What is the Legal BAC Limit in Georgia?

Jul 18, 2023

If you are facing DUI charges in Georgia, an Athens DUI defense attorney can help you fight for your rights and represent you in court. Ryan Swingle, the lead DUI defense attorney at Ryan Swingle Law, is ready to help you craft a solid defense for your case.

If you intend to have a few drinks before getting behind the wheel, you may need to understand the legal BAC limit in Georgia first. Most drivers pay little attention to their alcohol limit while driving.

However, in Georgia, drivers are prohibited from operating a motor vehicle when their BAC (blood alcohol concentration) levels are 0.08% or higher. This means that operating a vehicle In Georgia with an alcohol limit of more than 0.08% is illegal and can result in legal consequences for driving under the influence (DUI).


Under Georgia law, law enforcement officers can ask for a breathalyzer if they have reasonable suspicion that you are driving under the influence of alcohol. This can occur from observing sporadic driving behavior, slurred speech, a strong smell of alcohol, or other signs of impairment.

As a Georgia driver, once you obtain your driver’s license and get behind the wheel, you implicitly consent to submit to a breathalyzer test if an officer has reasonable suspicion. Additionally, if you are accused or arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, you will be subjected to a breathalyzer test.


If you are stopped over and accused of drinking and driving, you can refuse to take a breathalyzer test. However, doing so can have legal consequences, including immediate administrative penalties, such as suspension of your driver’s license, fines, and other consequences.


If you have been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, you should find a defense attorney specializing in DUI cases to get personalized legal advice. Your attorney can challenge your case through the following defense strategies:

  • Challenge the validity of the traffic stop: A DUI defense attorney may claim that the police officer lacked reasonable suspicion to make the traffic stop.
  • Question the accuracy of the breathalyzer test: An attorney may also challenge the accuracy of the breathalyzer test by questioning the calibration of the device, the validity of the test administration, and the operator’s qualifications.
  • Challenge blood and urine tests: If these tests were performed, your attorney could question the samples’ handling and the testing procedures’ accuracy.
  • Necessity or emergency defense: Your attorney may claim you had no option but to drive under the influence due to an emergency.

An attorney may also review the entire process of your arrest to spot any procedural errors made by the police, which could result in suppression of the evidence.

What Are the Legal Consequences of Exceeding the BAC Limit in Georgia?

Exceeding the legal alcohol limit in Georgia, which is a blood alcohol level of 0.08% for drivers over 21, can lead to severe legal consequences under Georgia DUI laws.

For a DUI charge, the penalties vary depending on the number of offenses. A first-time offense may result in a fine, community service, possible jail time, and mandatory DUI school.

Repeat offenses see increasingly severe penalties, including longer jail time and higher fines. Additionally, offenders may face a license suspension and may be required to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicles.

The GA DUI laws are stringent to deter driving after consuming alcohol beyond the GA legal alcohol limit.

Does Georgia Have a Zero Tolerance Policy for Underage Drinking and Driving?

Georgia has a zero-tolerance policy for underage drinking and driving. For drivers under the age of 21, the legal limit for blood alcohol content is much lower, set at 0.02%.

This lower Georgia alcohol driving limit reflects the state’s commitment to discourage underage individuals from consuming alcoholic beverages and then driving.

If an underage driver is found with a BAC above this limit but below the standard legal limit in Georgia, they still face DUI charges, license suspension, and other penalties.

This policy aligns with Georgia’s efforts to maintain road safety and reduce alcohol-related accidents among young drivers.

Can Medications or Medical Conditions Affect BAC Readings?

Certain medications and medical conditions can affect BAC readings. Some medications, particularly those containing alcohol or affecting the central nervous system, can raise the blood alcohol level.

Similarly, medical conditions like diabetes or hypoglycemia can sometimes yield falsely high BAC readings due to the presence of substances like acetone in the breath, which some breathalyzers may interpret as ethanol.

It’s crucial for individuals taking medications or with specific health conditions to be aware of these potential effects, especially when consuming alcoholic beverages, as they may inadvertently exceed the GA BAC limit and face a Georgia DUI charge.


If you are facing DUI charges in Georgia, an Athens DUI defense attorney can help you fight for your rights and represent you in court. Ryan Swingle, the lead DUI defense attorney at Ryan Swingle Law, is ready to help you craft a solid defense for your case.

Call (706) 713-0332 or fill out our contact form to schedule a consultation and discover how we can help with your case.