Does Indictment Alleging Driving Under the Influence of Drugs Require Proof That Drugs Made Individual a Less Safe Driver ?
In Kevinezz v. State, 265 Ga. 78, 79-83 (2) (454 S.E.2d 441) (1995), the indictment alleged that the defendant violated the statute by "driving under the influence of drugs to the extent it is less safe for her to drive."
The indictment also charged her with vehicular homicide, alleging that she showed reckless disregard for the safety of another by "driving under the influence of drugs."
The Supreme Court held that the indictment did not put the defendant on notice that she could be convicted of violating O.C.G.A. 40-6-391 (a) (5), which prohibits driving while there is any amount of drugs in a person's blood or urine, 10 but only put her on notice that she could be convicted of violating O.C.G.A. 40-6-391 (a) (2), which requires proof that the drugs made her a less safe driver.
In so holding, the Court noted that "the name of the alleged crime, . . . 'driving under the influence,' is descriptive of one or more of the ways in which the crime may be committed but is not descriptive of others."
The Court stated that "the defendant has the right to rely on the specific manner of committing the crime that is alleged in the indictment."
The Court also held that the defendant did not waive the right to raise this issue on appeal by failing to demur to the indictment before trial.
In so holding, the Court reasoned that:
The indictment did specify a method by which the state alleged defendant committed the crime, and she was not required to specially demur to the indictment in order to avoid waiving her right to object to a jury charge on a method of committing the crime that was not specified in the indictment.