Georgia's Drugged Driving Law

Learn about the laws and penalties for driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) in Georgia

Georgia’s drugged driving law is located at O.C.G.A. Section 40-6-391 (a). The law states that a person shall not drive or be in actual physical control of any moving vehicle while:

  • Under the influence of any drug to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive;
  • Under the intentional influence of any glue, aerosol, or other toxic vapor to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive;
  • Under the combined influence of any two or more of the substances specified;
  • Subject to the provisions of subsection (b) of this Code section, there is any amount of marijuana or a controlled substance, as defined in Code Section 16-13-21, present in the person’s blood or urine, or both, including the metabolites and derivatives of each or both without regard to whether or not any alcohol is present in the person’s breath or blood.

(b) The fact that any person charged with violating this Code section is or has been legally entitled to use a drug shall not constitute a defense against any charge of violating this Code section; provided, however, that such person shall not be in violation of this Code section unless such person is rendered incapable of driving safely as a result of using a drug other than alcohol which such person is legally entitled to use.

Georgia has what is known as a per se (also known as a “zero tolerance”) prohibition against drugged driving. That means that a driver may be arrested if the police officer has a reasonable suspicion that any prohibited drug (even if it’s just a trace) is in the driver's body while the driver is in control of the vehicle. Actual evidence of impaired driving is not essential as long as the police officer has a reasonable belief that the driver is on something while behind the wheel.

What drugs are prohibited?

Georgia’s drugged driving law is directed at the prohibition of any controlled substance -- that is, any drug or chemical regulated by the government. A listing of controlled substances regulated by federal law are found at the Drug Enforcement Administration website. State law also prohibits impairment based on glue, aerosol or other toxic vapor.

What happens if a driver is convicted of drug impaired driving in Georgia?

A driver arrested for drugged driving in Georgia will be charged with driving under the influence and subject to DUI penalties. A conviction for drugged driving will be considered as a prior offense for purposes of calculating punishment regardless of whether a subsequent offense is due to alcohol or drugs. Read more about Georgia’s DUI laws.

Do Georgia drivers have to submit to drug testing?

Yes, there is an implied consent rule for blood and urine testing. The refusal to take the test can be admitted into evidence against the driver.

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