Understanding Drugged Driving Laws in Georgia

Georgia law defines DUI as not only driving under the influence of alcohol but also driving under the influence of drugs. In Georgia, a person is guilty of a DUI if driving under the influence of any drug to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive. If a person operates a motor vehicle with any amount of marijuana or a controlled substance in the person’s body, they can also be found guilty of a DUI.

If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident involving drugged driving, you may find it helpful to talk to an experienced Marietta personal injury lawyer.

Driving Under the Influence With Marijuana

According to Georgia code § 40-6-391, the fact that a person is legally entitled to use a drug does not constitute a defense. In Georgia Code § 40-6-391 (a) (6), a person is guilty of a DUI if found driving where this is any amount of controlled substance present in the person’s body. This includes metabolites and derivatives. 

According to a review of Georgia Drugged Driving laws, cannabis metabolites can be detected in a person’s body up to one month after use. The review mentions the possibility that this type of DUI could apply to convictions for weeks after a person last ingested cannabis.

In the case Cronan v. State 511 S.E.2d899, “marijuana” is defined as expressly including cannabis metabolites. This allows for prosecution of DUI marijuana based on the presence of THC in the urine. However, a defendant cannot be convicted of possession of marijuana when testing positive for THC.

Penalties for Drugged Driving In Georgia

Penalties for offenses increase dramatically with each DUI. An offender may be convicted and sentenced for multiple counts, such as driving under the influence of drugs as well as driving with drug metabolites. 

  • The first offense carries a fine ranging from $300 to $1000 plus fees. Mandatory incarceration is 24 hours but may be 10 days to 12 months. Mandatory community service of 40 hours, probation for 12 months, and mandatory participation in a risk reduction program, with associated fees.
  • The second offense carries a fee of $600-$1000 plus fees. Incarceration is mandatory for 72 hours and may extend from 90 days to 12 months. In addition to mandatory 30 days community service, 12 months probation, and a 20-hour risk reduction program, license suspension of three years, without limited driving privileges for 12 months. The offender’s photo is published in a local paper, and a judge may order an ignition interlock device.
  • The third offense includes fines of $1000 to $5,000 plus fees. Incarceration is mandatory for 15 days and may extend to 120 days to 12 months. License revocation is for five years, and penalties are similar to those for the second offense.
  • Fourth and subsequent offenses are as abovebut more stringent. The offense can be considered a felony, incarceration is mandatory for 90 days but may be not less than one year or more than five years. The offender’s vehicle is subject to seizure. At least 60 days of community service are required, in addition to similar requirements similar to the third offense.

Zero Tolerance for Drugged Driving in Georgia

Zero tolerance is the policy for drugged driving in the Peachtree state. This applies to cannabis, cannabis metabolites, and other controlled substances. If you have been in an incident involving drugged driving, you are not alone. It may help provide peace of mind to discuss your situation with an attorney to evaluate your legal options.

Contact Information