Buchanan DUI Lawyer
Most people are aware that the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) in Georgia, and most other states, is .08%. If a driver is found to be driving with a BAC at or above this level, the driver can be charged with DUI. However, it is not as well known that a driver can also be charged with DUI even if their BAC is less than 0.08%. This is called DUI Less Safe and is a very serious charge in Georgia. If you or a loved has been charged with DUI less safe or another DUI charge in Buchanan GA, contact our Buchanan DUI Attorneys now.
DUI Less Safe in Buchanan
Under O.C.G.A. § 40-6-391(a)(1), “a person shall not drive or be in actual physical control of any moving vehicle while… under the influence of alcohol to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive.”
The statue does not set out a specific BAC limit that must be met in order for a person to be considered impaired. Instead, law enforcement officers look for signs of impairment to decide if the driver is too intoxicated to be operating the vehicle.
How Do Police Officers Decide if Someone Is Impaired?
There are several methods that a police officer can use in order to determine impairment. One of the first signs to law enforcement that an individual may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol is if the individual is not following the rules of the road. If a person is weaving, speeding, or otherwise fails to obey the traffic laws, then this could be an indication that the person should not be driving. Police officers also look for signs such as slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, or an alcohol odor on the driver's breath.
Another way police officers investigate impairment is through field sobriety tests. The three most common tests include:
- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test: According to NHTSA, a horizontal gaze nystagmus "is an involuntary jerking of the eyes that occurs as the eyes move to the side." During this test, the police officer looks for the presence of these jerking movements in the driver's eyes.
- Walk And Turn Test: Another test that may be used to determine impairment is the walk and turn test. During this test, the driver will be asked to take nine heel to toe steps, then turn around and do the same thing again.
- One Leg Stand: Like the walk and turn test, this field sobriety test is exactly what it sounds like. A driver must stand on one foot for 30 seconds with their arms at their side.
It is important to understand that things other than impairment may make these tests difficult for an individual to perform or cause an individual to fail. For example, a nystagmus can occur naturally in some people. Likewise, a person who is elderly or overweight may have difficulty performing the walk and turn test or the one leg stand. In addition, a field sobriety test may be invalid if it was not administered correctly by the law enforcement officer. Environmental conditions, such as bad lighting, hills, or rain, can also have an impact on the test result.
Does DUI Less Safe Apply to Drugs?
Under O.C.G.A. 40-6-391(a)(2), “a person shall not drive or be in actual physical control of any moving vehicle while . . . under the influence of any drug to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive.” Even if the drugs are legally prescribed, a person can still be charged with a DUI if they are not operating their motor vehicle in a safe manner.
If you have been charged with DUI less safe drugs, our Buchanan DUI Lawyers are here to help.
Penalty for DUI Less Safe Conviction
A first DUI is a misdemeanor offense in Georgia. The penalties that may be imposed for a conviction can include a fine ranging from $300 to $1,000 and a maximum penalty of up to a year in jail. Other penalties may include community service, attending a DUI program, and a clinical evaluation. In addition to these criminal penalties, a conviction of driving under the influence can result in that driver's license being suspended for up to one year.
Buchanan Municipal Court
Buchanan Municipal Court has jurisdiction over city ordinance violations, traffic offenses, and other misdemeanors, including DUI and shoplifting, that occur within Buchanan city limits. Buchanan Municipal Court is held at 4300 Georgia Highway 120, Buchanan, Georgia 30113. Evan Stapler is the Municipal Court Judge, and Betty Darlene Smith is the Clerk of Court. Call 770. 646. 5246 for further information.
Contact Our DUI Attorneys in Buchanan Today
Contact us today if you or a loved one has been charged with DUI less safe. With over 25 years of experience, our Buchanan DUI Lawyers know what it takes to be successful. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.