What is the penalty for driving while under the influence of marijuana in Georgia?
Drug use has skyrocketed in recent years. A recent survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration revealed that more than 30.5 million Americans used drugs in the past month. Drug use has further become the leading cause of disability in the U.S. Drugs have become a part of American culture, and the over-prescription of addictive drugs by medical professionals has created another category of prescription drug users. In an effort to crack down on drugs and keep roadways safe, the state of Georgia has passed laws calling for the harsh punishment of drivers who are under the influence of drugs. Our Atlanta drug DUI lawyers discuss the penalties for drugged DUI convictions below.
O.C.G.A. § 40-6-391
Georgia statute O.C.G.A. § 40-6-391 makes it unlawful to drive under the influence of any drugs if it renders it less safe for the person to drive. The statute further makes it illegal to drive under the influence of a combination of substances, such as drugs and alcohol, to the extent it makes it less safe to drive. Under subsection b, the statute explains that it is not a defense that the drug was legally prescribed if the person was rendered incapable of safe driving as a result of the drugs.
Drugged DUI charges present some challenges to defend against because officers are given broad discretion as to what constitutes “under the influence.” Whereas blood alcohol levels can be readily quantified, in drug DUI cases there is no legal limit that will determine whether you are under the influence.
Penalties for Drugged Driving
A first offense for drugged driving will result in at least 24 hours of jail time. You will further be fined at a minimum of $300 and be placed on 12 months of probation. You will need to complete 40 hours of community service, along with DUI education courses. These are the bare minimum penalties, and many jurisdictions will enforce harsher penalties. Additionally, your driver’s license may be suspended for up to a year.
If you are arrested for another DUI within 10 years, you must be held in jail for a minimum of 72 hours and pay a fine of at least $600. You will be on probation for 12 months and must complete community service, DUI school, and potentially drug and alcohol treatment. Your license will be suspended and you cannot receive a work permit. Given the harsh consequences of a drugged DUI charge, you should contact a DUI attorney as soon as possible after your arrest for assistance with your case.