Georgia First-Time DUI Laws
Georgia DUI laws have strict penalties for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Georgia's driving under the influence statutes do not allow for expungement or record restricting at all, making it one of the states with the strictest driving laws in the country. No matter what the case may be, even first-time DUIs should be taken seriously.
A first DUI conviction can lead to jail time, heavy fines, license suspension, probation, and other long-term consequences that will affect your personal and professional life. Repeat offenders with prior DUI convictions are subject to harsher sentences.
The DUI lawyers at Brett Willis Law LLC, in Gwinnett County, can advise you and prepare the strongest defense possible to minimize your first DUI penalties.
What Happens at DUI Arrests in Georgia
If you are stopped on suspicion of DUI, the law enforcement officer will question you and ask for your Georgia driver's license. You will then be requested to perform a field sobriety test or field breath test (breathalyzer) test. A DUI arrest will result if some of these tests show that your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08 grams or higher than the legal limit or if the officer believes there is enough evidence for an arrest.
In addition to your driver's license being confiscated, you will also receive a yellow DS-1205 form. This form serves as both a temporary driving permit and an explanation of how you can appeal your license suspension, and you must carry it at all times while driving.
It is important to note that Georgia law does not require drivers to take a field sobriety test during a traffic stop. You can refuse these tests without facing any legal consequences of choosing not to take them. However, your actions may be subject to administrative penalties.
Your priority should be to minimize jail time and get out on bond as soon as possible. At this stage, it's a good idea to contact criminal defense lawyers if you have not already. They can help with the bail bond procedure, assess your case immediately, and prepare your DUI defense.
Penalties for a First-Time DUI in Georgia
A wide range of penalties can be imposed, ranging from:
Fines of up to $1,000
40 mandatory community service hours
Permanent or temporary suspension of your driver's license
A limited driving permit
Jail for up to 12 months
Counseling and treatment programs such as an alcohol education program.
Additionally, a first DUI charge could result in other long-term personal consequences, such as a permanent criminal record and reputational damage.
In light of these penalties, it is crucial to seek the assistance of a Gwinnett County DUI lawyer.
Does Georgia Suspend Your License Immediately After a DUI Arrest?
Following a Georgia DUI arrest, a license suspension is standard. The Administrative License Hearing can be requested within 30 days of your arrest with the assistance of your lawyer.
Temporary driving permits are only valid for 45 days following an arrest for DUI. Upon receiving confirmation that a final ruling has yet to be reached from the Office of State Administrative Hearings (OSAH), your temporary driving permit can be extended for an additional 90 days.
Extending the driving permit within 45 to 90 days of receiving the 30-day letter is usually necessary.
Additionally, you can install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle, which only allows the car to start after you provide a clean breath sample.
Reinstatement of Driving Privileges After Your First-Time DUI
For a first DUI offense in 5 years, a 12-month suspension will apply. Upon meeting all the conditions listed below, a driver can apply for reinstatement at the end of 120 days. To be eligible for reinstatement, the following requirements must be met:
The license must have been suspended for a minimum of 120 days at the time of application for reinstatement;
An applicant must provide a certificate of completion of a DUI alcohol or drug use risk reduction program approved by the Department of Driver Services.
The applicant must pay the reinstatement fee
Is a First Offense DUI a Felony in Georgia?
Typically, most DUI convictions in Georgia are classified as misdemeanors. However, if you cause death or severe injury while driving while impaired, you can be charged with felony DUI as a first-time offender under Georgia DUI law.
Felony DUI offenses resulting in severe injury or death are punishable by a prison sentence of three to fifteen years, even for a first offense. If you are facing felony DUI charges, it is vital that you seek legal assistance from a criminal defense attorney with experience.
A First DUI Offense: What Defenses are Available?
There are several ways to defend and potentially have a DUI charge dismissed. These include the following:
Challenge the legality of the DUI traffic stop
Challenge the probable cause element of the traffic stop
Challenge the delivery of the Miranda rights
Attack the roadside field sobriety tests, breath test readings, and blood tests
How an Attorney Can Assist with Your DUI Charges
An arrest for DUI can be frightening, but we're here to help. However, you can make a difference in your case by having a skilled DUI lawyer. With their help, you may be able to negotiate a plea bargain and ensure the best possible outcome for your case.
You have a better chance of beating DUI charges if you contact an experienced DUI lawyer as soon as possible after you are stopped on suspicion of DUI. First-time DUI offenders would benefit from the assistance of an attorney who is highly skilled at building their cases and giving them the highest chance possible of winning their cases.
Contact Brett Willis Law, LLC today if you have any questions about DUI convictions in Georgia. We provide quality legal representation to clients facing a wide range of crimes, including DUI and drug crimes. We can help you through the process and get you back on the road as soon as possible.