The Meaning of Per Se DUI Laws

DUI Laws: Per Se Intoxication

The Meaning of Per Se DUI Laws

When someone is arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI), the state’s per se intoxication law may apply. Per se intoxication laws state that if a driver is stopped by the police for suspected impaired driving and has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher, that will be enough evidence to establish that the driver is intoxicated.

What this means is that the prosecution will only need to show that an individual had at least a BAC of 0.08% to get a conviction. If the police officer did not perform any field sobriety tests or take any other measures to establish intoxication, those facts will be irrelevant for prosecution under the per se intoxication law.

However, it is possible for any driver to be charged with DUI, absent evidence of per se intoxication. In many states, a driver can be convicted of DUI driving while impaired, regardless of whether their BAC was .08% or not.

In most cases, the arresting officer must provide evidence of impaired driving to the court.

For instance, visible swerving or blowing through stop signs, and/or the slurring of words, or failing field sobriety tests would generally suffice.

The DUI per se laws also do not address when someone is driving under the influence of illegal drugs. This can be more difficult to prove. However, some states do have separate per se intoxication laws addressing driving while under the influence of illegal drugs. The states vary in whether these laws set an intoxication limit or employ a zero tolerance policy.

Also keep in mind that any person under the legal drinking age of 21 years old cannot have any alcohol in their system while driving in any state. This zero tolerance DUI policy applies to all underage drivers, and makes even a trace amount of alcohol in the bloodstream illegal.

How were Per Se Intoxication Laws Created?

Though DUI per se laws may seem arbitrary, it was through the lobbying efforts of Mothers Against Drunk Driving and scientific opinion to develop a standard of safety. These efforts considered the BAC level that would classify a driver as being under the influence. 

Originally, scientific opinion was that a BAC level of 0.10% should be considered under the influence. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration lowered that level to 0.08%. All states have adopted the 0.08% limit as a condition made by the federal government to receive federal transportation aid.

What Factors are Considered in Issuing Penalties for Per Se DUI Charges?

After being convicted for a per se DUI, the defendant will be sentenced and face penalties with any other type of DUI charge.

While all states have a DUI per se law, they differ in the range of penalties that a driver would receive for a DUI conviction.

Legal consequences heavy fines, license suspension, probation, jail or prison time, home confinement, ignition interlock, random alcohol tests, and community service are all common DUI penalties.

Remember that the exact penalties will depend on your state’s laws, the judge, and circumstances surrounding the arrest. Courts universally use some or all of the following factors when determining a defendant’s consequences for a DUI charge:

  • Prior conviction history;
  • Prior history of DUIs (for instance if they are a repeat DUI offender);
  • Whether serious bodily injury or death was a result of the DUI charge;
  • Whether property damage occurred;
  • Whether the driver was using the car or vehicle for commercial purposes;
  • The driver’s BAC level;
  • Whether or not the driver was of legal drinking age at the time of arrest; and/or
  • Whether or not a child or minor was in the driver’s car at the time of the incident.

Penalties for first offenses that do not cause injury or death to another person are generally more lenient than a repeat DUI offender, or when the crime harms another person.

Are there any Defenses to Per Se Intoxication Laws?

While there is less room for argument on a per se intoxication charge, the defendant may still be able to assert some defenses. This includes the following:

  • Challenging the validity of the test results;
  • Claiming that the machine collecting the results was operating improperly; and
  • Challenging the DUI arrest procedure.

Whether these or other defenses are available will depend on the specific circumstances surrounding the defendant’s case and state DUI laws.

Should I Hire a DUI Lawyer for Per Se Intoxication Violations?

DUI per se charges are quite serious and can be harder to fight in court. As such, if you are facing criminal charges you should consider contacting a local criminal lawyer specializing in DUIs immediately. 

Every state has its own DUI laws and sentencing requirements, and an experienced lawyer can advise you of your rights, build your case, and represent your best interests in court. A lawyer can also advise you about any defenses you may have to try and get rid of your charge or lessen the penalties.


Per Se DUI Laws in Michigan

The Meaning of Per Se DUI Laws

In a “per se” Operating While Intoxicated case, once an individual has proven to have a blood alcohol content over the legal limit of 0.08, he or she is to be considered intoxicated by law, and no other evidence of his or her drunkenness is required of the prosecution.

