DUI Sanctions in Georgia Can Be Severe
Any person arrested for DUI in Georgia will face serious, life-changing consequences. The sanctions for even a first offense DUI can include a license suspension, jail time, and a high monetary fine as well as other conditions. Richard Lawson has been defending people charged with DUI in Georgia for more than 25 years. He is a former DUI Prosecutor, and he is the most reviewed DUI Lawyer in Georgia. His reviews can be found on AVVO.
30 Day Warning!!
If you have been arrested for DUI in Georgia, you only have 30 days to request an ALS Hearing, or install an ignition interlock device. If you fail to act, your drivers license or privilege to drive in Georgia will be suspended up to one year. If you are an out of state driver, your privilege to drive in Georgia can also be suspended. You must act now to protect your right to drive. After 30 days, it may become impossible to save your license.
The maximum sanction for a first offense DUI in Georgia is a fine of $1,000 and 12 months in jail. The minimum mandatory sanctions for a first offense DUI is a fine of $300, 12 months probation, completion of a DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Course, 40 hours of community service, and a clinical evaluation and any recommended treatment. If your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was at or above 0.08 grams, a minimum of 24 hours in jail is also required, with credit for any time served at arrest.
If you are under the age of 21 at the time of conviction, 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.
A second DUI offense in Georgia within a 10 year period has a maximum sanction of 12 months in jail and a fine up to $1,000. The minimum sanctions are 72 hours in jail with credit for time served at arrest, 12 months probation, a fine of $600, 240 hours community service, completion of a DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Course, and a clinical evaluation and any recommended treatment.
If this is a second DUI offense within a 5 year period, other mandatory sanctions exist. 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.
If this is your third DUI offense within a 10 year period, you are facing maximum sanctions of 12 months in jail and a $5,000 fine. The minimum sanctions are 15 days in jail with credit for any time served at arrest, a $1,000 fine, 12 months probation, 240 hours community service, completion of a DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Course, and a clinical evaluation and any recommended treatment.
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.
What is Probation in Georgia?
Most People arrested for DUI, even if the case is reduced to a lessor charge such as reckless driving, will be put on probation. While on probation, people are subject to the special conditions of probation. Special conditions of probation include the terms of the person's sentence (such as payment of fines, community service, DUI School, etc). In addition to the specific special conditions, all persons on probation are subject to the general conditions of probation.
Probation generally requires the following conditions:
- Do not violate the criminal laws of any governmental unit.
- Avoid injurious and vicious habits – especially alcoholic intoxication and narcotics and other dangerous drugs unless prescr
- ibed lawfully.
- Avoid persons or places of disreputable or harmful character.
- Report to the Probation/Suspension supervisor as directed and permit such Supervisor to visit you at home or elsewhere.
- Work faithfully at suitable employment insofar as may be possible. Support your legal dependents to the best of your ability.
- Do not change your present place of abode, move outside the jurisdiction of the Court, or leave the State for any period of time without prior permission from the Probation/Suspension supervisor.
Probation will likely include monthly reporting sessions with your probation supervisor to ensure that you are completing all other conditions of your sentence in a timely and appropriate manner. You will likely also be required to submit to random drug and alcohol screens while on probation. Once you have completed all of the conditions of your sentence, your probation may become non-reporting at the discretion of the judge. It is best for your Georgia DUI Lawyer to ask for probation to be non-reporting or terminated upon completion of the special conditions. That must be done at the time of sentencing.
Probation is an alternative to serving a criminal sentence in jail provided that the probationer follows certain conditions. If you violate the terms of your probation, the consequences can be severe. The judge in your case may be able to revoke all or part of the remaining term of your probation. Probation will likely include monthly reporting sessions with your probation supervisor to ensure that you are completing all other conditions of your sentence in a timely and appropriate manner. If served notice of a probation violation or probation warrant, generally you cannot bond out of jail. You will have to wait for your hearing in custody.
A DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Course is commonly known as DUI school and is a 20 hour course that addresses substance abuse and its effects on driving. The cost of a DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction course is set by law. The total cost of the course is $292.00. This includes the Assessment Component ($82.00), the Intervention Component ($190.00), and a workbook ($20.00).
The Clinical Evaluation is an assessment conducted by a Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) approved, licensed or certified professional who is certified in the field of addiction. Based on their professional findings, the Clinical Evaluator may recommend treatment. Treatment means attendance and participation in the type of program recommended by the Evaluator.
Community service generally must be completed with a registered non-profit organization. Some courts require the community service be completed with a specific program or organization. In Gwinnett County, you may be asked to participate in the Work Alternative Program in order to complete the community service requirement of your sentence. Participants in the Work Alternative Program report to the Comprehensive Correctional Complex in the morning and return home at the end of the full 8 hour workday. Participants provide a supplemental labor force to government and non-profit agencies by performing such tasks as removing trash from roadsides, parks, school stadiums and park/ride lots.
Some courts require attendance at a Mothers Against Drunk Driving Victim Impact Panel. This is a two hour seminar that costs $50 and is held multiple days a month in many locations across Georgia. Attendees get to hear the stories of those whose lives have been permanently affected by an impaired or reckless driver or those affected by underage drinking.
Courts may also require attendance at a number of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. Alcoholics Anonymous offers peer counseling sessions to help one another attain and maintain sobriety. Sobriety is maintained through sharing experience, strength and hope at group meetings and through the suggested Twelve Steps for recovery from alcoholism.
ALS Hearings in Georgia
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.
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 DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction course (DUI school) and pay a reinstatement fee.
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.
Drivers Under 21 Years of Age in Georgia
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 & 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. Teenage DUI in georgia is a serious problem with serious penalties in Georgia.
You are facing a 3 year license suspension if this is your Second Georgia DUI conviction within 5 years. No limited permit is available for the first 120 days. If you enroll in a DUI Court program or complete 120 days of substance abuse treatment, you may be eligible for a limited permit after the initial 120 day period if the judge issues a certificate of eligibility. This is only issued at the discretion of the judge and the judge can decide to not issue the certificate for any reason.
The limited permit is conditioned upon the installation of an ignition interlock device for a minimum period of 8 months. 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, and a reinstatement fee.
You will be declared a habitual violator if this is your third DUI conviction within a 5 year period. This status imposes a 5 year license revocation. After 2 years, you can apply for a probationary license to use for the remaining 3 years of the revocation. The probationary license may have restrictions as to the places, routes, and times you are allowed to travel.
What Can Be Done If You are Arrested For DUI In Georgia?
If are arrested for DUI In Georgia, getting the Best Georgia DUI Lawyer is very important. There are many potential DUI Defenses in Georgia. However, cases will not defend themselves. Inaction will result in the waiver of defenses and a poor result in the case. Our Georgia DUI Lawyers are trained to get the best possible outcome in your case. Our Georgia DUI Attorneys know what it takes to fight your case. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, nights, weekends, and holidays to provide you immediate legal attention. Call now to start your best defense today.