By: William C. Head, Atlanta DUI Attorney and Drunk Driving Book Author Since 1991
On this page you will learn about DUI charges first offense and the related Georgia DUI penalties. DUI punishment in the State of Georgia is among the nation’s toughest drunk driving laws.
Thus, even for a 1st offense DUI in GA you need to ignore cheap DUI lawyers near me. Your best bet is to retain experienced, successful Georgia DUI attorneys to have the very best shot at a reckless driving or other reduction of charges. Other motor vehicle crimes (not DUI) can be probated and the terminated early.
If convicted of DUI, first offense DUI penalties in Georgia under our state’s drinking and driving laws include license suspension, possible jail time and a permanent criminal record. Plus, many other DUI consequences and punishment for DUI GA are part of Georgia’s mandatory punishments.
For example, the misdemeanor DUI in Georgia 1st offense probation period is for a full year and cannot be shortened. Repeat offenses in Georgia dramatically increase as any new DUI offenses are added to a person’s criminal record and can torpedo your insurance rating.
DUI Laws in Georgia First Offense
What happens to first time DUI offense in Georgia? The DUI statute in Georgia, 40 6 391, has layers of complexity. In simple terms, it proscribes being behind the wheel and impaired when it is less safe for the person to drive. When an officer puts the cuffs on you, it is to take you to jail.
If the investigating law enforcement officer concludes that you are incapable of driving safely, he or she can arrest you. Under laws in Georgia, the suspected impairment can be from being under the influence of any drug, or toxic vapor. Commonly, sobriety tests are given by a law enforcement officer who investigates you, but the best DUI lawyers in Georgia know how to neutralize these.
The essence of a DUI case is that you are accused of either being “less safe” or incapable of driving safely. The Georgia Supreme Court has stated that impairment by ANY drug to the extent of impairment is enough to convict.
This especially applies to Georgia DUI laws and the related punishments for DUI, penalties and legal pitfalls that may not be clear to a non-lawyer. On July 1, 2008 the Georgia Legislature significantly changed our state’s DUI consequences under GA DUI law.
This was done by expanding the look back period to 10 years, and not 5 years, as existed before. The very harsh consequences of a third DUI offense (high and aggravated punishment) or 4th DUI felony have created a high urgency to hire only the best Atlanta DUI lawyers.
Plus, the administrative license suspension peril is very real. A seemingly insignificant issue, like advising you to take the State ignition interlock limited permit, when a better solution exists, can be disastrous for some drivers. You only have 30 days after your arrest date to act, and this can’t be solved (in many cases) by waiting until the last minute.
Then, be willing to be proactive and assist your DUI defense lawyer in your DUI in Georgia 1st offense! Remember, even on a 1st DUI you are fighting Georgia criminal laws and not a mere traffic infraction. Receiving a ticket for DUI is one of the serious driving offenses.
The consequences and implications go far beyond merely being guilty of a misdemeanor. In this page, the reasons to fight a Georgia law first offence DUI become apparent. The necessity to only retain an experienced DUI attorney Atlanta becomes crystal clear.
For a DUI in Georgia, How Much Jail Time for DUI?
When our office phones ring, and a person asks us “how long do you go to jail for DUI?” our immediate response is IF convicted it depends on prior DUI history and several other factors. Car crashes and traffic fatalities are some of the obstacles our lawyers in Atlanta must overcome on a regular basis.
This important part here is “if convicted.” Our law firm knows that our #1 job is to help our clients avoid conviction on the driving under the influence charge.
If you ever wondered, “how much is a DUI ticket,” or “do you go to jail for a DUI,” this page outlines those tough punishments, if convicted of a 2nd DUI in GA, 3rd DUI offense in GA or 4th DUI conviction.
Georgia DUI sentencing laws for drunk driving rapidly increase in mandatory minimum punishments for those who reoffend. For those asking, can you go to jail for a DUI,” the truth is YES. But, and jail time or DUI costs at court are a mere pittance, compared to insurance premium hikes and future job challenges you will face with a first DUI in GA.
DUI Laws in GA: How Bad Is a First DUI in Georgia?
Clients often ask our law group: “What is the DUI first offense jail time?” Our answer is, “only if convicted of impaired driving, as a general rule.” Our law firm’s stated goals are to keep you driving and NOT have a DUI on your record.
Before you search for DUI lawyers near me, by understanding what you are facing, in a DUI first offense, you will be aware of the worst punishment, and be cognizant of the LIFETIME criminal record that a drunk driving conviction creates. You need a lawyer near me, but not all criminal defense lawyers are experienced and best equipped to fight for the optimal outcome of a DUI in GA. which is found in the impaired driving code section GA: 40-6-391.
Even if this is your 1st offense DUI arrest ever, do not think that DUI is no big deal. Don’t think that the judge will be lenient on you because this is your “first DUI,” since Georgia criminal laws are among the toughest driving under the influence statutes in America. So, the judge can’t do much to help a first time DUI in GA.
For the last two decades, the nolo contendere plea has been virtually unavailable to drivers and does not prevent the offense being listed as a “conviction.” For this reason, retaining legal counsel IMMEDIATELY is critical, to protect the evidence that may otherwise disappear.
Plus, not only do our State’s laws cover driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, but also other substances and chemicals of ANY type, including noxious vapors (like sniffing glue). The license suspension for DUI-drugs is far tougher than for alcohol. Plus, the education programs used by some judges for DUI-drug offenses is more costly and time-consuming.
The Georgia Legislature has seen fit to increase punishments within the Georgia Code for several categories of motorists, including the commercial driver (who has a CDL license and is in a big rig truck, bus or other commercial motor vehicle, as defined by GA laws). Underage drivers suffer more lengthy suspensions, as do any citizens convicted of DUI-drugs.
