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Georgia DUI Law Summary: DUI Less Safe vs. DUI Per Se

Provided by HG.org

In order to be convicted of DUI, the prosecution must prove that you were driving or in actual physical control of a moving vehicle. In DUI cases, the burden is on the State to show that the arresting officer had a reasonable suspicion for stopping or detaining the vehicle. There are different ways of committing DUI: DUI less safe and DUI per se. Let’s examine the difference between the two.

DUI Less Safe

DUI less safe means that the arresting law enforcement officer had reason to believe that you were driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol and, therefore, was a less safe driver. In other words, the State must prove that you were incapable of driving safely. Prosecutors do not have to show evidence – via breath, blood, or urine test – that you were under the influence of alcohol. They must simply prove that your behavior – whether it was through driving erratically, slurred speech, or having the odor of alcohol – indicated that you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

DUI Per Se

Under DUI per se, you will be convicted if the judge or jury believes the State’s report on your blood, breath, or urine test. Simply put, if your blood alcohol content level (BAC) is above legal limits, you will be convicted. The BAC per se limit is .08 for individuals 21 years of age and older. For people under 21, the BAC per se limit is .02. For drivers of commercial vehicles, the per se limit is .04.
Remember, prosecutors do not have to prove that your driving ability was impaired. They only have to show proof that your BAC was above the legal limit.

DUI Penalties

Penalties for DUI convictions are serious. They range from fees and possible jail time for first and second offenders to administrative license suspension and even mandatory jail time for habitual offenders.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.

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