There are two ways motorists in Georgia can violate the state’s laws regarding driving under the influence. The first way a DUI charge can happen is an officer observes a driver and makes the determination that he or she is under the influence of alcohol. The second type is commonly referred to as DUI “Per Se.” This happens when chemical testing shows a blood-alcohol content of 0.08 or more.
Georgia law permits arresting a driver for suspicion of drunk driving if the officer perceives signs the driver is impaired. In this case, the prosecutor would have to prove both that the driver consumed alcohol before operating the motor vehicle and that drinking made it unsafe for him or her to drive a car. The prosecution can try to prove this in the absence of a 0.08 BAC.
The second way a DUI arrest happens is when BAC exceeds the legal limit. There is room to fight this arrest, but a blood alcohol content above the legal limit often spells trouble for a defendant.
Individuals arrested for DUI in Georgia will need to deal both with the criminal case and the possibility of having their license suspended. The criminal court system will oversee the criminal case. The license suspension comes under the jurisdiction of the Georgia Department of Driver Services. It may help defendants to know that the two proceedings are completely independent, and one will not have any effect on the other.
Criminal court proceedings for DUI defendants can result in fines, jail time and public service. The DDS will only determine what happens with the status of the defendant’s driver’s license. Penalties are harsher for repeat offenders and drunk drivers with BACs significantly higher than the legal limit.
A DUI arrest can result in serious consequences for a defendant. In some cases, a strong criminal defense is necessary to minimize legal penalties. A criminal defense attorney can present the best chance for a DUI suspect to protect their rights in court.