DUI Attorneys in Cumming
What Are the Different Types of DUI Offenses in Georgia?
GA DUI Laws
Drivers in Georgia are prohibited from operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or more. The laws addressing DUI call for serious penalties to be levied in the event of a conviction, even for first-time offenders. These penalties increase exponentially for multiple DUI convictions, or offenses that involve an "aggravating" factor, such as an injury accident.
30 Day Warning Rule
If you have been arrested for DUI in our state, and have either tested over the .08% legal limit, or refused to submit to chemical testing, you have only 30 business days to notify the Georgia Department of Driver Services that you will be appealing the planned suspension of your Georgia drivers' license or the planned suspension of your ability to drive in the state.
Multiple DUI convictions can result in a person facing increased penalties. Any person who is arrested for a fourth (or higher) offense will face felony charges that can carry penalties including $5,000 in fines, 60 days of community service, mandatory enrollment in an alcohol treatment program, and up to 5 years in jail.
DUI Serious Injury
If you are driving while under the influence causes an accident that results in injury, your DUI offense becomes a felony, and you can face penalties that include large fines, restitution to the victim(s), and even time in state prison. You may also be hit with personal injury lawsuits from the injured party or the injured party's loved ones.
Leaving the Scene
If you have been in an auto accident, you are required by law to stop and provide aid (if possible), as well as give your information to law enforcement and the other individuals involved in the accident. If you fail to do this, you can be charged with hit-and-run, which becomes a felony offense when the accident has resulted in death or injury.
Breath & Blood Tests
Breath and blood tests are designed to measure the amount of alcohol in a person's bloodstream. They are administered during or after DUI stops to establish whether or not an individual was driving over the legal limit, which is .08%. Refusal to take a breath or blood test can result in the suspension of one's drivers' license or one's ability to drive within state lines.
BAC stands for "blood or breath alcohol content," which is the amount of alcohol that a person has in their breath or bloodstream. In our state, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a BAC that is higher than .08%. Currently, BAC can be measured by law enforcement in three different ways: a breath test, a blood test, or urine test. (Minors and CDL holders have lower legal limits.)
If you are arrested for DUI, it is possible that you will have your license suspended. License suspension can be included in your punishment if you are convicted, or it can occur as a result of an administrative license suspension following a DUI arrest. It is possible for you to schedule a hearing with the Georgia Department of Driver Services in order to appeal your suspension.
There are two basic types of DUI violations that you can face in our state: "Per se" and "less safe." If you are charged with a "less safe" violation, prosecutors must be able to prove that you were a less safe driver as a result of your intoxication in order to obtain a conviction.
Sobriety checkpoints are essentially "roadblocks" created by law enforcement in order to catch drivers who are driving while under the influence. These checkpoints are usually set up late at night or very early in the morning. If you have been arrested after being accused of DUI at such a checkpoint, it is recommended that you contact an attorney, as there is a chance that your rights have been violated.
BUI stands for "boating under the influence," and refers to the crime of operating a boat while possessing a BAC that is over the legal limit or being less safe. As BUI is considered very similar to DUI, many of the same penalties can be applied in the event of a conviction, including fines, mandatory rehabilitation classes, and jail time. In fact, while BUI crimes used to be considered "less" severe, in today's climate, they are punished on equal footing with DUI.
In addition to DUI, there are many serious traffic offenses that can result in the imposition of serious penalties, including reckless driving, speeding, hit and run, aggressive driving, driving without insurance, driving with a suspended license, following too closely, failure to yield, and passing a stopped school bus.
Georgia Driving Under the Influence Penalties
Minimum Penalties for 1st DUI
If you are convicted of the DUI charge and it is your first offense, then you will be subject- at a minimum- to all of the following as part of your sentence:
- 12 months on probation (per charge)
- A base fine of $300 - $1,000. (commonly $1,500-$2,000 after surcharges)
- Imprisonment for 24 hours to 12 months. Some judges will allow less than a required 24 hours, while others will not. We will certainly counsel you on the habits of your particular judge.
- Community service of 40+ hours.
- Completion of a DUI Risk Reduction Program, Victim Impact Panel, and other substance abuse counseling
- A clinical evaluation, and, if recommended, completion of a substance abuse treatment program (although the judge has some leeway to suspend this requirement).
- Random alcohol and drug testing (including calling or signing in daily)
Penalties for 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.
Remember too, these are just minimum punishments- nothing prevents a prosecutor from going above minimum thresholds and they commonly do. Second-offense DUI convictions carry:
- All requirements listed for a first DUI, plus;
- 90 days to 12 months in jail- commonly enforced
- Ignition Interlock device on your vehicle for 12 plus months
- Intensive probation
- At least 30 days of community service
- DUI Court referral (12-24 months court mandated treatment program)
Penalties for 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:
- All requirements listed for a first and second DUI, plus;
- A fine of $1,000 to $5,000.
- Imprisonment of at least 120 days, not to exceed 12 months.
- At least 30 days of community service
- Additionally, the notice and booking photograph requirement of a second offense apply to third-offense convictions.
Penalties for 4th Offense: FELONY DUI
If you are charged with and convicted of a 4th DUI, in a 10-year period of time, you are facing felony punishments under Georgia law. Those punishments are:
- All above requirements listed, plus;
- 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.
Why You Need a Cumming DUI Attorney
Auto accidents involving alcohol are responsible for thousands of injuries and deaths annually. In an effort to reduce the number of DUI offenses that take place in our state each year, as well as the accidents that often follow, law enforcement officials and prosecutors are aggressively pursuing and punishing those that do commit DUI crimes.
Unlike many other criminal offenses, DUI laws are written to place strict liability on offenders. It takes vigorous defense in a DUI case to clear a defendant of wrongdoing. If you have been arrested for DUI, you do not want to face your charges alone, as you do not have a chance of an equal fight. You will want to retain an experienced attorney who can utilize effective defense tactics in court in an effort to obtain the reduction or elimination of your charges.
If you have been arrested and charged with DUI, it is important that you contact a Cumming DUI lawyer at Zeliff | Watson who can provide you with legal representation in your case. Our attorneys have over 30 years of experience in practicing criminal defense, and have secured favorable results on behalf of many clients.
Contact a Cumming DUI attorney at Zeliff | Watson to DEFEND your DUI.