What Is the Cost of a DUI in Georgia?
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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 January 03, 2023.
The Average DUI Cost in Georgia? Hard to Determine
If you are convicted of driving under the influence, you may have heard that the potential penalty can include the following:
Jail time of up to a year
Fines of up to $1,000
However, many people fail to realize that DUI the costs and consequences of a DUI conviction are even further reaching. The total financial cost of this conviction is rarely limited to immediate out-of-pocket expenses.
It is important to remember that DUI convictions in Georgia can also lead to opportunity costs, such as losing a job or career as well as being affected by an increase in insurance rates.
Since too many variables are involved, it’s almost impossible to determine the costs of a DUI conviction. It is estimated that even a first-time DUI offense can cost from $5,000 to as high as $20,000, depending on the circumstances of the case.
For this reason, if you are facing DUI charges, you need an experienced DUI attorney at your side. The cost of a DUI lawyer can also be substantial, but DUI lawyers understand how a DUI conviction can adversely affect a person’s life and will do all they can to avoid or minimize it.
What Happens When you Get a DUI for the First Time in Georgia?
Under Georgia law, driving under the influence is a misdemeanor punishable by a jail sentence of 10 days to 12 months. However, the judge can suspend the whole jail sentence except for 24 hours which is mandatory if an individual’s BAC or blood alcohol concentration exceeds the legal limit.
In addition to potential jail time, an individual can face hefty fines. Depending on the number of DUI convictions a person has had over a 10-year period, fines can range from $300 to $5,000.
Most convicted drivers will have to attend the Risk Reduction Program, also called a DUI School. It is typically a 20-hour course that can cost over $350.
A convicted driver may be required to submit to random drug or alcohol tests at their expense. That may cost you around $100 or more. In addition, community service can be a required part of your penalty. That can involve a supervision fee that is usually around $100.
There may be additional fines and expenses if it is not your first DUI conviction. For example, drivers may be required to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle, which comes with installation and maintenance costs and a monthly monitoring fee.
How Much Does a First DUI Cost in Georgia?
A DUI arrest rarely results in a person avoiding jail time. You will have to put up bail if you do not want to remain in jail longer than necessary, which can cost anything from $150 to more than $2,000. It is possible for you to recover this money in the future as long as you follow all court procedures and orders.
Without a designated driver, you might have to get your car towed. Depending on the distance, towing costs can range from $50 to $200, plus daily impound fees.
In addition, you can expect your monthly automobile insurance premium to skyrocket once you’re convicted of DUI. You will be considered a high-risk driver by your insurance company. High-risk drivers can face as much as an $800 increase in insurance premiums in the first year. Your insurer can gradually reduce your car insurance premiums as long as you have a clean record. However, it can take as long as 3 years for the amount to return to what it was before the DUI conviction.
What Is Considered an Opportunity Cost?
DUIs have costs that extend far beyond the courtroom – not all DUI costs are quantifiable. DUI convictions in Georgia come with several opportunity costs. Because DUI convictions carry a stigma, many employers are wary of hiring or keeping someone with this record in employment. It may even affect your current job. For example, if your main job is to drive, you may no longer qualify for the insurance required for it.
A DUI charge can often delay certification procedures if you are applying for a high clearance position in the government or another organization. The most common consequence of a DUI is disqualification from top-secret security clearances and a negative impact on military careers.
DUI convictions also come with new hurdles when it comes to travel, both personally and professionally. A DUI, for instance, is considered a felony in Canada and therefore disqualifies an individual from visiting for ten years. Your criminal record will follow you wherever you go if you are convicted of a DUI in Georgia.
Can You Lose Your Driver’s License for a First DUI in Georgia?
Yes, you can. A DUI arrest in Georgia will likely result in a suspension of your driver’s license by the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS). It will be suspended for one year if the driver is older than 21, and that is their first non-drug-related conviction for driving under the influence.
But, certain drivers may be able to get a limited license, and early license reinstatement may be requested after 120 days. However, these drivers will have to complete a state-approved Risk Reduction Program and pay a reinstatement fee of up to $200 for a first-offense DUI.
When you lose your license, even for a few months, you might have to rely on public transportation, resulting in time and money costs.
Installing an ignition interlock device is one of the requirements for getting your license back. It remains installed for a limited time, but the installation itself can cost up to $150, and the lease amount can be similar.
How Can a DUI Lawyer Help?
Obtaining legal representation would be a good move for those facing Georgia DUI drugs or alcohol-related charges. It is important to note that attorney fees can vary from case to case, even though most attorneys work on a flat rate basis.
Considering all the costs associated with a DUI conviction in one place can be overwhelming and terrifying. In order to avoid these costs, it is best to avoid driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Several defenses to DUI charges exist, such as an incorrect breathalyzer reading or an arresting officer’s lack of probable cause. The sooner you call an experienced DUI lawyer when you are stopped for DUI, the better your chances of successfully fighting the charges against you.
For more questions about DUI conviction costs, contact a Gwinnett County DUI attorney at Philip Kim Law, P.C.