O.C.G.A. § 40-6-391(a)(2) provides:
(a) A person shall not drive or be in actual physical control of any moving vehicle while:
(2) Under the influence of any drug to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive[.]
Prior to the Supreme Court's ruling in Love v. State, 271 Ga. 398, 517 S.E.2d 53 (1999), this was probably the least used DUI Code section. The “less-safe” DUI drugs statute, O.C.G.A. § 40-6-391(a)(2), requires proof that the quantity or amount of the prescribed or contraband or over-the-counter drug in the person's system caused impairment or rendered the accused to be a “less safe” driver. See Webb v. State, 223 Ga. App. 9, 476 S.E.2d 781 (1996). But see Walker v. State, 239 Ga. App. 831, 521 S.E.2d 861 (1999), for an atrocious conviction followed by an even more atrocious appellate decision.
Most reported cases involving prescribed medications arise as a result of impairment by both alcohol and drugs. With more and more police officers requesting blood tests from DUI suspects, an increase in the number of “combined effect” cases can be expected.
Additionally, as of January 1, 2008, changes in Georgia law under O.C.G.A. § 40-5-75 pertaining to loss of driving privileges for certain drug-related convictions (whether behind the wheel or not) have raised the stakes for aggressively fighting cases with multiple criminal counts that MAY carry mandatory CONSECUTIVE driver's license suspensions. As of January 1, 2008, any "drug" convictions will be tacked on to the end of any other license suspensions. See O.C.G.A. § 40-5-75(i).