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Georgia DUI Law

It is illegal to drive in Georgia while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol to the extent that it becomes “less safe for the person to drive.” It is also illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or greater.

The standard for operating a commercial vehicle is a BAC of .04 or greater.

If you are under 21, it is illegal to drive a vehicle with a BAC of greater than .02. The same jail terms that apply to convictions for drivers over the age of 21 also apply to those under 21, however if you are under 21 you may serve your jail time exclusively on weekends.

Penalties

First Conviction:

First offender status applies if you do not have a conviction in the last five years. The following sanctions apply:

- A fine of $300 - $1,000.

- The possible jail term is 10 days – 12 months. The judge may suspend, stay, or impose a term of probation for all but 24 hours of this imprisonment. If the sentence is less than 12 months, you will be placed on probation for the remainder of that period (for example: if the jail term is 1 month, you will serve 11 months of probation).

- At least 40 hours of community service.

- Completion of a DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program.

Second Conviction.

The following penalties apply for the second conviction in a five year span:

- A fine of $600 - $1,000.

- Imprisonment for 90 days – 12 months. The judge may suspend, stay, or impose a period of probation for all but 72 hours of the term. If the jail term is for less than 12 months, a sentence of probation will attach for the remaining time period.

- Not less than 30 days community service.

- Completion of a DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program.

- Submission to a Clinical Evaluation at a facility to diagnose substance abuse and dependence and successful completion of the recommended treatment.

Third & Subsequent Convictions.

The third and subsequent convictions in a five year span are high and aggravated misdemeanors. They are subject to the following penalties:

- A fine of $1,000 - $5,000.

- Imprisonment for 120 days – 12 months. The court may suspend, stay, or impose a period of probation for all but 15 days of the term. If the jail term is less than 12 months, the remainder of those 12 months will be attached as probation.

- Not less than 30 days of community service

- Completion of a DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program.

- Submission to a Clinical Evaluation at a facility to diagnose substance abuse and dependence and successful completion of the recommended treatment.

Driving with a Passenger Under the Age of 14

If you are convicted of a DUI and have a passenger under the age of 14 in your vehicle the prosecutor may charge you with Endangering a Child by Driving Under the Influence. The first and second offenses are subject to fines of up to $1,000 and/or up to 12 months in prison. The third and subsequent convictions are subject to fines of $1,000 - $5,000 and/or 1 – 3 years in prison.

DUIs Causing Serious Bodily Harm

A DUI resulting in the serious disfigurement or brain damage of another person is punishable by 1 – 15 years in jail.

DUIs Causing Death

A DUI resulting gin the death of another is punishable by 3 – 15 years in jail. If the offender is a “habitual offender” (has more than 3 convictions in the past 5 years), the jail term is 5 – 20 years.

Refusal to Submit to Chemical Testing

If you are arrested or involved in a traffic accident resulting in serious injuries or fatalities, Georgia law presumes that you have given your consent to blood, urine, or breath testing for blood alcohol concentration. However, you may still refuse to submit to this testing. If the arresting officer has reasonable grounds to believe that you were driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, he will file a report and the Department of Motor Vehicles will suspend your license for one year.

License Suspensions

First Offense:

12 months. You may apply for a reinstated license after 120 days if you have completed a DUI program and paid a restoration fee of $210.

Second Offense in Five Years:

3 years. You may apply for license reinstatement after 120 days if you have completed a DUI program and paid a restoration fee of $210.

Third Offense in Five Years: The state will label you a ‘habitual offender’ and rescind your license for five years.