Can I Get a DUI if I Drive High?
If you drive under the influence of drugs in Georgia, could you be arrested for a DUI?
Georgia follows the same laws as other states in that DUI charges are not solely limited to driving under the influence of alcohol. You could be charged with a DUI if you have traces of drugs in your system. You could be charged with “DUI-Drugs” for driving under the influence of drugs, and this includes marijuana. The law does not necessarily distinguish if you were presently high or not since marijuana can show up in your bloodstream for more than a month after you have ingested it or smoked it. This means you could be charged incorrectly in some cases.
In “DUI-Alcohol” cases, a person is presumed to be under the influence of alcohol if his or her blood alcohol level is over 0.08. In DUI-Drugs cases, there is no quantitative “legal limit” that indicates whether a person is under the influence. Rather, the necessary question is whether an individual is under the influence of a narcotic to the extent that they are a less safe driver. Additionally, you could be arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence of any drug, even ones prescribed to you, to the extent that the drug makes you a “less safe” driver. If you are pulled over under suspicion of driving under the influence, and you refuse to take a blood, breath, or urine test, you could have your license suspended for up to one year. This is because having a driver’s license in Georgia is considered to be a contract with the state. If the officer reads you the implied consent notice and you refuse, then it is like a breach of contract.
If your driver’s license has been suspended, you can request an administrative license hearing to contest the suspension, however, you have a short window of time after you are arrested in which to request an administrative license hearing. Additionally, if it is your first offense within the last five years, you may be able to apply to have an interlock device installed on your vehicle’s ignition. Do not wait to contact a Norcross DUI attorney who can help.
DUI Less Safe
You could be charged with something called DUI “less safe” if you are under the influence of drugs and it has impaired your driving ability, making you a “less safe” driver. When you are charged with DUI drugs “less safe”, the Georgia prosecutor does not have to prove that you had a particular amount of drugs in your system. Instead, he or she can use physical signs of impairment as evidence, including:
- Your admission of drug use
- Evidence of drugs in your vehicle
- Slurred speech
- Erratic driving
- Bloodshot eyes
- Constricted or dilated pupils
It is important to understand that under Georgia law you may be convicted of DUI drugs even if you are driving under the influence of a legally prescribed narcotic. The only way you will be convicted in this case, however, is if you were deemed unable to safely drive your vehicle due to the particular drug prescribed to you.
Penalties for DUI Drugs
The penalties in Georgia will vary based on the type of DUI charges. In some cases, a DUI drug charge is a misdemeanor and can result in incarceration of up to 12 months maximum and a $1,000 fine. You may receive 12 months of probation, be mandated to attend a DUI risk reduction class, complete 40 hours of community service, and receive a clinical drug and alcohol evaluation. It is also possible that your driver’s license will be suspended for 180 days, and you will not be eligible for a limited driving permit during those 180 days. However, depending on the circumstances of your arrest, limited permits may be available.
Contact a Norcross DUI Attorney
Have you been charged with a drug-related DUI offense? Contact Zimmerman & Associates today to schedule a free initial consultation and learn how we can help.