The manufacture and use of alcoholic beverages has been a staple of many parts of U.S. culture since the founding of the nation. Even the decade or so of ‘Prohibition’ is best known for the creative and illegal ways many people attempted to procure drinks, even leading to a modern trend of so-called ‘speak-easies.’ In the 1970’s and 1980’s, however, U.S. culture and society began to more closely examine the social costs of drivers who had been drinking alcohol, and government and law responded with more stringent, and more carefully enforced, laws against such behavior.
As with most criminal law, restrictions on drunk driving are state-based. In Georgia, there are a couple ways one can run afoul of the law with regard to drinking and driving. The first is being stopped by a law enforcement officer who determines that the driver is under the influence of alcohol and that has rendered his or her driving less safe. In cases like this, a driver could be charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI), sometimes also called DUI ‘less safe.’
There is another type of charge that can result from such a stop, however, called DUI ‘per se.’ This just means that one’s blood alcohol content (BAC) is high enough to presume that one’s driving is less safe, even if there was no accident and no one witnessed any specific behavior by the driver in question. In Georgia, the BAC level necessary for a charge of DUI per se is .08 for non-commercial adult drivers.
Conviction for drunk driving can lead to serious consequences, including jail time, probation, community service requirements, costly alcohol education courses, and suspension of a person’s driver’s license. In some cases it may also lead to an ignition interlock device being placed on an individual’s vehicle. It should be noted that simply testing above .08 BAC is not a conviction for drunk driving. The state must still make its case in court and prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. There may be ways to defend against such charges, and protect one’s legal rights even if one has failed a DUI test.