Administrative License Suspension Often Follows a DUI Arrest in Georgia
Plus, for over forty years, DUI laws in GA have authorized officers to seize your driver license as part of a DUI arrest. This occurs as an administrative license suspension proceeding wherein the State of Georgia DDS seeks to suspend for a refusal to submit to implied consent breathalyzer testing (e.g., alcohol breath test).
If your driver license was taken and replaced by a piece of paper CALL our lawyers in Atlanta NOW, to try to avoid being suspended. 404-567-5515. The lawyer consultation is FREE.
Georgia laws call any post-arrest blood, breath or urine collection under implied consent laws a “chemical test.” Another type of administrative driver license suspension can be imposed for taking the test and being over the legal limit.
In addition, special rules apply to any driver under 21 years of age or operating a commercial motor vehicle. For those under 21 years old, any DUI conviction causes a “hard” suspension, meaning “no limited permit.” For a CDL driver, he or she cannot operate a big rig or other commercial vehicle on a paper license., under federal regulations.
First Offense DUI Benefits and Limitations Compared to a Conviction of a 2nd DUI in GA
Their next concern is that they save their drivers’ license. Depending upon whether the driving under the influence case was based on alcohol or drug quantities in the person’s system, the driver’s license punishment can be greater for DUI-drugs. Plus, a six-month period of NO DRIVING applies to a 1st offense DUI-drug conviction.
On all first offense D.U.I. cases the availability of driving privileges (this is called early reinstatement) will require the driver to two things. First, obtain a clinical evaluation from a state-approved counselor, to identify possible addiction issues.
Second, a reinstatement fee is required to be paid to Georgia DDS. This is true whether the driver is age 21 or over at the time of the case disposition. But, a D.U.I. in Georgia first offense under 21 may be delayed in regaining his or her driver’s license.
A DUI refusal of implied consent testing, after being arrested, can lead to total loss of all driving privileges for 12 months at the Georgia Department of Driver Services (Georgia DDS.) Any driver who (at the time of the guilty plea or trial resulting in a DUI conviction) is under age 21 cannot get a limited permit, even after a 1st offense DUI. A 1st offence DUI driver in Alabama could, but not Georgia.
Drunk Driving Laws in GA
This article explains implied consent law, and its special statutory provisions under OCGA 40-5-55, 40-5-67.1 and other statutes. All such provisions relate to an arrested citizen who is facing a DUI Georgia. He or she will be asked by the arresting officer (post-arrest) to agree to submit to additional chemical testing to determine his or her blood alcohol content (BAC). For suspected drugged driving, a blood extraction will be sought in order to determine the person’s concentration of drug levels.
A Glimpse of Georgia Driving Under the Influence Laws: 1st DUI Through 4th DUI
For a quick glance of DUI penalties in the Peach State, see this GA DUI grid sheet.
No matter what negative impact a DUI 1st offense may bring, the DUI penalties for a second offense DUI jump significantly. For example, community service for a 1st GA DUI is 40 hours, the jail time minimum is 24 hours, if a blood alcohol or breath alcohol forensic result shows 0.08 grams percent or more at any time within three hours of the driving ending. DUI fine cost is between $300 and $1,000 plus surcharges and add-ons.
By contrast, a DUI second offense goes up to 30 days of community service, or 240 hours plus not less than 72 hours in jail. A 3rd Georgia DUI takes the mandatory jail sentence to 15 days.
A 2nd DUI in GA (or subsequent conviction) can virtually make a person unemployable, for most jobs. Plus, a third DUI in 5 years will take away the entire ability to drive for at least 2 full years. The 4th drunk driving charge is a felony DUI, if within 10 years, based on dates of arrest.
To explain how this may be accomplished in your DUI case, our DUI law firm offers:
FREE lawyer consultation with a PARTNER, with over 1,000 DUI cases under his belt;
Attorneys’ fees payment plans;
24-hour lawyer availability;
Our lawyers in Georgia prefer to meet you in person, or by way of video conference;
Payment in cash, credit cards, or bank wire transfer;
FREE PDF copy of Mr. Head’s 430-page book, written for DUI clients;
Why Choose Our DUI Lawyers for a 1st DUI?
The three Georgia lawyers at our law office are true DUI specialists. No matter which law firms near me you investigate, no other criminal defense lawyers in Atlanta will have better credentials for drunk driving defense, so why settle for a less qualified and experienced criminal lawyer near me?
Ex-cop Cory Yager, AVVO superstar Larry Kohn (over 470 attorney ratings), and Georgia’s recognized leader in DUI defense, William C. “Bubba” Head, with 43 years of aggressive criminal law practice to his credit. All three Georgia drunk driving attorneys have been named to multiple Super Lawyers lists, and all three are published law book authors on drunken driving defense.
Helpful Information About Criminal GA DUI Laws and Our Georgia DUI Attorneys
Main statute: O.C.G.A. 40-6-391
Georgia DUI schools for Risk Reduction DUI classes
DUI Testing Statute: O.C.G.A. 40-6-392
Felony Vehicular Homicide: O.C.G.A. 40-3-394
Felony Serious Injury by Vehicle: O.C.G.A. 40-3-394
Links About Administrative License Suspension
Implied Consent Statute: O.C.G.A. 40-5-55
DUI meaning: The many DUI-DWI acronyms used in other states: DWI, OUI, OWI, OVI, DWAI, DUII, DWUI, OMVI.
Helpful Georgia DUI infographic
Helpful blood alcohol level chart
Best Law Firms in America:
Bubba Head is Board-Certified by the National College for DUI Defense