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Georgia Drivers Can Be Arrested for DUI without Exceeding Blood Alcohol Limits

According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 2,597 people were killed in United States traffic accidents in December 2010. Of those, 775 deaths involved alcohol-impaired drivers. A 2006 study by the NHTSA estimated that there is one drunk driving fatality in the United States every 30 minutes.


Georgia's Driving Under the Influence Laws are complex. Clayton County DUI injury attorney Shane Smith can sort through the intermingled laws that potentially create complications in a DUI case.


Georgia has a zero tolerance law for underage drinking and driving. Though the illegal blood alcohol content (BAC) for drivers over 21 years old is 0.08 percent, drivers under 21 can be charged with DUI with a BAC of 0.02 percent. Teen drivers can be charged with DUI in a minor accident if a chemical test indicates that they have a small amount of alcohol in their system. 

According to Georgia law, officers can arrest drivers who have been drinking even if the driver's BAC is within the legal limit. Police must believe that the driver is not capable of operating a vehicle safely or could be dangerous on the road.


A University of Georgia student was recently arrested after an officer observed her driving over the fog line multiple times. The arrest report indicated that the officer could smell alcohol when he approached the vehicle.


The 21-year-old student initially told the officer that she had not been drinking but had been on her cell phone while she was driving. She complied with an alcohol breath test that registered a BAC of 0.07 percent. Upon learning of the test results the driver said she had one beer before driving. She failed several field sobriety tests and was arrested. The officer indicated on the arrest report that he felt it was unsafe for the woman to be driving. Upon arriving at the police station the woman had a BAC of 0.044 percent.


If you have questions about Georgia DUI laws, get the answers in Clayton County DUI injury attorney Shane Smith's book, I Was Hit By a Drunk Driver: What Do I Do Next? Contact the Law Offices of Shane Smith to schedule a free legal consultation.

Shane Smith
Advocate for the Seriously Injured in Georgia