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The Basics of DUI DWI in Georgia

A DWI and a DUI in Georgia are the same thing. A DWI means driving while intoxicated, while a DUI means driving under the influence. More often, you will hear the term DUI used to describe the law that bans driving while drunk.

If you are charged with drinking and driving, you will want to educate yourself about the basics of Georgia DWI laws. In addition, you should set up consultations with Georgia DUI attorneys. Having a lawyer is key if you wish to attempt to reduce your sentence in court.

What is DUI in Georgia?

There is more than one type of DUI in Georgia. According to the law, you can be charged with either DUI per se or less safe driver violations.

DUI per se means that you had an illegal blood-alcohol level at the time of your arrest. In Georgia, you are guilty of committing DUI per se if your blood-alcohol level is .08 percent or above. If you are a minor, then you may be charged under Georgia's zero-tolerance laws if your blood-alcohol level is .02 or above. If you are operating a commercial vehicle in Georgia and your blood-alcohol level is .04 percent or above, you will be charged with a per se DUI.

Less safe driver violations mean that you were under the influence of alcohol to the extent that it made you a less safe driver. You do not have to have a blood-alcohol level of .08 percent to be convicted of being a less safe driver. At trial, the arresting officer will likely testify as to your behavior and physicality at the time of the stop. This may include:

  • If your eyes were bloodshot
  • If you smelled like alcohol
  • If your speech was slurred
  • If you couldn't keep your balance
  • If you were driving erratically

Refusing Breathalyzer Tests in Georgia

There are multiple ways a police officer may test your blood-alcohol level to determine if you have committed DUI in Georgia. One common method used is the breathalyzer test.

The breathalyzer test uses a device called a breathalyzer that, when blown into, can detect trace amounts of alcohol in the person's breath. The mechanism than provides an estimate of the person's blood-alcohol content based on their breath.

Georgia, like many states, has what is known as an implied consent law. This law means that as a licensed driver it is implied you consent to alcohol and drug testing if you are suspected of driving drunk.

Although you may refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test, this may cause you to suffer severe consequences, including the suspension of your license for days or even months.

Expungement of DUI in Georgia

Expungement is the term given to legally destroying or sealing someone's criminal records. The point of expungement is to allow someone to hide a criminal conviction. You may want to expunge a conviction on your criminal record for the purposes of an employment background check, admission to a university, or for a background check conducted by a government agency.

Unfortunately, Georgia, like many other states, does not allow DUI records to be expunged.

If you have additional questions about laws regarding DUI in Georgia, a Georgia DUI lawyer can explain the significance and possible penalties that are associated with each type of charge.