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Drug DUI Charges In Vidalia, GA

Any type of DUI charge is serious, however, drug DUIs in Georgia are a serious offense, with prosecution extended beyond the typical alcohol-related charge. From illegal substances to over-the-counter medicines, any degree of impairment can lead to significant legal consequences and hefty fines. Our Vidalia drug DUI lawyer has extensive experience representing those facing DUI charges. If you’ve been charged with driving while under the influence of drugs, we’ll fight on your behalf every step of the way. Contact Downie Law, LLC today for a free consultation and to learn more about how we can help.

Georgia’s DUI Laws as They Relate to Prescription Drugs

Georgia’s DUI laws clearly state that you can receive a DUI while operating under the influence of prescription drugs.

  • They are under the influence of any drug to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive, or
  • They are 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.

In essence, if the medication you have been prescribed impairs your thought or behavior to a degree that it is not safe for you to drive while under the influence, then driving on this drug can lead you to be charged with DUI. Even more so should one combine their prescription with any form of alcohol such as wine before getting behind the wheel; they would still be liable and face possible charges associated with Driving Under Influence.

Testing For The Presence Of Illegal Drugs

If the police suspect you of driving under the influence or drug use, they will have to take you in for a blood test and/or urine sample. Unlike a blood test that only reveals recent use, your kidneys concentrate and filter waste products from substances taken into your body, leaving detectable traces of drugs longer in your urine than in other bodily fluids. This means illegal drug ingestion can be detected long after it has been consumed through a simple urinalysis.

If the State chooses to examine your urine sample closely, drugs you may have taken in prior months can cause a positive result on your test. The most typical form of drug screening involves dipping a strip into your urine and is easy enough for law enforcement officers to do anywhere. Illegal substances like marijuana, amphetamines, narcotics, and barbiturates are capable of staying in your system for up to weeks after being exposed! By sending a urine sample to a crime lab, police can accurately detect even the slightest traces of illicit substances in your system for up to several months.

DUI Less Safe

Comparable to a DUI for alcohol, you could be charged with a DUI less safe if drugs are impairing your ability to drive in such a way that it is not safe for you. This applies under O.C.G.A §40-6-391(a)(2). Even if the chemical test is refused by the accused, it may still be possible for them to get convicted of a DUI less safe charge nonetheless – showing just how serious this crime can be!

If you are facing charges for DUI Drugs less safe, the prosecutor does not need to establish a specific level of drugs in your system. Instead, they can rely on evidence that suggests impairment such as:

  • Erratic driving
  • Bloodshot eyes or dilated or constricted pupils
  • Slurred speech
  • Any admission of drug use
  • Evidence of drugs in your vehicle 

It Is Not A Defense To Have A Legal Prescription For The Drug

Despite having a valid prescription, Georgia law will still deem you guilty of DUI Drugs with one proviso: that your ability to drive safely was impaired due to the prescribed medication. If not, then there cannot be a conviction for this DUI offense.

DUI Combination Of Drugs & Alcohol

According to O.C.G.A §40-6-391(a)(4), it is illegal for anyone to drive a motor vehicle if they are under the influence of two or more substances that render them incapable and unsafe on the roadways.

An example of the perfect storm in a DUI situation is if Bob were stopped by an officer while driving drunk and they detected marijuana, along with an open container of liquor sitting on his seat. This could lead to him being charged with three separate violations – DUIs related to alcohol consumption, drug use, as well as combined alcohol and drug usage. Although he may be convicted for all three charges at once, he can only receive one sentence from the court system.

Penalties For Drug-Related DUI Charges In Georgia

In Georgia, the legal consequences for driving under the influence of drugs are almost identical to those related to alcohol-induced DUI. Although there are some differences between them, you should be aware that both have a “look back” period – 10 years if we’re talking about criminal penalties, and 5 years in terms of driver’s license restrictions. This refers specifically to subsequent convictions; if you get a second one within five years from your first offense then it will be considered as such by law enforcement authorities when dealing with driver’s license issues.

First Drug DUI Offense:

  • Up to 12 months in the county jail, with part of that time spent on probation.
  • Fines range from $300-$1,000
  • 40 hours of community service work
  • License suspensions for a period of 180 days

Second Drug DUI Offense:

  • Up to 12 months in the county jail, with part of that time spent on probation.
  • Fines range from $600-$1,000
  • 30 days of community service.
  • License suspensions for up to a year

Additional Penalty Information

  • During their probationary period, the defendant must pay a supervision fee and will be closely monitored by their probation officer to ensure that all terms of their sentence are satisfactorily fulfilled.
  • In order to have the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS) reinstate their license, individuals must attend and complete a 20-hour DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program which costs over $350. It is an essential requirement for obtaining one’s license again.
  • Individuals must further participate in a clinical evaluation for alcohol or drug dependency. If the clinical evaluator determines that they need treatment, they’ll have to complete the recommended number of counseling sessions as part of their sentence.
  • Unfortunately, no early reinstatement or limited driving permits are available to those convicted of drug DUI. Second DUI offenders will face a hard suspension on their license for 12 months with no exceptions. However, if the offender enters an alternative sentencing program such as DUI Court or Drug Court, they may be eligible for a restricted permit instead.

Contact Our Vidalia Drug DUI Lawyer Today

Don’t delay if you’re confronting a drug-related DUI charge in Georgia. Contact our experienced Vidalia drug DUI lawyer right away. At Downie Law, LLC we can aid in your case, advocating for reduced penalties whether the charges are related to Drugs Less-Safe or Per Se Drug-DUI. Allow us to take on your drugged DUI situation and fight aggressively for justice. Contact our office today for a free consultation and to learn more about how we can help you fight the case!