s Less Safe laws, the prosecution relies heavily on the police officer’s probable cause for pulling you over, along with their report of your behavior when they pulled you over.
Because the factors the prosecution relies on are less straightforward, there can be room for a strong defense for your case. For example, your lawyer could assert that your allergies were the cause of your appearance. Additionally, they can examine the police report and call to question the police officer’s reason for pulling you over. Ultimately, working with a skilled criminal defense attorney is the best way to mitigate the potential consequences of a DUI conviction.
What Are the Penalties of a DUI Under the Legal Limit in Georgia?
If you are convicted of a DUI with a BAC below the legal limit, you are still subject to the same penalties associated with a DUI over the legal limit. Some of these consequences include;
- Jail time
- License suspension
- Substance abuse counseling
- Court-ordered community service
- A permanent criminal record
These are just a few of the consequences you may face for a DUI conviction under Georgia’s Less Safe law. The best way to reduce the penalties you may face is to work with a skilled Georgia DUI defense lawyer.
Contact the Criminal Defense Attorneys at Tony Blair
It can be extremely frustrating to face DUI charges when your BAC was under the legal limit. If you are facing criminal charges for a DUI under Georgia’s Less Safe law, the best thing you can do is hire a criminal defense attorney. At Tony L. Blair, P.C, we are dedicated to making sure you understand the options you have and the choices you are making. Our team of highly skilled legal professionals has been representing Georgia residents for over 30 years and has the expertise needed to ensure a favorable outcome in your case.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime in Georgia, contact our team or call us at (770) 788-2227 for help and guidance with your case.