Georgia DUI Drugs vs. DUI Alcohol
Driving under the influence is the vernacular for DUI in GA. Other states, like TX, NY, and NC call driving under the influence “DWI” (which stands for driving while impaired). The most commonly used acronym is “DUI.” In Georgia, DUI can mean for DUI-alcohol, DUI-drugs, DUI-noxious vapors or DUI-combination of impairing substances. Drunk driving or drugged driving can also be used to describe driving while intoxicated. In Georgia, ANYTHING that can impair your ability to drive is prohibited, and merely having a prescription for drugs or medications found in your system does not give you a “pass.” The quantity of what you have “onboard” at the time of driving is the issue.
Alcohol is — far and away — the number one impairing DRUG. The legal limit for alcohol content in GA for drivers age 21 and over is 0.080 grams percent. For drivers under age 21, the legal limit is 0.020 BAC level, and for a commercial vehicle, CDL drivers are held to a 0.040 BAC level as their legal limit for DUI. The numbers here are provided in three digits because Georgia’s breath testing device is programmed to produce 3-digit readings. Georgia legislation was enacted decades ago, when breath readings were two-digit, and no one has seen fit to modify or correct this lingering anomaly.
Drugs other than alcohol, which are prescribed to a person, but which lead to a DUI arrest and criminal accusation, grows more each year. The reasons for this are many, including physicians overprescribing psychoactive drugs, better drug detection by police officers due to additional training such as ARIDE or DTR/DRE training courses, and a general tendency of most Americans to think that they are entitled to drive after taking powerful prescribed drugs even when they have consumed a drink or two.
All prescription drugs have medically-recognized “therapeutic levels,” and a range of recognized scientific quantitative values. So, taking more than the recommended dose, or mixing any prescribed drugs or over-the-counter drugs with alcohol (which IS A DRUG) can get you arrested. Many prescribed drugs for pain relief, sleep inducement, and other medical conditions have potentially lethal doses when too much is taken. Even caffeine has a lethal level.
Additionally, (despite recent changes in limited use of medical marijuana for some people with medical conditions, and general laws in a few states about personal use of marijuana) marijuana users forget cannabis in any form for drivers of vehicles in Georgia is a direct trip to jail. This is a zero tolerance policy. Cheech and Chong would be sitting under the jail in Georgia for marijuana possession and use, in light of the unyielding intolerance for any marijuana use and later driving a vehicle.
Of course, the long list of illegal drugs like marijuana, molly (or other “designer” drugs), cocaine, methamphetamine, crack or heroin cannot be in your bloodstream and you then drive. Impairment is not even an issue if you are found with these illegal substances in your blood. Plus, since most of these types of drugs are not water soluble, the traces of the drugs or the drug’s metabolites remains in your bloodstream for days or even a week or longer.
Other legal challenges may be able to be made by a skilled criminal defense attorney about WHEN the drugs got into your system or HOW the drugs got into your system, but the Legislature has passed a law that says it cannot be in your system and drive. PERIOD.
Also, while drinking too much alcohol or ingesting contraband drugs are clearly prohibited by Georgia DUI laws, legitimately prescribed or over-the counter medications can also get you in trouble. If the medications affect your ability to drive, (and a lot of them do), you could be arrested.
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