A Complete Guide to Georgia DUI Laws
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Philip Kim Law, P.C. can answer your legal questions and provide information and advice about the Georgia Dui Laws, among others. Call us for a consultation.
Author: Philip Kim, Founder, Philip Kim Law, P.C.
Defense lawyer Philip Kim has committed his career to standing up for the accused, and protecting the rights and reputations of his valued clients. If you face criminal charges in Georgia, we can provide you with the skilled, effective defense representation you need.
Published on February 01, 2023.
An Overview of Laws on DUI in Georgia
DUI laws in Georgia are stringent. Driving under the influence of drugs, any controlled substance, alcohol, or a combination of these is punishable by law.
DUI convictions can result in hefty fines and even serious jail time, depending on the severity of the DUI offense. Furthermore, these charges also carry administrative penalties like suspensions of driving privileges and other consequences such as increased insurance rates, probationary period, community service, and attending DUI school classes.
While the first two DUI offenses within 10 years are considered misdemeanors in Georgia, the third is a high and aggravated misdemeanor. Upon a fourth DUI conviction, the driver would be guilty of a felony and punished more harshly.
Drivers need to understand that DUI offenses are never taken lightly. Punishments for DUI drugs or alcohol may be severe, and long-lasting consequences can follow you if you are convicted of a DUI charge.
If you are facing DUI charges, feeling overwhelmed and frightened is a normal reaction. However, reaching out to a skilled DUI lawyer who understands the DUI process can be beneficial to your case.
Types of Georgia DUI Offenses
Georgia DUI laws mandate that driving or being in actual physical control of the vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is forbidden. The common misconception about drunk driving is that people can’t be found guilty of a DUI if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is under the legal limit or below 0.08%.
In fact, under Georgia’s DUI law, an individual who is under the influence of alcohol, drug, any substance, or the combination of two or more substances to the extent that it is less safe for them to drive can be convicted of DUI less safe.
Even though the charges for DUI less safe are not the same as DUI per se, the penalties are. And the only thing needed to prove you were guilty of the offense is the arresting officer’s conclusion that you couldn’t drive the vehicle safely.
On the other hand, DUI per se means a driver’s BAC was over the legal limit at the time of the arrest. That means if the driver is older than 21, their BAC has to be 0.08% or more, 0.04% or more if they are drivers of commercial vehicles with CDL licenses, and only 0.02% or more if they are under 21.
Georgia DUI Consequences and Penalties
DUI is a serious offense in Georgia and can have some lasting effects on those convicted. For first-time DUI offenders, jail time can range from 10 days to up to 12 months, and fines can range from $300 to $1,000, depending on the circumstances.
An individual will typically be required to perform 40 community service hours. In addition, the first DUI punishment includes probation and completing a DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program.
If it is your second DUI offense, the penalties are elevated. You’ll spend anywhere from 90 days to a year in jail, pay a fine of $600 to $1,000, perform at least 240 hours (30 days) of community service, face 12 months probation, and attend DUI School and a substance abuse evaluation.
Georgia DUI penalties for the third offense include anywhere from 120 days to 12 months in jail, fines from $1,000 to $5,000, minimum of 30 days of community service. These drivers are typically declared habitual violators, which can drastically affect their everyday lives. Also, according to Section 40-6-391.2 of Georgia DUI law, a driver who has been declared a habitual violator may be subject to vehicle forfeiture to the state.
Is Jail Time Mandatory for a DUI in Georgia?
Yes, it is mandatory to spend at least 24 hours in jail. However, a judge can suspend all jail time except for 24 hours, which is mandatory if the driver’s blood alcohol content exceeds the legal limit.
For a second DUI, the driver must serve at least 72 hours in jail. A third DUI offense carries 15 days of mandatory jail time.
For How Long Is Your License Suspended for DUI in Georgia?
While Georgia criminal courts take care of the criminal penalties arising from a DUI, the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS) will handle Georgia driver’s license consequences pursuant to the Implied Consent laws.
Georgia has strict regulations regarding DUI offenses, such as driver’s license suspension following a first-time conviction. This applies even if the drunk driving offense occurred out of state.
For a first DUI offense in Georgia, you will face up to a 1-year license suspension. However, you may be eligible for early reinstatement after 120 days if you complete an alcohol and drug risk reduction course. It may also be necessary for you to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. Those who qualify for a limited driving permit should bear in mind that their movement is restricted and includes going to work, to the doctor’s, and attending driver education or improvement school.
The second DUI carries up to 3 years of driver’s license suspension. No limited permit is available for at least 120 days. After successful completion of a clinical evaluation and substance abuse treatment program and an ignition interlock installation requirements, reinstatement after 18 months can be possible.
After the third DUI, the driver will face a 5-year license suspension period. Limited permits for Georgia licensees aren’t available for at least 24 months.
How Can DUI Defense Attorneys Help?
DUI Arrests are taken very seriously in Georgia; even a first offense can bring about significant consequences. These consequences result from two different hearings – one is a criminal proceeding, while the other is an Administrative License Suspension hearing.
An Administrative License Hearing or an ALS hearing has to be requested by your Georgia DUI Lawyer and is unrelated to your criminal case. Winning an ALS hearing means the driver can keep their driving privileges.
However, the criminal hearing can also result in punishment such as fines, time in jail, community service, additional driver’s license penalties, and forced alcohol or drug treatment.
Your lawyer can help you enroll in a DUI Court program, especially if you have been convicted multiple times for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. They can also negotiate potential linient penalties with the prosecution or even reduce your charges.
If you have more questions on DUI laws, don’t hesitate to contact Philip Kim Law, P.C.