"Less safe" DUI more common during the holidays

"Less safe" DUI more common during the holidays
Published: May. 26, 2014 at 11:45 AM EDT
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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - While many are excited to spend their long Memorial Day weekend with their family, friends, and enjoy good food, DUI is a big problem that people need to watch out for during the holiday weekend.

Al Barber from Barber's Driving School says he sees an increase in the number of people who seek his help for a less safe DUI.

"Many people are often confused about less safe," Barber said. "They often think the penalties might be different from a "per se" DUI, but they both have the same outcome and punishment. In Georgia, there are three different substances that we can get a DUI charge for: driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs or inhalants. Other states might call it DWI which stands for driving while intoxicated. However, we have a title called Drivers with Ability Impaired by Alcohol, Drugs or Other Vapor specifically in the state of Georgia under the code of 40-6-391."

Barber explained that a "per se" DUI is when the alcohol level of the driver is greater or higher than the legal limit, which is 0.08. A "less safe" DUI is when the driver is less safe to drive as a result of taking drugs or drinking alcohol.

"Less safe can be tested or proven in various ways," Barber said. "It's usually coupled with evidence of sporadic driving, reckless driving, high speed driving or with the wreck or vehicle collision. If a driver gets into one of these situations, it would be hard for the prosecution to prove that the alcohol wasn't a contributing factor in that accident…even if the driver was charged with 0.02 or 0.03."

If charged with DUI, drivers can face many difficulties.

"First of all, a DUI charge never leaves your record," Barber said. "If you are charged with DUI, you arrest going to jail. This will always be on your permanent arrest record. A less safe DUI gives you the same penalties and outcomes of per se. The charge itself will never leave your record. So getting a job might be hard, if the company looks at your driver's record. Your car insurance could go up too."

The best solution to avoid this problem and the headache is to simply not drive after you drink.

"Don't be in control of a motor vehicle while you have any kind of alcohol in your system," Barber said. "We're not just talking about cars. We are talking about your lawn mower and other motor vehicles. Be careful and do not operate any kind of vehicles on the public highways, sidewalks or roadways because you can get charged with DUI if you have been drinking."

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