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Understanding DUI Laws in Georgia

Georgian DUI Laws

Being pulled over on suspicion of DUI is a nerve-racking and unsettling experience. Many consequences are associated with DUI in Georgia, including jail time, heavy fines, counseling, and a license suspension. Additionally, DUIs can be classified as either misdemeanors or felonies. An arrest for a felony may hinder one's job prospects, housing opportunities, and credit opportunities.

Additionally, there is a possibility that you may be over the legal alcohol limit without being aware of it. As such, it is helpful to be familiar with Georgia DUI laws to prepare you for such a situation.

Do not risk your freedom by representing yourself or hiring a general practitioner. Instead, make sure you hire a DUI defense attorney with significant experience.

What Does Driving Under the Influence Mean?

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a criminal offense in Georgia. Georgia DUI laws outlaw the driving of a vehicle:

  • If the driver is "under the influence" of any alcohol, drug, or controlled substance

  • If a driver operates a motor vehicle when their blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08% or greater (0.02% or more if the driver is under 21 years of age)

  • With any amount of marijuana or illegal drugs in your blood or urine

Drivers who are less safe to drive due to alcohol or drugs are described as "under the influence." A person may also be found guilty of a per se DUI if their blood alcohol concentration is .08% or higher, regardless of their actual level of impairment.

DUI prosecution in Georgia is more complicated for the State. Defending someone's innocence requires rigorous attention to detail and strict compliance with procedural requirements, as well as proving their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. A local DUI lawyer can be of great assistance if you are facing a DUI in Gwinnett County. By preparing your DUI Defense, they can minimize the severity of the charge.

The Best Way to Respond if You're Suspected of DUI

It is best to cooperate with the law officer in this situation. Maintain a relaxed and calm composure. Avoid responding aggressively or being cocky. When answering questions, give a minimal amount of information.

When asked by a police officer, you must lower your window, show your ID, driver's license, and insurance papers, and may be patted down.

Georgia state law does not require you to undergo a field test or answer any questions regarding your drug or alcohol use. Politely inform the officer that you would prefer not to answer the question or undergo the tests. If the police officer presses you further, you can ask if your lawyer should be called.

Upon arrest, the arresting officer must read your Miranda rights to you. Law enforcement officers in Georgia are required by law to administer a chemical test if they have probable cause to suspect that a driver is impaired. All drivers are automatically subject to this implied consent law.

Contact a Gainesville DUI lawyer as soon as possible to get assistance with your DUI case.

What Happens to Your Right to Drive Once Charged with DUI?

In Georgia, once you are charged with DUI, your Georgia driver's license is automatically suspended. In order to keep your license, you must either apply for an administrative license suspension hearing with the Georgia Department of Driver Services within 30 days of the suspension or install an ignition interlock device.

The administrative hearing is entirely separate from the criminal trial. You must appear at the hearing for your driving privileges to be restored. The filing fee for this hearing is $150. Depending on the outcome of the hearing, the license could be suspended or revoked. Failure to file for the hearing or to install the ignition interlock device within the period will result in your Georgia driver's license suspension.

Under Georgia's implied consent law, if you refuse to take a breath, blood, or urine test and do not request a hearing, your license will automatically be suspended for 12 months.

Georgia Implied Consent Laws

Georgia's Implied Consent Law requires drivers to submit to chemical tests administered by the state to determine whether they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Refusing the test will result in the driver's license being suspended for one year. In addition, if you are convicted of a DUI after refusing to take a chemical test, you will not be eligible for a limited driving permit.

What Are the Consequences of a DUI Conviction?

An arrest for DUI in Georgia can result in a fine of $1,000 and a jail sentence of up to 12 months for a first offense. The minimum punishment is 24 hours in jail, although this may be waived, and a $300.00 fine. In addition to 40 hours of community service, 12 months probation, substance abuse treatment, and successful completion of a DUI alcohol or drug use risk reduction course (DUI School) or DUI education program, community service can also be ordered.

In the case of young adults under 21 who have BACs less than 0.08 grams, or who refuse to take the state test, no jail time is required, but 20 hours of jail time is. A judge can, however, exercise discretion regarding jail time. Community service is required if your blood alcohol concentration is 0.08 grams or higher.

The severity of the consequences increases with the number of prior DUI convictions. Consequences become more serious as repetition increases.

Second DUI convictions within ten years are punishable by a fine of $1,000 and up to 12 months in jail. If a third DUI conviction occurs within ten years, the crime is elevated from a misdemeanor to a high and aggravated misdemeanor. This can result in a maximum of 12 months in jail and a $5,000.00 fine.

Georgia's DUI penalties can be significant and can result in lost time, heavy fines, jail time, damage to your reputation, and a criminal record. Therefore, if you have been charged with DUI, it is imperative that you consult with a professional DUI defense attorney in your area.

A good attorney can build a solid criminal defense for you. Depending on the facts of your case, they may even be able to clear you of the charge.

DUI Defense At Brett Willis Law

DUI convictions are serious business. You can contact Brett Willis Law LLC if you are facing a DUI charge in Gwinnett County. Our attorneys can assess your unique circumstances and craft a custom defense to minimize the consequences for you. Our team also has significant experience in drug crimes defense. To begin your DUI defense, schedule a consultation today.

This is your life. Let us fight for it.

If you are facing criminal charges, you are in the right place. Give us a call at 770.249.4405, or send us a message.