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Georgia DUI Laws

A DUI charge is no laughing matter. In Georgia, if you are convicted of a DUI - even if it's your first offense - you face mandatory jail time, in addition to steep fines and other punishments. If you have been charged with DUI, it's important that you immediately contact a DUI attorney who can defend you against a conviction and serious punishment. Here's how the DUI laws in our state work: each subsequent DUI charge within a ten-year period exposes you to ever-increasing penalties. The range of consequences for each successive DUI charge is laid out below.

1st DUI:

If you are convicted of the DUI charge, and it is your first offense, then you will be subject to all of the following as part of your sentence:

  • A fine of $300 - $1,000.
  • Imprisonment for 10 days to 12 months. If your blood alcohol concentration was 0.08 grams or more at the time of the offense, then you'll have to serve at least 24 hours of that sentence in prison. Otherwise, judges may suspend or probate the sentence.
  • Community service of 20 hours (where the BAC was less than 0.08 at the time of the offense) or 40 hours or more (for all others).
  • Completion of a DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program.
  • A clinical evaluation, and, if recommended, completion of a substance abuse treatment program (although the judge has some leeway to suspend this requirement).

2nd DUI:

The State of Georgia now looks back at your criminal record over the preceding ten years to determine how many DUI convictions you have incurred. If you have had a previous DUI in the 10-year period before your 2nd DUI arrest, your minimum punishments are greatly enhanced. Second-offense DUI convictions now carry:

  • A fine between $600 and $1,000.
  • Jail time - at least 90 days, not to exceed 12 months. Although the judge can order probation
  • In lieu of the full sentence for up to a total of twelve months, you'll have to serve at least 72 hours of your sentence in prison.
  • At least 30 days of community service.
  • Completion of a DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program.
  • Clinical evaluation and, if recommended, a substance abuse treatment program.

If that weren't enough, a public notice of your conviction will be printed in the newspaper, along with your booking photograph, and you have to pay $25 to cover the cost of that notice.

3rd DUI:

In Georgia, a 3rd DUI offense in a 10-year period is treated as a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature. If you are convicted of a 3rd DUI, Georgia courts are required to sentence you to a minimum of:

  • A fine of $1,000 to $5,000.
  • Imprisonment of at least 120 days, not to exceed 12 months. As with a second offense, the judge can order probation in lieu of a portion of this sentence, but a convicted defendant will have to serve at least fifteen days in prison.
  • At least 30 days of community service.
  • Completion of a DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program.
  • A clinical evaluation and, if recommended by the person conducting that evaluation, completion of a substance abuse treatment program.

Additionally, the notice and booking photograph requirement of a second offense apply to third-offense convictions.

4th Offense: FELONY DUI

If you are charged with and convicted of a 4th DUI, in a 10-year period of time, you are now facing felony punishments under Georgia law. Those punishments are:

  • A fine of $1,000 - $5,000.
  • Imprisonment of one to five years; the judge may probate a portion of that sentence, but you'll have to serve at least 90 days in jail.
  • At least sixty days of community service (although the judge may suspend this requirement if you are sentenced to three or more years in jail).
  • Completion of a DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program.
  • Clinical evaluation and, if recommended, completion of a substance abuse treatment program.

As with all DUI convictions, felony DUI means that a notice of your conviction will be published, along with your booking photograph, and that you will bear the $25 cost of that notice. This is in addition to whatever fine is assessed against you as part of the punishment.

DUI Lawyer in Forsyth County

As you can see, a DUI is a serious matter. The potential consequences are severe and, in many cases, mandatory if you are convicted. It's a good idea to seek immediate representation from the experienced attorneys at Zeliff | Watson if you are facing a charge of driving under the influence in Georgia.

Charged with DUI? Contact a DUI lawyer who is prepared to defend you in a criminal court.

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Arrested for DUI? Let us help you.

I have been a client of Evan Watson on a number of several complicated charges. He always went above and beyond to assure I was happy and is understanding while working your case. I would recommend him to anyone I know for any criminal defense! - Evan Watson is amazing!!!!
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