Georgia DUI Penalties

DUI Penalties in Georgia

Georgia DUI PenaltiesEven though DUIs are usually classified as a misdemeanor crime in Georgia, a DUI conviction can affect the rest of your life. 

One of the most important decisions you make following a DUI arrest is which attorney to hire to help fight your case.

It is important to remember that if you have a pending DUI charge, you are innocent of the crime, and will remain innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt. 

The penalties can be severe, and that is why it is inadvisable to plead guilty without first talking to an experienced DUI lawyer to determine if one of the hundreds of defenses could get you a more favorable result.

DUI Lawyers, like the Law Office of Adam D. Brown, LLC, can evaluate your case and provide seasoned advice on how to proceed.

DUI First-Offense in Georgia

Your first DUI conviction in Georgia is a misdemeanor crime, and you could face up to twelve months in jail and a $1,000.00 base fine, plus numerous other statutorily mandated conditions.

Is there jail time or probation?

A first DUI offense is treated as a misdemeanor crime. The penalty includes a 12 month sentence, with a minimum of 24 hours in jail. Whatever non-jail time remains will be served on probation, and cannot be early terminated. While the judge can legally sentence you to serve up to 12 months in the county jail, you will normally spend the vast majority of the sentence on probation. 

During this time, you will be monitored by your probation officer, for which you will need to pay a supervision fee, usually around $50.00 per month while on active probation.

What are DUI fines and fees in Georgia?

A range of fines and other costs relate to DUI convictions:

  • A base fine of $300 to $1,000, which after surcharges range from $700 to $2,300
  • Approximately $350 for attendance at a Georgia DUI alcohol-use Risk Reduction Program 
  • Approximately $180 for a drug and alcohol evaluation, followed by the costs of any recommended treatment
  • License reinstatement fees (more about this below), that ranges from $210 to $410
  • Costs associated with alternative transportation if you receive a “hard” license suspension (i.e. no limited driving permit)
  • Additionally, most courts will require a Victim Impact Panel, which is $50

The extra charges on top of the fine associated with a DUI can easily double your total costs.

Is community service or counseling necessary?

First-time DUI offenders must complete 40 hours of community service work. 

What happens with your driver’s license after a DUI?

It is important to note that when you are arrested for a DUI in Georgie, there is a strong likelihood that TWO cases have actually begun. First, the obvious criminal case. Second, and often overlooked by drivers not represented by an attorney, is the administrative license suspension case, also known as the “ALS case.”

The most immediate of these two cases is the ALS case, where your license may be suspended anywhere from 30 days, up to a full year. You will need to take action to protect your Georgia license or Georgia driving privilege from an ALS suspension within the first 30 days following arrest.

If you are later convicted of a DUI in the criminal case, you will receive a further license suspension by the DDS in addition to the criminal penalties. A conviction-based license suspension for a first DUI within five years is 120 days. The five-year window is based on the time between arrest dates.

If you are over 21 at the time of your conviction, and your DUI offense is based on alcohol rather than drugs or a “combined influence,” your license will be suspended for 120 days, and you will most likely be eligible for a limited driving permit.

Getting your license back is not automatic, even after 12 months. The onus is on you to prove to the DDS that you warrant a reinstatement.

After 120 days, you are eligible to request license reinstatement by submitting the following documentation to the DDS:

  • A certificate of completion of a state-approved Risk Reduction Program (such as the DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program)
  • The reinstatement fee of $210 (or $200 if you’re requesting reinstatement by mail)

Note that for drug-related DUI, the license penalties are more stringent, and the 120-day suspension will be a “hard” suspension, meaning no limited permit will be available to you.

DUI Second-Offense in Georgia

What is a look-back period?

For a second or subsequent DUI conviction in Georgia, your penalties will depend partly on how far apart your convictions are.

This so-called “look-back” period extends from the date you were arrested for your first DUI (if you were subsequently convicted) to the date you were arrested for the latest offense.

The criminal penalties have a look-back period of ten years. If your two offenses occurred outside of this ten-year period, your second offense would actually be treated as a “first offense” in terms of the statutory minimum fines and jail time. Note, however, that judges can exercise discretion with this and may consider the previous offense when sentencing.

Complicating matters further, there is also a five-year look-back period for DDS license penalties.

Is there jail time or probation?

A second DUI offense within a ten-year period is treated as a misdemeanor, with a sentence of 12-months, with the first three days in county jail.

