If you take the gamble and get behind the wheel of a car after having a few drinks, you run the risk of getting a DUI. DUI - driving under the influence -- is a serious offense that can change your life forever. If you are arrested and charged with a DUI, just how long will it stay on your record?
Understanding DUI in Georgia
In Georgia, it is against the law to operate a motor vehicle when you are impaired by drugs or alcohol. You will automatically be considered impaired when your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) exceeds .08 percent, or if you were driving a commercial vehicle, and in that case, the BAC is .04 percent or higher. For persons under the age of 21, the BAC legal limit is .02.
How many drinks does it take to elevate your BAC above the legal limit? It's hard to say with certainty. Everyone is affected by alcohol differently. As a result, many factors can affect your BAC, including the following.
- Food consumption
- Number of drinks
- Time between drinks
- Time since your last drink
How Long Will a DUI Affect Me?
Once you've been convicted of a DUI, you will have a blemish on your criminal record. Whenever someone runs a background check and/or asks about your criminal history, that person will see that you have had trouble with the law. Your DUI will also affect your car insurance rates and can be used as a sentencing factor if you are arrested for future crimes. However, your DUI does not necessarily have to haunt you forever. In some cases, your DUI will cease to be a factor on its own. In other cases, you will have to be proactive and take steps to clear your record.
DUI & Insurance: Your DUI will have an impact on your car insurance, and may have one for an untold number of years. But for at least the first three years after your DUI, you must carry SR-22 insurance in addition to auto insurance. An SR-22 is a form through your auto insurer that proves to the State of Georgia you have the minimum amount of required insurance. Your car insurance company may also choose to drop you, and though you will be able to find auto insurance from another insurer, the rates are likely to be high, and you will also have to complete an SR-22 form through the new insurer.
DUI & Sentencing: Your DUI can be a factor in any criminal proceeding for at least 10 years after your conviction. Judges have the discretion to impose harsher penalties because of your conviction. Once 10 years have passed, the DUI is no longer required to be used against you for criminal sentencing purposes. However, a judge or prosecutor may always consider your prior criminal history is determining an appropriate sentence. For people with multiple prior offenses, the "10-year look back" becomes irrelevant. People with multiple prior DUI offenses will surely have those convictions held against them.
DUI & Criminal Record: Your DUI will stay on your criminal record forever. Unlike many other states, in Georgia, a DUI is not a crime that can be expunged or the record restricted. If, however, you hire an experienced lawyer who is able to help you defeat your DUI charge, you can apply for records restriction. But again, records restriction is only for dismissed cases.
Fight DUI Charges in Georgia
Have you been arrested on suspicion of DUI in Georgia? Asserting a strong defense will limit the consequences of your arrest.Contact a Georgia DUI attorney today to request a free consultation and to learn more.