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When can Georgia charge someone with drugged driving?

On Behalf of | Mar 12, 2024 | Drug Crimes

A significant portion of driving under the influence (DUI) infractions in Georgia involve alcohol. Most motorists are familiar with alcohol-related impaired driving rules. They know that if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) goes above 0.08% or if they demonstrate obvious impairment while driving, then police officers might arrest them.

Fewer drivers really understand the state’s approach to drugged driving offenses. Many different drugs can affect someone’s ability to drive safely. Most prohibited or recreational drugs could negatively affect someone’s safety at the wheel. There are also many prescription medications and even over-the-counter drugs that could make someone drowsy, affect their decision-making ability or increase their overall reaction times in traffic.

When can police officers arrest people for drugged driving DUI offenses in Georgia?

When drivers display reduced ability

The most common reason that police officers pull someone over for a suspected drugged driving incident is poor performance on the road. If a driver shows clear signs of impairment, a police officer may perform a targeted traffic stop. During that traffic stop, they could potentially obtain the probable cause they need to arrest a driver.

When drivers admit their use

Police officers often start asking very pointed questions during traffic stops, including questions about someone’s recreational or medicinal use of medications. If someone admits to taking certain medications, they may feel like their honesty is beneficial. What they may not understand is that there isn’t any legal limit for medications that could affect their driving ability. Unlike alcohol, where there is a threshold that someone needs to exceed for an arrest to occur in most cases, there is no such limit for drugs.

Any amount of recreational drugs, prescription medication or over-the-counter treatments known to affect driving ability can be enough to warrant an arrest. Even if someone has taken the same medication for years and knows that they can drive safely while using it, the state might still pursue charges against them for drugged driving.

The penalties possible in a drugged driving case include probation, license suspension, fines and incarceration. The defense options available may differ from alcohol-based DUI cases. Discussing the situation that led to a drugged driving DUI arrest with a skilled legal team may help someone determine the best option for a defense strategy.