What is a Georgia DUI “Less Safe” Charge, and how do I win Against It?
WHAT IS A GEORGIA DUI “LESS SAFE” CHARGE, AND HOW DO I DEFEND AGAINST “LESS SAFE” CHARGES?
“But they don’t have any real evidence that I was DUI.” -DUI Less Safe Client
The quote above is one of the most frequent things that I hear from clients charged with DUI less safe in Georgia. In most Georgia DUI less safe cases, the State/Government/Prosecutor does not have a blood, breath, or urine test result, so they cannot point to a test to say that a person is less safe as result of alcohol or drugs. For many people and, particularly, people charged with DUI less safe, that means that the government does not have any real evidence.
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.
Are you looking for a DUI lawyer that has experience defending DUI less safe drugs charges?
The Sessions Law Firm has been responsible for helping develop the law around the admissibility of evidence in DUI drugs cases. You will be hard-pressed to find a lawyer with more experience challenging DUI drugs less safe charges than Ben Sessions. Many lawyers simply do not have the knowledge or experience needed to challenge DRE expert officers in DUI drugs less safe cases. Not only do we have experienced challenging these officers in pre-trial motions and trials, but we were also responsible for handling one of the most import DRE cases in Georgia before the Georgia Supreme Court – Mitchell v. State.
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