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Georgia DUI Less Safe and DUI Per Se – What’s the Difference?

DUI Less Safe – Georgia DUI – Difference Between Less Safe DUI and Per Se DUI

By William C. Head, Atlanta DUI Attorney

Alternative ways to convict for DUI alcohol

Georgia has two primary types laws related to driving while intoxicated, or DUI alcohol. These two laws offer a prosecutor alternative ways to try to convict a drinking driver who has taken the state-administered test and blown over the legal limit, and other drunk driving suspects who either refused breath testing, or had a numeric result below the applicable legal limit. (Georgia DUI laws call for underage drivers to be held to a 0.020 grams percent breath alcohol content reading, commercial drivers (of big rig trucks and school buses) to be no more than 0.040 grams percent, and all other drives, age 21 and over at the time of arrest, to be 0.080 grams or more, to be DUI per se in this State.)

DUI Less Safe – DUI Per Se – Alcohol

The two categories of drunk driving from alcohol in Georgia are referred to as DUI per se and DUI less safe. DUI less safe can be proven by other evidence of impairment, such as the driver’s mannerisms or manifestations, like unsteadiness of the person while standing, slurred speech, and other similar attributes. In DUI refusal cases, and cases that have had pre-trial motions leading to suppression of the breath alcohol test (or even a blood alcohol test), the prosecutor seeks to convict on the remaining “circumstantial” evidence of being too drunk to drive.

What is DUI per se?

DUI per se is the standard based on a certain level of alcohol in the blood (or breath) via an approved forensic method of quantitation. This is sometimes called “the BAC level.”  If a prosecutor can demonstrate that the driver had a per se level of alcohol in the driver’s blood, from test results obtained on an approved Intoxilyzer 9000 device, with all of its part attached and in good working order, within 3 hours of driving ending, the prosecutor has presented a prima facie DUI per se case.

What is DUI less safe?

The most common type of DUI alcohol charge in Georgia is DUI less safe. This is because it can be accused even when no forensic breath or blood result is available. For a DUI less safe charge to be successful, the government lawyer must show that the accused driver was “less safe to drive” by virtue of whatever alcohol he or she consumed. Since the majority of Americans drink alcohol, and have driven after drinking, such jurors are more skeptical of such “opinion” evidence than a teetotaler.

A DUI less safe can be based entirely on opinion testimony

So, while a traffic citation for DUI alcohol less safe can be written by any Georgia law enforcement officer who smells alcohol on a driver’s breath, the scant amount of credible evidence of IMPAIRMENT by alcohol is only available after many more questions and possible field sobriety tests.

Thus, this opinion evidence is highly subjective, and it can also be easier for a skilled DUI attorney to obtain an acquittal based on the speculative nature of the DUI case.  Prosecutors have greater difficulty carrying their burden of proof since it may be harder to show a jury proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused driver was unsafe to drive, by virtue of ingesting too much alcohol, especially where the driver exercised the Constitutional right to remain silent.

Another type of DUI less safe: DUI drugs less safe

GA DUI laws also have a DUI drugs “less safe” category of “impaired driving”, but that impairing substance is more complex, and is covered elsewhere on this website. Each type of DUI in Georgia, even a first DUI offense, will give you a DUI conviction on your permanent record if you lose the case. License suspension issues and collateral DUI consequences, such as entitlements like the Hope Scholarships, may be adversely impacted with a drugged driving conviction, but the lifelong DUI criminal history will remain on your record forever.

Call Atlanta DUI attorney Bubba Head and get more helpful FREE information than from ANY other Georgia law firm. Our job is to help you find a way to avoid a DUI that stays on your record forever! Call him at 1-888-DUI-HEAD [1-888-384-4323] or email bubba@bubbahead.com to start a thorough review of proven ways to win your case. For 40 years, he has been able to deliver such results to more clients than any other drunk driving attorney in Georgia.

Can my DUI lawyer tell me how does a DUI affect employment? Yes, we can. Some current employers may let you go when they learn you got a DUI. At the very least it will be hard to explain why you did not show up for work while you were in jail.

To get in touch with a top Georgia DUI lawyer, please complete our online case evaluation form now to set up a free initial consultation.

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