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An Overview of Georgia DUI Laws

April 22nd, 2022

It is unlawful to operate a motor vehicle with a BAC of .08% or greater nationwide. The state of Georgia is particularly harsh with their DUI punishments and much like other criminal offenses; you will need a competent attorney to help you retain your driving privileges and your freedom.

All across the nation DUI has drawn major attention from the media as well as local communities. The state of Georgia happens to have some of the harshest penalties attached to a DUI conviction, and law enforcement, judges and prosecutors are enthusiastic about pursuing a conviction at all costs.

If you were recently arrested for DUI in Georgia, then you are probably wondering what types of sentencing and punishments you are facing. Keep in mind that the majority of DUIs are prosecuted as misdemeanor offenses; however, under aggravating conditions, even a first time DUI can be prosecuted as a felony offense.

It is against the law to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of.08% or greater in the United States. In Georgia, the threshold for commercial drivers is set lower at.04% and.02% for underage drivers.

Under Georgia’s impaired driving laws and penalties, a first time DUI offense may include: up to 1 year in jail, fines ranging from $300 to $1,000, up to 1 year license suspension, 40 hours community service and a $210 license reinstatement fee.

On a second DUI offense within five years of the first offense the penalties may involve: from 48 hours to 1 year in jail, from $600 to $1,000 in fines, three years driver’s license suspension, minimum 30 days community service, $210 set license reinstatement fee, treatment program at the offender’s expense, a mandatory clinical evaluation and if indicated, the completion of a substance abuse program.

The penalties increase for every subsequent DUI offense. The state of Georgia also has an open container law. The law goes on to define an “open alcoholic beverage container” as any bottle, can, or other receptacle that contains any amount of alcoholic beverage and: (1) is open or has a broken seal; or (2) the contents of which are partially removed. Georgia law makes it unlawful for anyone (event a passenger) from consuming an alcoholic beverage or possessing an open container anywhere inside the passenger area of the vehicle which is on the roadway or on the shoulder of any public highway. Anyone who violates this law is subject to a fine not to exceed $200.

Anyone who is convicted of DUI is required to complete a DUI Drug or Alcohol Risk Reduction Program in addition to a clinical evaluation. If treatment has been indicated by the evaluator, then the offender will be required to undergo treatment as directed. Additionally, anyone who is convicted of impaired driving on a second or subsequent offense within (5) years will be required to install an ignition interlock device. The only exception would be where the court deems the person exempt if they cannot afford the monthly fees associated with the device.

If you have been arrested for DUI, it’s important to understand that DUI charges are not hopeless. In many cases DUI cases can be successfully challenged and won. The sooner you hire an attorney to defend you, the greater your chances of retaining your driver’s license and staying out of jail.