Georgia DUI Penalties
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To avoid Georgia DUI penalties, many people turn to Philip Kim Law, P.C. for advice and information regarding their criminal defense. 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 December 29, 2022.
Georgia DUI Penalties and Sentences
The State of Georgia takes driving under the influence very seriously. In this state, a driver can be charged with a DUI alcohol or drug if they are in physical control of the motor vehicle with any amount of alcohol, controlled substance, or drug in their system.
When it comes to alcohol, Georgia drivers can face two types of charges:
DUI per se: Driving with their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over the legal limit
DUI less safe: Driving under the influence of alcohol to the extent that it is not safe for them to drive
People mistakenly believe that if their BAC is below .08%, they cannot be found guilty of DUI in Georgia. But, the DUI less safe law allows for the drivers to be convicted even with a smaller amount of alcohol in their system if they show other signs of being impaired.
The charges for DUI Less Safe and DUI Per Se are different, but the penalties are the same. If you drive a motor vehicle after having a few alcoholic beverages and are pulled over, you may face severe consequences.
It’s normal to be confused and frightened after a DUI arrest; however, don’t feel pressured into pleading guilty just because you don’t know what to do. You can count on our Gwinnett County DUI lawyer to guide you through the entire process and ensure you understand what is happening in your case and what penalties you may face.
Understanding Penalties for DUI Arrest in Georgia
The most important thing all drivers should understand is that Georgia DUI laws impose mandatory penalty requirements for those convicted of DUI. Mandatory penalties represent the most minor penalties that judges can impose.
That means judges can sentence you anywhere between the minimum and the maximum penalty under the DUI law. Judges also have the discretion to add special probation conditions or impose additional DUI penalties.
It is essential to remember that the actual sentence will depend on the specific circumstances of the case, as well as the existence of any prior DUI convictions.
Administrative Driver’sDriver’s License Penalties
In addition to criminal penalties, drivers who face a DUI conviction will also face administrative penalties by the Georgia Department of Driver Services. These penalties are separate from the DUI process and can be imposed even if the driver is acquitted of DUI in court.
According to Georgia’s implied consent law, all drivers are required to submit to breathalyzers or chemical tests of their blood or urine. However, if they blow over the legal limit or refuse to submit, their licenses will most likely be suspended.
Potential Georgia driver’s license suspension periods are:
12 months after a first DUI in five years
Three years after the second DUI offense in five years
Five years after the third DUI in five years
Those convicted of a second DUI may be eligible for early license reinstatement after 18 months of the license suspension. Those convicted of a third DUI may become eligible for a probationary license after two years if the court permits it and they meet certain conditions, such as completing a DUI education program.
License suspension that results from a refusal to submit to a chemical test can lead to total loss of all driving privileges for 12 months and make the driver ineligible for a limited driving permit.
Georgia DUI Penalties Chart
Penalties for DUI convictions within 10 years in Georgia include the following:
From 10 days up to 12 months in jail (a judge can suspend everything except 24 hours)
Maximum fines of up to $1,000
Minimum 40 and maximum 250 hours of community service
From 90 days to a year in jail (mandatory 72 hours of jail time)
Fines of up to $1,000
At least 30 days of community service
Third Offense DUI
From 120 days to a year in jail (15 days of jail time are mandatory)
Fines ranging from $1,000 to $5,000
Minimum 30 days of community service
12 to 26 months of probation
Declared habitual violator
First Offense DUI
When it comes to jail time after a first DUI conviction within 10 years, drivers must spend 24 hours in jail if their alcohol concentration is .08 or more. However, there is no statutory minimum jail sentence if the state can’t prove that the BAC exceeded the legal limit.
In addition to the penalties stated above, the court will order the convicted driver to complete 12 months of probation minus time spent in jail. Although jail time can be shortened, the probation period can’t.
Convicted drivers may also have to attend the Madd Mothers Victim Impact Panel and DUI Risk Reduction School, also called DUI school. A substance abuse evaluation and counseling may also be required. Bear in mind the penalties can be more lenient if the driver is under 21 with a BAC of less than .08 at the time of the arrest.
Second Offense DUI
A second DUI conviction carries a probation period of 12 months. However, other penalties can be harsher, such as the requirement to complete a DUI Risk Reduction Program within 120 days and a substance abuse treatment program.
A second DUI conviction within 5 years may result in the court confiscating the driver’s license plate. A license plate will be reissued after the suspension period is over.
Penalties for DUI and Reckless Driving in Georgia
In some cases, if a driving offense occurred but the state can’t prove it was due to a driver being under the influence, prosecutors amend DUI charges to reckless driving.
Reckless driving typically includes erratic driving, weaving, excessive speeding, and generally, driving with no regard for the safety of property or other people.
Although it is considered a win to have DUI charges reduced to reckless driving, it is still a misdemeanor offense in Georgia. This means a judge can still sentence you to up to 12 months in jail, fine you up to $1,000, and impose community service and other conditions.
Enhanced DUI Penalties
Georgia law stipulates that DUI penalties can be enhanced in certain situations. For example, an impaired driver who transports a minor passenger can be charged with child endangerment as well as DUI. In addition to the regular DUI penalties, they could face a 12-month jail sentence and up to $1,000 in fines if convicted.
Also, a judge can order vehicle forfeiture if a driver receives a third or subsequent DUI conviction.
When Is a DUI a Felony in Georgia?
Although most DUIs are misdemeanor offenses in Georgia, certain factors can make a DUI offense a felony. These factors include causing the death or serious injury to another person or unborn fetus and fleeing an officer. In addition, having three or more prior convictions of impaired driving within the past 10 years can also make DUI offense a felony.
Felony penalties are harsh and typically result in a one-year minimum prison sentence.
How Philip Kim Law Can Help You Fight DUI Penalties in Georgia
Georgia’s DUI laws are complicated and constantly changing. DUI defense attorneys know these changes can make a huge difference in your case’s outcome.
With our superior knowledge of DUI laws in Georgia, we will guide you through the entire DUI process. Our goal is to ensure that you are not subjected to harsh DUI penalties.
DUI penalties can affect the rest of your life. Your future is on the line, so fighting these charges alone is not recommended. Rather than fighting DUI drugs or alcohol alone, contact an experienced DUI lawyer in Gwinnett County. Contact us today for a free consultation!