Consequences of a DUI in Georgia
If you are arrested for DUI in Georgia, you will face several harsh penalties. A DUI arrest often means possible jail time, steep fines, classes, counseling sessions, and the suspension of your driver's license. These Georgia DUI Consequences can have a significant impact on your daily life and affect your ability to work, go to school, and seek future employment. You may also face consequences relating to your ability to obtain loans, financial aid, government assistance, and government security clearances. Richard Lawson is a Former DUI Prosecutor with more than 20 Years defending Georgia DUI Cases. He is the top-rated and most reviewed Georgia DUI Lawyer. His Reviews can be found on AVVO.
Georgia 30 Day Warning:
If you are arrested for DUI in Georgia, hiring the right Georgia DUI Lawyer is very important. Your Georgia DUI Attorney only has 30 days to request an ALS Hearing or to install an ignition interlock device to save your drivers license. The State of Georgia charges $150 to file for this hearing. The purpose of the hearing is to help restore your privilege to drive in Georgia. However, this hearing only happens if your DUI Lawyer in Georgia requests the hearing. It does not happen automatically. If the hearing is not requested or the interlock device is not installed, your Georgia Drivers License or privilege to drive in Georgia will be suspended. If you are accused of refusing the breath, blood, or urine test, the suspension will be a year in length unless the hearing is requested.
The Two Types of Georgia DUI Consequences:
Georgia DUI Consequences result from two different court hearings. Most people do not realize that a Georgia DUI has both an Administrative License Hearing (requested by your Georgia DUI Attorney) and the criminal proceeding. Both as equally important because both hearings can affect your drivers license. However, the criminal hearing can additionally result in punishment such as time in jail, community service, additional license suspension, forced alcohol or drug treatment, and fines.
ADMINISTRATIVE LICENSE SUSPENSION
In any case where the driver is suspected of and arrested for DUI in Georgia, there will be the possibility of an administrative suspension of your Georgia driver's license or privilege to drive in this state. This is a separate proceeding initiated by the Department of Driver Services and can affect your ability to drive before you have even been convicted of the DUI charge.
For any driver that refuses to take a state-administered test or if the results of a state-administered test show that your blood alcohol concentration was 0.08 grams or more, your license can be suspended for a 12 month period beginning 30 days after your arrest. You only have 30 days after arrest to file an appeal to prevent this suspension. The appeal is commonly referred to as the “30 day letter” and must include certain basic information as well state the grounds for the appeal.
After requesting the hearing, you will receive notice as to when and where your Administrative License Suspension Hearing will be held. It is important to note that this hearing in most cases will be in a different court and heard by a different judge (an Administrative Law Judge or “ALJ”) than in your criminal DUI case.
The hearing is limited in scope and only covers the following issues:
- Whether the officer had reasonable grounds to believe the person was operating or in actual physical control of a moving motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance and was lawfully placed under arrest for DUI; or
- Whether the person was involved in a motor vehicle accident or collision resulting in serious injury or fatality; and
- Whether the officer informed the person of his or her implied consent rights at the time a test was requested; and
- Whether the person refused the test; or
- Whether a test was administered and the results indicated a BAC of 0.08 grams or more or, if the person is under the age of 21, a blood alcohol concentration of 0.02 grams or more or, if the person was driving a commercial vehicle, a blood alcohol concentration of 0.04 grams or more; and
- Whether the test was properly administered.
Any administrative suspension will be credited toward any suspension period imposed in the criminal action. If you refused to take the state-administered test, and it is your first administrative suspension, you are facing a hard 12 month license suspension and you will not be eligible for a limited driving permit or early reinstatement.
If you did submit to the state test and it is your first administrative suspension, you will be able to get a limited use driving permit during the suspension period. The limited driving permit will allow you to drive to work, school, and regularly scheduled meetings for alcohol or substance abuse, but also for the purposes of attending court, probation appointments, community service, receiving medical care or treatments or obtaining prescription drugs. It will also allow you to take immediate family members to work, school, and to medical care and pharmacies if that family member does not hold a valid driver's license. Additionally, your license will be eligible for early reinstatement after only 30 days if you attend a Risk Reduction course (DUI school) and pay a reinstatement fee.
If you are an out-of-state licensee, the State of Georgia cannot suspend your driver's license, but can suspend your privilege to drive within the state. If you do not have a Georgia driver's license, the Georgia Department of Driver Services cannot issue you a limited use driving permit. This is a severe Georgia DUI Consequence that can cause an out of state driver to return to their home state.
GEORGIA DUI CONSEQUENCES IF CONVICTED OF THE DUI:
If this is your first DUI conviction, the maximum consequences are a fine of $1,000 and up to 12 months in jail. The minimum consequences are 24 hours in jail, which may still be waived, and a $300.00 fine. However, most Georgia DUI Consequences are more severe than the minimum sentence allowed by the Georgia DUI Laws.
Other mandatory minimum consequences are 40 hours community service at a non-profit organization, completion of a DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction course (commonly known as DUI School), and 12 months probation, which may be supervised or potentially non-reporting and may allow for random drug and alcohol screening. A substance abuse evaluation to determine whether you have a substance abuse problem that requires further treatment is typically required in most courts, but may be waived at the judge's discretion.
