Can I Use the Georgia First Offender Act in my DUI Case?

Posted by Richard Lawson | Nov 17, 2016 | 0 Comments

The Georgia First Offender Act does not apply to DUI.  In fact, DUI is specifically listed as an offense where it does not apply.  This, of course, makes little sense because the First Offender Act applies to violent felony offenses, yet through the “wisdom” of our legislature it does not apply to a misdemeanor traffic offense,

People often confuse the Georgia First Conviction Referral Form (formerly affidavit of first conviction) as pleading under the first offender act.  It is not the same thing.  

The Georgia First Conviction Referral Form is a referral from the court to the Department of Driver Services that the pending DUI case is closed. It means nothing more.  It is not a permit or even an application for a permit.  It is a notification that a person has closed his or her DUI case with a plea of guilty.  

Without the referral form, the DDS will not know that the case is closed until the court reports the conviction to them.  As a result, the driver would have to wait until the GA DDS gets the outcome of the case from the court.  Some courts take several weeks to report the result of a case.

Practice Note:

The disposition of a Georgia DUI Case is on a person's record for their entire life.  It is important to have the best representation on your First Georgia DUI Arrest.   Individuals who call us with a second offense learn quickly that it is much harder to get a good outcome if the first offense was a plea of guilty without representation. As a result, always hire the best Georgia DUI lawyer you can on your first offense.  

Practice Note Two:

Since the first conviction referral form is not a license, never drive from court after you enter a plea to a DUI.  Your license is suspended by operation of law once you have pleaded guilty or are found guilty at trial.  You must have a ride to the Department of Driver Services. 

About the Author

Richard Lawson

Managing Partner at Lawson & Berry:


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