In “per se” cases, evidence that shows you were in control of your vehicle or that you did not feel intoxicated carries no weight, and you will need to work with a skilled DUI attorney who knows other ways to help you beat the charges you are facing and secure a favorable case outcome once a blood alcohol content test has already been done.

Fight an OWI Charge with Grabel & Associates

The experienced attorneys at Grabel & Associates are committed to Michigan drunk driving defense, and for over 10 years our team has worked under the direction of founding attorney Scott Grabel to protect the rights and freedom of those who have been wrongly accused of Operating While Intoxicated in Michigan. Without an attorney, you could face unnecessarily harsh penalties which may include jail time, fines, license suspension, a criminal record, and more, and only by hiring the best possible legal representative can you be sure that you have done all you can to protect against the potentially life changing punishments which can result from an OWI conviction. Contact our 24/7 criminal defense hotline now to learn more about effective OWI per se representation and how our firm can help in your unique case.

What is a Per Se Law? Michigan DUI Defense Lawyer

It is the responsibility of the prosecutor to show that the defendant was intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle, and the easiest way for them to do so is by proving that he or she had an unlawful blood alcohol content. If the prosecutor is able to show that at some time your BAC tested above 0.

08%, you will be facing a “Per se” case, which means “in itself” or illegal without having to prove anything else.

The prosecution doesn’t need to show you were driving dangerously, that you couldn’t pass field sobriety tests, or that you were unable to control your vehicle – if your blood alcohol content is above the legal limit, you can be convicted.

When you face a “Per se” Operating While Intoxicated case, any potential defense that relies on relating alcohol use to your driving or ability to safely operate a motor vehicle is useless, and you need to find other ways to challenge the charges you are facing. Grabel & Associates has worked in countless cases statewide involving illegal BAC levels, and we know how to protect clients who are facing accusations of drunk driving after a chemical blood test.

Fighting Per Se OWI Charges in MI

When a person has an unlawful blood alcohol content in Michigan, the focus of the case changes from proving that he or she did not operate a motor vehicle while under the influence, to attacking the chemical testing results in attempts to show why they should not be admissible.

If your attorney is not able to discredit the BAC evidence, the jury can find you guilty solely on that evidence alone. Fortunately, an experienced DUI defense lawyer will know what can be done to aggressively protect you from conviction even in cases involving chemical test results.

Breathalyzer machines are notoriously inaccurate, and demonstrating that the device was not properly calibrated or maintained, or that the officer using it didn’t follow procedure, could render the evidence inadmissible.

Although blood tests are more accurate, there are still numerous procedural errors and chain of custody mistakes that could have been made which would affect the reliability of the results. It can also be shown in some cases that a defendant’s BAC was rising, and therefore they had a legal BAC at the time of the alleged OWI offense.

Our Proven OWI Defense Approach

Operating While Intoxicated is a serious criminal charge, and our lawyers understand how much is at stake after a drunk driving allegation is made.

Contact Grabel & Associates now and immediately receive individualized case analysis from an experienced attorney, and let us explain exactly what you need to do to fight back against aggressive police and prosecutors who will be trying to convict you.

Our lawyers know what it takes to win, and our proven results demonstrate just how effective our team can be in tough cases statewide.

Contact Grabel & Associates for Drunk Driving Defense

Speak with attorney Scott Grabel or another member of our qualified team now by calling 1-800-342-7896. You can also contact our law firm online and set up a free initial case consultation with a DUI defense lawyer in Michigan. We are available 24/7 to begin answering your legal questions and providing top-notch defense throughout your investigation and potential trial.


DUI Per Se

The Meaning of Per Se DUI Laws

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In, Georgia, drivers can face two different types of DUI charges: DUI Less Safe and DUI Per Se. DUI per se is the type of law that most people associate with DUI charges. Per se means “by or in itself.” Therefore, a DUI per se is when a person has a blood alcohol concentration of .

08 or higher while driving a motor vehicle. If you have been charged with DUI per se in Georgia, you need legal representation. It is critical that you act fast because you only have 30 days to save your driving privileges. Call now and speak to one of our many DUI lawyers in Georgia.