The remainder of the sentence will be spent on probation, for which you will have to pay supervision costs and be monitored by your probation officer.

What are the fines and fees for a DUI second-offense?

The fines and other costs relate to DUI second-offense charges include:

  • A fine of between $600 and $1,000 base fine (approximately $1,300 to $2,300 after surcharges)
  • Approximately $350 for attendance at a Georgia DUI alcohol-use Risk Reduction Program 
  • Approximately $180 for a drug and alcohol evaluation, followed by the costs of any recommended treatment (high probability of ASAM Level I treatment will be required)
  • License reinstatement fees 
  • Costs associated with fitting an Ignition Interlock Device (IID – more about this below) 
  • Additionally, most courts will require a Victim Impact Panel, which is $50

Is community service or counseling necessary?

Second-time DUI offenders must complete 240 hours of community service work. 

You will also need to be assessed for alcohol dependency by a clinical evaluator and take counseling sessions if recommended to do so.

What happens with your driver’s license?

As above, there are two potential license suspensions in a DUI case. The first is the ALS case, where you face anywhere from a 30-day suspension, up to a full year suspension. The second is if you are convicted of a second DUI. This conviction suspension is confusing to many non-DUI lawyers.

If your second DUI conviction within ten years is also your second DUI conviction within five years, your license will be suspended for 18 months. The first 120 days will be on a “hard suspension” basis (no driving). The next 12 months will be through an ignition interlock device limited driving permit. The final 2 months will be through the use of a limited driving permit. If you cannot afford to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle, you can request a “hardship waiver” from the Court, and instead serve a 12-month hard suspension.

After the initial 120 day “hard suspension,”  you may be eligible to request an ignition interlock device (IID) limited permit. This will allow you to drive to and from certain approved destinations, such as work or school, provided you have an IID installed in your vehicle.

You will need to show the DDS that:

  • You are enrolled in an accountability court or
  • You are participating in a state-certified alcohol abuse treatment program

After 18 months, you may be eligible to request license reinstatement by writing to the DDS and submitting the following documentation:

  • A certificate of completion of a state-approved Risk Reduction Program
  • The reinstatement fee of $210 (or $200 if you’re requesting reinstatement by mail)
  • Proof that you have had an IID fitted in your vehicle for one year, or proof of a hardship waiver

DUI Third-Offense in Georgia 

Is there jail time or probation?

A third DUI offence within the look-back period of ten years is usually treated as a “high and aggravated” misdemeanor. Penalties include a sentence no shorter than a 12 months and at least 15 days in county jail.

Most of the time will be spent on probation, for which you will have to pay supervision costs and be monitored by your probation officer.

What are the fines and fees?

A third DUI offense will incur the following fees:

  • A base fine of $1,000 to $5,000 ($2,300 to well over $10,000 after surcharges)
  • $350 for attendance at the DUI alcohol-use Risk Reduction Program 
  • Various other potential surcharges, including costs associated with fitting an IID

Is community service or counseling necessary?

Third-time DUI offenders must complete 240 hours of community service work and attend counseling sessions.

What happens with your driver’s license?

The DDS will revoke your license for five years (not just suspend it) and you will be classified as a “habitual violator” for a third DUI offense within 5 years.

Under certain conditions, you may be eligible for a probationary license after two years of license revocation if you can demonstrate that:

  • Not having a license causes extreme hardship (e.g., inability to get to work, school, or to receive necessary medical care)
  • You have not been convicted of other offenses within the two-years of license revocation

If you are successful in applying for a probationary license, it will come with stringent conditions attached. It may permit you to drive between designated locations and require an IID to be fitted to your vehicle.

DUI Habitual Violators in Georgia

As a “habitual violator” with multiple DUI convictions, you will be treated especially severely by the justice system in Georgia.

The following penalties may apply in addition to the DUI penalties already outlined above:

  • A felony charge if you drive after being declared an habitual violator
  • 1-5 years in prison
  • Extra fines
  • Surrender of license plates
  • Potential DUI Court
  • Probation revocation

Contact the Law Office of Adam D. Brown, LLC Today

If you have been charged with DUI, speak to an experienced attorney at the Law Office of Adam D. Brown, LLC.

After evaluating the details of your case, we will advise you of the best legal strategy and walk you through the process. Call (404) 418-6395 for a free case evaluation.

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