WHAT IS A GEORGIA DUI “LESS SAFE” CHARGE, AND HOW DO I DEFEND AGAINST “LESS SAFE” CHARGES?
A DUI less safe charge in Georgia is one of the confusing charges that people face. Most people that come into my office have no idea what the charge means. Georgia DUI law provides 4 different provisions that are the basis for DUI “less safe” charges:
(a) A person shall not drive or be in actual physical control of any moving vehicle while:
(1) Under the influence of alcohol to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive;
(2) Under the influence of any drug to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive;
(3) Under the intentional influence of any glue, aerosol, or other toxic vapor to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive;
(4) Under the combined influence of any two or more of the substances specified in paragraphs (1) through (3) of this subsection to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive….
What does “less safe” mean in Georgia DUI law?
In order for a judge or jury to find beyond a reasonable doubt that a person is guilty of DUI to the extent that he or she is a less safe driver, the judge or jury must find that the driver is so affected by alcohol or another substance to a degree which renders the driver incapable of driving safely. Atkins v. State, 175 Ga.App. 470, 333 S.E.2d 441 (1985).
What evidence do our Georgia DUI lawyers use in evaluating the strength of a DUI less safe charge?
When Georgia DUI lawyer Ben Sessions evaluates the strength of the state's DUI less safe charge pending against a client, he looks closely at the following:
- The client's operation of the vehicle (driving, stop, and parking);
- The normal observations expected to be seen in a person who may be impaired by alcohol (speech, eye appearance, manual dexterity, exit from the vehicle, walk to the rear of the vehicle, etc.);
- Performance on field sobriety tests; and
- The results of the state-administered chemical test or refusal of the state-administered test.
In many DUI cases, pre-trial hearings and the trial are dominated by a focus upon the chemical test result (whether it is a blood, breath, or urine test). However, it is essential to recognize the critical nature of the remainder of the state's case/evidence. The DUI less safe charge is no less important to the DUI defendant. As we often tell jurors in closing arguments, an acquittal upon the DUI per se charge and simply “throwing the state a bone” by convicting the Defendant of the DUI less safe charge does the Defendant absolutely no good. This type of “split the baby” verdict will have the same lasting effect upon a Defendant's life and future. In Georgia, a DUI, whether it is a DUI per se or a DUI less safe, is a DUI.
If you have questions about a Georgia DUI charge, contact the DUI defense attorneys at The Sessions Law Firm.
CONTACT THE SESSIONS LAW FIRM AT (470) 225-7710