Georgia Law

According to O.C.G.A §40-6-391(a)(5), A person shall not drive or be in actual physical control of any moving vehicle while the person's alcohol concentration is .08 grams or more at any time within three hours after such driving or being in actual physical control from alcohol consumed before such driving or being in actual physical control ended.

In Georgia, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or greater. If a person is found to have a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher, then the person should be found guilty of DUI per se because their BAC was over the legal limit. Therefore, impaired driving ability is not an element of driving under the influence per se. Dodds v.

State, 288 Ga. App. 231, (2007). A conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) per se does not require proof that it was less safe for the defendant to drive; rather, an individual is guilty of DUI-per se where, within three hours after operating a motor vehicle, tests show that his blood alcohol concentration is 0.08 grams or more. Yeong Silk Oh v. State, 345 GA. App. 729, (2018).

It is important to understand that the BAC limit for minors and commercial vehicle drivers is significantly lower. For drivers under 21, it is .02 grams. For truck drivers, bus drivers, and others that drive with a Commercial Driver's License (CDL), the limit is .04.

Georgia DUI Per Se Case Law

In the case of State v. Rish, the Court agreed that the officer did have probable cause to arrest the suspect for DUI per se.

The evidence presented detailed that the accused admitted to having 3-4 drinks before driving and that he had consumed the drinks 30 minutes before the traffic stop. However, the officer testified that the accused showed no signs of impairment.

The accused took two breath tests that resulted in a BAC of greater than .08 grams. Therefore, even though he did not appear to be impaired, the suspect was convicted of DUI per se. 295 Ga. App. 815, (2009).

GeorgiaDUI Per Se Defenses

In a Georgia DUI per se case, the prosecution must show that the driver's BAC was .08 or above and that they were driving a motor vehicle. While this may seem an open and close case, the driver has many Georgia criminal defenses available!

First, even if you submitted to a chemical test and were charged with a DUI per se, that does not automatically deem you guilty of a DUI. Many requirements must have been complied with in order for your chemical test to be valid.

One of those factors is whether the officer informed you of implied consent. Implied consent means that by driving on Georgia roads, you are implicitly giving law enforcement officials permission to test your blood, breath, or urine if you are arrested for DUI.

However, you must be informed that you may refuse a test and that you have the right to request a different test be used and who administers it. This test will be at your own expense.

Additionally, the refusal will lead to your driver's license being suspended, and it can be used against you in court.

Another argument is to attach the breathalyzer machine to see whether it was in compliance. Police officers are required to have the device calibrated, log activity, and make sure it is regularly maintained.

If your Georgia DUI Lawyer can demonstrate that the machine was not current on its maintenance, the results can be challenged. Therefore, even if you tested above the limit, those results may be inadmissible.

Medical Necessity or emergency can also be defenses to a DUI per se case. Let's say that you and your husband are out to dinner and you have had a few drinks because he was going to drive home.

He severely cuts himself, and you need to drive him to the hospital.

If it were necessary for you to drive him to the hospital, you would have an affirmative defense if charged with a DUI while on the way to the hospital.

Penalties for a DUI Per Se Conviction in Georgia

A person convicted of DUI per se for a first or second time will be guilty of a misdemeanor.

The punishment for a first conviction will include fines between $300 and $1,000, jail time with a maximum of 12 months, at least 40 hours of community service, completion of a drug or alcohol risk reduction program, and probation.

A second conviction for a DUI will have heightened penalties. The fine increases to between $600-$1,000, at least 30 days of community service, increased jail time, and probation.

A third conviction in ten years of DUI per se in Georgia will be considered a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature. The fine will be between $1,000 and $5,000. The minimum jail time is 120 days with a maximum of 12 months.

No Matter the Situation, Call Us Today

If you have been charged with DUI per se, do not make the mistake of thinking there are no defenses available to you.

There are always arguments that can apply to your case! Call today and speak with one of our Georgia DUI Per Se Attorneys and we will discuss your situation in detail.

Our DUI per se lawyers in Georgia have over 50 combined years of experience. Call now because your future depends on it!


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