DUI Laws in the State of Georgia

The DUI law in Georgia allows the prosecution of those convicted of a DUI- alcohol to be done in several ways. Usually it is up to the state to prove that a driver was driving in an unsafe manner due to over-consumption of alcohol. The prosecution of a DUI can be pursued even with the absence of a breath, blood or urine test to verify the actual alcohol content of that person. Because of a change in wording of Georgia’s DUI laws (prior to July 1, 2001), it eliminated the inference that a blood alcohol level of .08% or higher impaired all drivers, this change gives the prosecutor and advantage at trial.

The second way the State may prove a DUI is by the administering of a chemical sobriety test, the results will prove if blood alcohol limit is over the legal amount. In proving this type of DUI, the State does not have to prove unsafe driving or that any drunken driving condition existed at the time of arrest. For drivers under the age of 21 years of age at the time of arrest you can be charged with a blood alcohol content level of just .02% or after drinking one drink. For commercial vehicle drivers you can be charged with a blood alcohol content of only .04%. The State allows this test to be given within 3 hours of driving, when the alcohol in the person’s system was consumed BEFORE the driving ended.

A first time offense of a DUI is considered to be a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of $300 – $1000 plus fees and assessments that can add an additional 20 – 25% to the final fine. Jail time of 10 days to 12 months (all jail time but 24 hours of the sentence may be suspended). The 24 hours jail time is mandatory for everyone but those first time offenders whose chemical test (blood, breath or urine) was less than the .08% limit. Those who refuse testing may be eligible for a “no jail time” sentence, but it would be up to the judge to apply this new law. Drivers under the age of 21 may serve their time on the weekends or during non-working hours separate from the other prisoners; this only applies to first time offenders. In addition, 40 hours of mandatory community service as a minimum is required. Those under the age of 21 with a blood alcohol content level of less than .08% would be required to serve a minimum of 20 hours community service with the exact number of hours being determined by the sentencing judge. You would also be required to attend a mandatory 20 hours DUI driving school program at the cost of approx. $175 plus a $75 assessment fee. License suspension for one year with only a “work permit” granted for those over the age of 21 with a Georgia license. However, 120 days after a DUI conviction, license suspension and completion of a DUI driving school program the driver may apply for license reinstatement for a fee of about $200.

DUI offenders that are caught driving under the influence repeatedly are also subject to fines, jail time (which may be served in a halfway house, a drug and alcohol treatment facility or even through home detention where you must be at home and monitored). Community service, alcohol and drug assessments and treatment if it is deemed necessary. Participation in another 20-hour risk reduction program, license suspension for three years without any limited privileges. A notice of conviction and a photograph will be taken of the offender and published in the local newspaper along with his/her name and personal information and they will be assessed the additional $25 to cover the ad cost. For second and subsequent offenders in a 5-year period the court will order the installation of a ignition interlock device for at least 6-months. The cost of the device and all maintenance to the device will be at the expense of the offender. They may also be subject to license plate confiscation.

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