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DUI and drug charges in Georgia: When traffic and drug laws converge

On Behalf of | Jan 17, 2024 | Drunk Driving |

Driving under the influence (DUI) in Georgia is a serious offense that encompasses not only alcohol impairment but also driving while under the influence of drugs.

Understanding the intersection of traffic and drug laws is crucial for drivers in Georgia. This blog will explore the legal implications of driving under the influence of drugs, including prescription medications and illegal substances.

DUI drug laws

According to state law, it’s illegal for persons to drive or have actual physical control of a moving motor vehicle while under the influence of any drug to the extent that it’s less safe for the person to drive. The law also prohibits persons under the combined influence of alcohol and drugs to operate a motor vehicle.

This definition might sound like it only applies to illicit substances such as cocaine, heroin, LSD and meth. However, the law specifies that any drug that can impair driving ability can lead to a DUI charge. This means prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications such as antihistamines, decongestants, muscle relaxants, antidepressants, opioids and even cough syrups that have sedative effects can trigger charges.

Testing and evidence

If a police officer pulls you over for a suspected DUI, they’ll still have to test whether you’re intoxicated due to drugs or alcohol. Officers may use a variety of tests to determine drug-based impairment, such as field sobriety tests and chemical tests.

Unlike alcohol DUIs, where drivers must have a blood alcohol or breath level of .08% to face charges, officers can charge drivers for drug DUI for any amount of controlled substances or drugs in their system.

Keep in mind that Georgia has an implied consent law; by driving on state roads, you automatically give consent to blood, breath and urine chemical tests if arrested for DUI. If you refuse to submit to chemical testing, it can lead to an immediate license suspension, separate from the criminal penalties you face for a DUI.

The penalties for a drug DUI include fines, jail time, community service, and mandatory DUI school.

In Georgia, driving under the influence of drugs can carry severe consequences that affect your freedom, finances, and future. If you are facing DUI drug charges, it is imperative to seek legal advice to understand your rights and the defenses available to you.