Generally, on a first DUI in Georgia, your license is suspended from anywhere between 4-12 months. However, this is not a bright line rule and your actual suspension time can depend on the court you are facing. Just last month, the Georgia Court of Appeals upheld a judge's decision to not let a defendant drive until permission was given by the trial court. The Defendant in the case was convicted of DUI at a jury trial and sentenced to a probated sentence to include no driving without the court's permission. In upholding the judge's decision, the Georgia Court of Appeals stated that trial judges are given "broad discretion in sentencing to impose conditions reasonably related to the nature and circumstances of the offense and the rehabilitative goals of probation."* Thus, courts in Georgia are allowed to impose more harsh restrictions on your license, even on a first DUI, than what the law requires.
The most common DUI driver's license issues occur when a client has multiple DUI convictions or took the state breath or blood test and had a very high result (.15+). Either of these situations will raise red flags and could have both the prosecutor and judge demanding more than the minimum license suspension. Options available to judge's include (1) not letting you drive at all, like in the case above, (2) requiring you to install and ignition interlock on your vehicle for a period of time, (3) restricting where and when you can drive during your probation time. More judges around Metro Atlanta seem to be requiring interlock devices on problematic DUIs, even if its a first charge. Some ways to approach these cases involve early alcohol abuse screening and evaluations and a proactive approach to possible treatment options.
If you have been charged with DUI and are concerned about just how difficult it will be to get your driver's license back, call our offices today to discuss your situation. We will go over the facts of your case, your history, and your particular court's approach to DUIs.
* The cited case isDurrance v. State, A12A1898 (February 22, 2013).