If you are under age 21 and your BAC was lower than 0.08 grams percent or if you refused to take the State test, no jail time is required, however the judge may order jail time at his or her discretion given the circumstances of your case. If you refused to take the State test or if your BAC was lower than 0.08 grams, only 20 hours of community service are required. If your BAC was 0.08 grams or more, 40 hours of community service are required.
Many courts will add additional conditions to your sentence such as a Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Victim Impact Panel or attendance at a number of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings within your community.
If this is your second DUI conviction within 10 years, Georgia DUI Consequences become more serious. The maximum consequences are a fine of $1,000 and up to 12 months in jail. The minimum consequences are 72 hours in jail, with credit for any time served after arrest, a fine of $600.00, 240 hours community service, completion of DUI school, a substance abuse evaluation and any recommended treatment, and 12 months probation.
If this is your second DUI conviction within 5 years, there are additional consequences. You will be required to pay a $25.00 fee to publish a notice of your conviction and your photograph in your county newspaper and surrender the license plates to any vehicle registered in your name.
A third DUI conviction within 10 years in Georgia is a high and aggravated misdemeanor. High and Aggravated crimes have the most severe Georgia DUI Consequences. The maximum consequences for this charge are 12 months in jail and a $5,000.00 fine. The minimum consequences are 15 days in jail, with credit for any time served after arrest, a $1,000.00 fine, 240 hours community service, DUI school, 12 months probation, and a substance abuse evaluation and any recommended treatment. The judge can suspend half of the fine if you undergo an alcohol or drug treatment program approved by the court.
If this is your third DUI conviction within 5 years, you will also be subject to a $25.00 fee to publish a notice of your conviction and your photograph in your county newspaper. You will also be required to forfeit your vehicle to the state, though you can petition the judge to transfer the title to another family member if the forfeiture would cause your family financial hardship.
DRIVER'S LICENSE SUSPENSION:
For license suspension purposes, the look-back period to determine the number of prior convictions is only 5 years. If this is your first DUI conviction in Georgia, the maximum suspension period is 12 months. If you complete DUI school and pay a reinstatement fee you will be eligible for early reinstatement after only 120 days. If you are 21 years old or older, you can apply for a limited use driving permit for the duration of the license suspension that will allow you to drive to work, school, substance abuse counseling, DUI school, for medical care and treatment purposes, to pharmacies to drop off or pick up prescriptions, court appearances, probation appointments, and community service. If an immediate family member is unlicensed, you can drive them to work, school, medical care, and to pharmacies to drop off and pick up prescriptions. If your license has been suspended prior to conviction due to an implied consent refusal, you will not be eligible for a limited use driving permit.
For drivers under the age of 21 who are convicted of DUI, if your blood alcohol concentration was less that 0.08 grams percent, the test results were suppressed, or if you refused to submit to the State-administered breath test, the license suspension period is 6 months. If your BAC was 0.08 grams percent or more, the license suspension period is 12 months. No limited use driving permit or early reinstatement is available to any driver under the age of 21. If this was your first DUI conviction, but your driver's license had previously been suspended due to an offense requiring a mandatory suspension such as hit and run, reckless driving, or any offense for which four or more points are assessable, the suspension period after a DUI conviction will be 12 months regardless of whether you submitted to a test or your blood alcohol level.
No limited use driving permit is available for drivers convicted of DUI drugs, whether illegal, over-the-counter, or prescription. If you were also charged with any other drug-related offenses, those charges may also carry license suspensions that will run consecutive to any active license suspension already on your record.
The license consequences for a second DUI conviction within 5 years is a 3 year suspension. No limited permit is available for the first 120 days. A limited permit may be granted after this period, but is conditioned upon the installation of an ignition interlock device for a minimum period of 8 months. In order to apply for an ignition interlock device limited permit you will have to present a certificate of eligibility from a drug court program or proof of enrollment in substance abuse treatment. A clinical evaluation must be completed prior to enrolling in a treatment program. The certificate of eligibility is only issued at the discretion of the judge during sentencing. The judge can decide to not issue the certificate for any reason. Any reason means that the Georgia DUI Consequences can include no driving at all in the event of a second DUI (or more) DUI in a 5 year period of time.
After the period expires requiring an ignition interlock device, you can apply for a limited permit without the ignition interlock device restriction. After 18 months, you will be eligible for early reinstatement of your full driving privileges if you provide proof that an ignition interlock device was maintained for period of 8 months or an order from the court exempting you from this requirement, proof of completion of a substance abuse treatment program (if required by the clinical evaluation), and a reinstatement fee.
The license consequences for a third conviction within 5 years is a 5 years license revocation. You will also be declared a habitual violator. After 2 years, you can apply for a probationary license to use for the remaining 3 year revocation period that may have restrictions as to the places, routes, and times you are allowed to travel. If you violate the terms of your probationary license, it will be revoked and you cannot reapply for a regular driver's license until the original 5 year revocation period has ended or for 2 years – whichever is greater.
There is Hope if You Are Charged With DUI in Georgia:
No Georgia DUI Consequence or Georgia DUI Penalty is a certainty. There are alternative punishments available. Your case may also be defendable. Having qualified Georgia DUI Lawyers makes all the difference. Our Georgia DUI Attorneys know how to defend your case and look for alternatives. You need to act now to protect your rights. Contact us today. We are here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, nights, weekends, and holidays because your problems need immediate attention.