If you’ve been charged with a DUI in Georgia, chances are this is your first DUI offense and you are unfamiliar with the applicable laws of the state. DUI laws are particularly aggressive in Georgia, and as evidence, it’s ranked by MADD as the state with the 6th strictest laws in the nation. Although it is common for those who are charged with a DUI to feel that it is not a serious crime, it is often said that a DUI conviction is the one crime that “turns non-criminals into criminals”. DUI in Georgia is a crime that crosses all age, social and economic boundaries, and for that reason, the practice of DUI law has emerged as a highly specific area of practice. With a DUI conviction, you’ll be faced with the prospect of a criminal record which can affect your family and your career in addition to the loss of your driver’s license and your freedom. It will be important to your case to have proper representation by a Georgia DUI attorney who specializes in DUI law and the science associated with defending against it. This is not a time to call just any attorney. Georgia DUI laws are especially harsh, and you don’t want to take a chance on your future without contacting a Georgia DUI lawyer.
If you are stopped for a DUI, chances are that you’ll end up being arrested. There are two ways you can be arrested in Georgia for DUI. The first is if you are in violation of Georgia’s law which states that it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher. The second way you can be arrested for DUI is via the observations made by the arresting officer regarding your driving behavior, either prior to being stopped or after a traffic accident. With that said, you can actually be arrested for either of these reasons with a BAC as low as .05 if it is determined that you are driving dangerously.
After your arrest, you will be driven to the police station where you’ll be asked to submit to chemical or urine tests, fingerprinted, and your driver’s license will be confiscated. You will be given a copy of your arrest citation which will have the date and location of your arraignment. If you contact a DUI attorney before your court hearing, they can appear in court for you without your presence required. The sooner you hire a DUI attorney, the more time they’ll have to study and prepare for your case. Contact an attorney immediately for a free consultation.
If you are arrested outside your home state, be sure to ask your attorney how this law will impact you.
The penalties listed below are called for by statute, are not complete, and can often be removed or reduced significantly with the assistance of a local Georgia DUI attorney.
FIRST OFFENSE PENALTIES
● Incarceration - The law dictates a sentence of 10 days to one year in jail. In some cases it is possible for the judge to suspend the sentence at their discretion, but a minimum of 24 hours in jail will still apply..
● Fines - The minimum fine for a first offender DUI conviction is $300, and it can go as high as $1,000.
● License Suspension - You will face a mandatory suspension of your driver’s license for one year for a BAC of .08. A six month suspension will prevail if your BAC was lower than .08.
● Limited License Application - First offenders are allowed to apply for a limited driver’s license once some requirements are met. First, you will need to attend and complete DUI School which will cost $210. You’ll also be required to file proof of insurance with a SR22 form. This states that you have taken out a high risk driver’s SR22 insurance policy and the insurance company is aware of your conviction.
● Community Service - You will be required to complete 40 hours of community service as a first offender with a BAC of .08
● Probation -: A mandatory sentence of 12 months probation will also apply.
ASSOCIATED COSTS AND CONSEQUENCES
● Bail - Up to $2500 depending on alcohol content and number of offenses
● Towing - $75 and more, with additional daily rates added on
● Insurance - You’ll be required to carry your SR22 insurance plan for three years. If your insurance coverage lapses at any time, the insurance company is required to inform the State of Georgia DDS. Your license will then be immediately suspended and you’ll be required to file another SR22 form before it will be considered for reinstatement. As a high risk driver, expect your insurance rates to go up significantly, often doubling or more.
Penalties for second, third, and fourth DUI offenses are significantly higher, depending on the offense. The more DUI convictions you have within a 10 year period, the stiffer the punishments will be, up to a $5,000 fine and five years in jail and 60 days of community service. Contact a qualified DUI attorney right away for a free consultation.