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Understanding DUI Charges in Georgia

On Behalf of | Apr 23, 2024 | Drunk Driving |

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a severe offense in Georgia, with penalties that can significantly impact your life.

What Constitutes a DUI?

In Georgia, a DUI can be charged in two ways:

  • DUI per se: This applies when your blood alcohol content (BAC) is at or above the legal limit of 0.08 grams percent.
  • Less Safe Driving: An officer can arrest you for DUI even if your BAC is below 0.08 if they have reasonable suspicion that you are impaired and driving unsafely. This can be based on your driving behavior, slurred speech, or failing field sobriety tests.

Penalties for DUI in Georgia

The severity of DUI penalties in the state can depend on several factors. It can be whether it’s your first offense or the circumstances surrounding the arrest. The potential consequences are as follows:

  • First offense: Your first offense is a misdemeanor. This carries a minimum of twenty-four hours in jail, a fine of $300 to $1,000 and forty hours of community service. You will also receive twelve months of probation and must complete a DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program. There is also a twelve-month suspension for your license.
  • Second offense (within ten years): This is also a misdemeanor but with harsher penalties. You face at least seventy-two hours in jail, a fine of $600 to $1,000 and 240 hours of community service. This also comes with twelve months of probation, mandatory DUI school, and a substance abuse evaluation. Your license will be suspended for a year.
  • Third offense (within ten years) and subsequent offenses: By the third time, you will be charged with a high and aggravated misdemeanor with steeper penalties. You will receive a minimum of fifteen days in jail, a $1,000 fine and 240 hours of community service. This also carries a mandatory DUI school and substance abuse evaluation with one year of probation. The maximum penalty is twelve months in jail and a $5,000 fine.

Depending on the circumstances, a DUI can lead to additional penalties and consequences, such as:

  • Increased insurance rates
  • Difficulty obtaining employment or housing
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device on your vehicle which requires a breath test before starting the car

A DUI charge can be overwhelming. If you are facing DUI charges, you may want to consider legal counsel to help you analyze the details of your arrest and negotiate with prosecutors to try to reduce charges or penalties.