Georgia Drug DUI Attorney
Fighting to Avoid Criminal and Driver’s License Penalties
If you are facing charges of driving under the influence of drugs (DUI drugs) in Georgia, you could be facing serious criminal penalties, as well as suspension of your driver’s license. You have a right to a defense against these charges, and an experienced attorney can help.
I am George McCranie IV, an experienced Coffee County drug DUI lawyer serving clients throughout southeast Georgia. I understand what the prosecutors need to prove in order to convict you of DUI drugs, and I am prepared to hold them accountable in court if necessary.
Defending Clients Against Illegal and Prescription Drug DUI Charges
In Georgia, driving under the influence is considered the same offense, with the same penalties, whether you are accused of driving with illegal or prescription drugs or alcohol in your system. The DUI laws also make no distinction between illegal drugs and legally obtained prescription drugs.
However, while alcohol has a defined blood alcohol content — .08 — above which you are presumed unable to drive safely, there is no cutoff point for illegal or prescription drugs.
Therefore, in order to convict you of DUI drugs, the prosecutors need to prove not only that you had drugs in your system, but also that you were driving unsafely. Furthermore, they have to prove that your unsafe driving was a result of the effects of the drugs in your system.
Of course, if law enforcement finds marijuana, cocaine or other illegal drugs in your car, you may face charges of drug possession in addition to DUI. As an experienced criminal defense lawyer and former prosecutor, I am fully prepared to defend you against both charges. I also assist clients with other state and federal drug-related charges involving possession, distribution, and manufacturing.
An Overview of Georgia Drugged Driving Laws
Georgia takes drugged driving very seriously and imposes significant penalties on those convicted of DUI drugs. However, there are several ways prosecutors can approach drug-related DUI charges. Below, George McCranie explains common DUI drugs charges and their penalties.
DUI Less Safe
Unlike alcohol-related DUI charges, there isn’t a single test that assesses your ability to safely drive after drug use. With alcohol, the police and courts focus on blood-alcohol concentration (BAC). However, different drugs metabolize very differently. For this reason, Georgia law considers you to be under the influence of drugs if they made you “less safe” to drive.
Unfortunately, law enforcement can rely on relatively subjective signs of impairment when investigating a suspected drugged driver. They might arrest you based solely on your:
- admitted drug use,
- personal appearance,
- driving behaviors, and
- field sobriety test performance.
Per Se DUI Drugs
If you take a chemical drug test and it comes back “positive,” you might face charges for per se DUI drugs. Under Georgia law, any amount of drug metabolites within your system can result in criminal charges. This means that if your blood or urine test comes out positive for any illegal drug, including marijuana, you can face criminal charges.
There is an exception for those drugs a physician or doctor lawfully prescribes. In those cases, the prosecutor must show that your medication use made you “incapable of driving safely.” Due to changes in the law, DUI drugs charges are most common in DUI cases involving hard drugs like heroin and cocaine.
DUI Drugs in Combination
Polysubstance use is particularly hazardous on the roads. Studies show that when substances like marijuana and alcohol interact, they can dramatically impact your driving abilities. For this reason, if the authorities find evidence of both alcohol and drug substance impairment, you will face charges of DUI drugs in combination. While the prosecutor can charge you with multiple DUI crimes involving drugs and alcohol, they will be merged for sentencing purposes.
DUI Drugs Convictions Involve Severe Penalties
While DUI drugs convictions are typically misdemeanors, they can involve significant jail time, community service requirements, and fines. A DUI drugs involves the same type of criminal penalties as a alcohol-related DUI, including:
- Up to one year in jail for a first DUI drugs conviction
- Up to five years in jail for certain repeat offenders
- Community service hours
- Drug and alcohol counseling and rehabilitation
- Loss of your driver’s license
- Mandatory installation of an alcohol-interlock ignition device on your vehicle
- Fines and court costs
However, prosecutors and judges have broad discretion over DUI drugs sentencing. When you work with a skilled drug DUI attorney, it’s sometimes possible to arrange a favorable plea deal that takes your unique circumstances into account.
Without the right lawyer, you can face life-altering consequences. In addition to the stigma of a criminal conviction, DUI drugs charges can impact your professional and personal life in profound ways. Thankfully, we want to help you regain control of the situation.
For a personalized assessment of your case, contact the George McCranie Law Firm today. We’ll schedule a free and confidential initial appointment with our experienced drug DUI lawyer. George McCranie is one of Georgia’s preeminent DUI defense attorneys and previously served as a prosecutor. To learn about his aggressive and practical approach to DUI defense, please contact my office.
What If I Was Arrested for Using a Prescribed or Legal Substance?
Generally speaking, it’s not a defense that you obtained a drug or medication legally. If you’re unsafe to drive can get behind the wheel, you can face criminal charges. However, drugged driving law is a quickly developing area in Georgia. At the George McCranie Law Firm, we do our best to stay at the forefront of DUI drugs law. We carefully monitor Georgia court decisions and legislation.
For example, there have been challenges to Georgia’s laws that impose different thresholds on marijuana users who use medically-prescribed cannabis and Xanax rather those who use it for illegal or recreational purposes. If you have questions about the most up-to-date DUI drugs laws, contact a drug DUI at the George McCranie Law Firm today.
Brunswick Attorney · Driving Under the Influence of Drugs · 912-384-2889
If you are facing drug DUI charges, you need to act quickly to have a fair chance of preserving your driver’s privileges and avoiding a conviction. The George McCranie Law Firm would love to hear your side of the story and help you fight back. To schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case, please contact my office at 912-384-2889 or by e-mail.