Drunk driving in Georgia can lead to an array of criminal charges depending on factors such as your blood-alcohol concentration (BAC), your age (if under 21), any prior offenses and whether an injury crash occurred. In this way, there are far more than two types of DUI charges.
But in terms of securing a conviction for any given DUI, there are two avenues that prosecutors can take, which we’ll discuss in today’s post.
‘Per Se’ Convictions
The legal limit for blood-alcohol content in Georgia is 0.08 percent. If you are at or above this BAC, you are considered to be DUI per se. The phrase per se is Latin for “by itself” or intrinsically. In simpler terms, if the test results accurately show that you have a BAC at or above 0.08 percent, you are automatically presumed to be legally intoxicated and the prosecution may not need other evidence to secure a conviction.
Fighting a per se DUI conviction is possible, but typically only if you can refute or cast doubt on the accuracy of the test results. This is something to discuss with your criminal defense attorney.
Driving ‘Under the Influence’
BAC results are not the only factor in a DUI charge or conviction. In fact, you can be convicted of DUI even if you had a BAC below 0.08 percent. It is not as straightforward as a per se conviction, however. It requires prosecutors to demonstrate that you were impaired by alcohol or drugs (or both) to the point where you were unable to safety operate your vehicle.
The evidence often comes in the form of field sobriety test results and sworn testimony from the officer about your driving behaviors. If you had been swerving a lot and later failed field sobriety tests, for instance, these pieces of evidence would likely be used to try and convict you (even if breath tests showed a BAC below the legal limit).
An Experienced Attorney Can Help
Drunk driving charges are serious, whether they are standard DUI charges or per se charges. But before you decide that you are out of options and need to plead guilty, discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney.