DUI in Georgia: DUI Lawyers Near Me Explain Georgia DUI Laws

Georgia DUI less safe. Citizens who have been arrested for a first DUI in Georgia are shocked to learn how little they understood about an arrest for a Georgia DUI. Most are surprised to learn that the field sobriety tests are “junk science,” and are 100% optional.

The most common major error made by those arrested for DUI in Georgia is talking and answering police questions before (or after) being arrested. Nothing but your NAME and ADDRESS are required. The right to remain silent eludes too many citizens being investigated for DUI. No statute found in DUI laws in Georgia requires anyone to attempt field teats of any type.

Additionally, for those who took the implied consent test, every person should have asked for an independent test by medical personnel of their own choosing. This right for receive and pay for subsequent testing at a 24-hour Doc-in-the-box or emergency room is available to all who submitted to the State’s post-arrest DUI testing.

What’s a DUI “less safe?” Their traffic ticket often reports that they face Georgia DUI statute 40 6 391 (a)(1), for the crime of operating a motor vehicle while it was safe for the person to drive, due to alcohol consumption. These charges are based upon circumstantial evidence and not on a forensic test of blood, breath, or urine.

Reading over the arrest paperwork, the person charged with driving under the influence sees that (by not taking the post arrest testing offered by police) there was a violation of Georgia’s implied consent driving statute. By virtue of that non-compliance, he or she has only 30 days to either appeal the DUI refusal in Georgia or opt for a 12-month ignition interlock device. Otherwise, the accused Georgia driver will suffer a 1-year license suspension in GA.

Georgia DUI per se Alcohol Charges. For Georgia first DUI arrests where the arrested driver did submit to the officer’s requested breath test at the station, or a blood alcohol test, also had her or his driver’s license taken. Plus, if over the legal limit, she or he will receive similar Georgia DUI license suspension notification seeking to take that driver’s license. In these GA DUI first offense cases, the same thirty-day deadline applies, for those who appeal.

Yet, that person’s paperwork also shows that a charge for DUI less safe in Georgia was accused against that motorist who complied with post-arrest testing, as directed by the Georgia implied consent card. So, this person faces OCGA Section 40-6-391 (a) (5) charges and O.C.G.A. 40-6-391 (a)(1).

Why Do I Have Two DUI Charges in Georgia?

Most states allow a police officer making a DUI alcohol arrest to prosecute the accused motor vehicle operator in alternative ways. Other states, like South Carolina and Oklahoma, have DWI-DUI laws that require the prosecutor to “elect” which type of driving while intoxicated charge (i.e., per se DUI or “less safe” DUI) to accuse, in the criminal court case, and then move forward to trial and prosecute.

One way is for violating GA DUI laws, by being over the Georgia DUI limit, which is 0.08 grams percent, for adult drivers ages 21 and over. The other is that this same driver was also rendered “less safe” to drive by whatever amount of alcohol he or she imbibed, prior to this police encounter.

Is there a Different CDL DUI Limit? Yes, all CMV (commercial motor vehicle) operators while in a big rig truck, bus, school bus, or a high-capacity van (60 or more passengers) are held to a 0.04 BAC level.

Underage Drivers are Subject to the Georgia DUI Laws Zero Tolerance. Any vehicle operator under the age of 21 when arrested for DUI is held to a zero-tolerance standard. Since it is illegal for such drivers to possess alcoholic beverages, the Georgia Legislature enacted laws that holds them to a zero-alcohol level. Although that “number” reads as being 0.020 grams percent or less, this is half a beer for most young drivers, if smaller than 130 pounds.

Wording of the GA DUI Law, OCGA 40-6-391 and Its Six Main Subsections

The Different Ways the DUI can be Committed in Georgia

A person shall not drive or be in actual physical control of any moving vehicle while:

(1) Under the influence of alcohol to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive;

(2) Under the influence of any drug to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive;

(3) Under the intentional influence of any glue, aerosol, or other toxic vapor to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive;

(4) Under the combined influence of any two or more of the substances specified in paragraphs (1) through (3) of this subsection to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive;

(5) The person’s alcohol concentration is 0.08 grams or more at any time within three hours after such driving or being in actual physical control from alcohol consumed before such driving or being in actual physical control ended; or

(6) Subject to the provisions of subsection (b) of this Code section, there is any amount of marijuana or a controlled substance, as defined in Code Section 16-13-21, present in the person’s blood or urine, or both, including the metabolites and derivatives of each or both without regard to whether or not any alcohol is present in the person’s breath or blood.

On a person’s 1st in 10 DUI, the person found guilty of a misdemeanor can never have that conviction removed from their criminal history. The same is true for any subsequent convictions. This is the primary reason that many accused citizens do not hesitate to hire the best Georgia DUI lawyer who knows how to beat a DUI in Georgia.

A 2nd DUI in GA is also a misdemeanor, but a 3rd DUI within ten years constitutes a “high and aggravated” misdemeanor. Read below how this can be “habitual violator” if a conviction is for a 3rd DUI within 5 years.

DUI in GA: Each New DUI Offense Ramps Up Georgia DUI Punishments

DUI in GA ages 21 and over, a limited driving permit may be obtained by most (but not all) drivers facing a 1st DUI in GA. For offenders not licensed in the Peach State, a total loss of the ability to drive in Georgia may exist for at least 120 days.

  1. A person already suspended for a “refusal to be tested” administrative license suspension in the current driving while impaired case, based on an earlier DDS Georgia adverse ruling for an implied consent “refusal to be tested” can block that convicted driver from getting reinstates until the passage of one (1) full year has passed from the date that ALS suspension went into effect. A limited driving permit is not available to any driver under such administrative “refusal” suspensions.
  2. DUI classes (which are also called the Georgia “Risk Reduction” program), must be completed to EVER reinstate the offender’s full right to drive again in Georgia. Otherwise, at the end of 12 months from the conviction date, that driver can no longer legally operate a motor vehicle in GA.

This DUI class requirement applies to any driver, whether licensed in Georgia or not, when it comes to legally driving in Georgia. Georgia Department of Driver Services will accept a similar alcohol and drug education driving school certificate from sister states. These similar driving safety programs can supply suitable proof of completion of a Georgia DDS-approved program.

2nd DUI in Georgia. Georgia has a 10-year Georgia DUI lookback period for the criminal law aspects of a 2nd DUI case. The measurement is date-of-arrest to new date-of arrest. For all DUI convictions, getting any type of license back requires paying reinstatement fees to DDS GA.

However, the administrative law (implied consent-related) lookback period is for 5 years. This is very confusing to most repeat offenders, but can be explained by their legal counsel, in the context of how it will affect the accused person’s case.

Georgia DUI penalties for a second offender can be drastically harsher than the “slap-on-the-wrist” of a DUI first offense. The disruption caused by a DUI second offense is dramatic in many self-employed citizens’ lives.

Fines will go up sharply. Six times more community service will be ordered (240 hours or 30 days of community service). Mandatory 17 weeks (or more) of alcohol and drug treatment will be required. Minimum jail time says 72 hours, but judges in any county with a DUI court program will be holding a threat of 90 days of jail or 120 days (or possibly more) for the second offender, with other harsh terms and conditions being imposed for the remaining probation period.

All motor vehicle tags are confiscated at sentencing and are only returned when certain conditions are met. Your case disposition gets published in the local newspaper at your expense. These drivers have a 120-day total loss of ability to drive, followed by possibly qualifying for an interlock restricted permit. It will be 18 months (or longer) to be allowed to apply for a new plastic license.

3rd DUI in Georgia. The same harsh treatment as for second offenders within 10 years apples to 3rd offenders. Those who decline DUI school, if offered by that county, are looking at half a year or more behind bars.

Plus, this jail time is “high and aggravated,” which means that normal “good time” credit is not allowed. You can only get 4 days of “good time” for every 30 days of jail you serve.

However, if this is a third within 5 years, he or she gets served as a “habitual offender,” triggering a revocation of the driver’s entire driving privileges. That person must wait 5 years or more to start over and try to qualify for a new driver license.

In that interim period, no driving AT ALL can occur for the first 24 months, at a minimum. Later, by jumping through many hoops, some ignition interlock restricted driving may be possible on a probationary license.

Felony 4th DUI in Georgia if this is 4 DUIs within 10 years. A Georgia felony DUI brings potential State prison time of up to 5 years in prison. Fines and surcharges can reach $10,000. Community service hours go up to 480 hours. See the full list of court-ordered punishments for felony DUI in Georgia on the Georgia DUI Chart provided here.

What other Georgia DUI Law Firm specializing in DUI Defense has Three DUI Law Book Co-Authors?

Our three legal book co-authors are multiple time recipients of annual Georgia Super Lawyers recognition. Also, being highest ranked by Martindale-Hubbell, our lawyers for DUI near me are as well-versed on drunk driving laws as any Georgia DUI attorneys. To talk about fee payment plans and obtain a FREE lawyer consultation, contact us at 404-567-5515 today.

Let our legal professionals help you make the RIGHT decision about fighting your GA DUI case. If you are interested in having one of our partners aggressively FIGHT for you, will an all-out effort to keep a DUI off your permanent record, call today for your FREE consultation. Plus, see the links below, for more information.

How to get a Suspended License Reinstated, after an Administrative License Suspension in Georgia

Positive DUI GA Stories

Contact Information