Georgia DUI laws change every year and penalties get more severe, even for first DUI offense cases. A Georgia DUI misdemeanor requires mandatory jail time up to 24 hours, court fines, DUI classes, community service, and probation. A second or more DUI conviction means escalating penalties like up to 12 months in jail, thousands of dollars in fines, 240 hours of community service, total driver’s license loss, and other penalties decided by the judge based on the extenuating circumstances of your case.
Our goal at Kohn & Yager is to obtain a dismissal or reduction of your DUI charge so you can resume your life and be able to sleep soundly at night. In a nutshell, our DUI lawyers take the burden off your shoulders and shift it over to our shoulders.
A DUI conviction can mean loss of license, higher insurance rates, mandatory ignition interlock, travel limitations, and possibly jail time. Do not leave your charge to chance. Knowledge is power. Let’s go over some of the DUI basics!
Georgia Legal Limits
Drivers who consume alcohol or drugs to the point of impairment are Driving Under the Influence (DUI). Drunk driving is not something taken lightly by the State of Georgia. DUI laws are vigorously enforced and violations carry hefty consequences.
State law prohibits any person from operating a motor vehicle if he or she is under the influence of any substance—including alcohol, drugs, glue, and toxic vapors—that could potentially alter his or her ability to drive. In addition, this legislation also restricts the amount of alcohol a driver can have in his or her bloodstream when operating a vehicle (a measurement known as blood alcohol content, or BAC.)
Under the state’s blood alcohol content limits, driving with a BAC of 0.08% is considered grounds for an arrest. However, individuals under 21 can be charged with DUI if they are caught driving with a BAC of 0.02% or more. Commercial vehicle operators are also subjected to a BAC limit of just 0.04%.
Separated into two different categories, the testing can be defined as field sobriety tests or chemical tests. Field sobriety tests include: horizontal gaze nystagmus, stand-on-one-leg, walk-and-turn and finger-to-nose. These are generally considered inaccurate because they rely on an assumption that the suspect is in good physical health.
Chemical tests are typically more accurate, therefore more likely to be admissible in court. Blood alcohol content is obtained from testing blood, breath or urine. Though more scientific in nature, there are still good defenses for chemical test results.
Consequences of a First DUI Offense
1st offense DUI is a misdemeanor in Georgia. Although a misdemeanor conviction, the long-term DUI consequences and impact on your career, your driving privileges, and the cost of insurance can be immense.
If convicted you may face:
- Time in jail
- Hefty fines
- Community service
- Driver’s license suspension
- Random screening
You may be tempted to give up and just plead guilty, thinking that you have no chance of winning your DUI case anyway. However, it you settle for pleading guilty, you will definitely experience all of the criminal sanctions, loss of license, and civil penalties mentioned above.
Multiple DUI Offenses
If this is not your first DUI charge then you need to pay close attention. Second offenders may face a three-year administrative license suspension and ignition interlock. The potential administrative license suspension is raised to five years if a suspect is convicted a third time. Vehicle confiscation is probable upon a fourth conviction.
This is all in addition to higher insurance, greater fines and increased possibility of jail time. It should be obvious that if this is not your first DUI, your charges need to be taken even more seriously.
How a Georgia DUI Lawyer Can Help
There are many ways to reduce or potentially eliminate a DUI charge. But if you are considering not hiring a lawyer or just choosing a lawyer at random, you should probably think again. DUI law is one of the most complicated areas of law, partly because it’s always changing. In fact, the Georgia Code of DUI is some 40 pages long!
At Kohn & Yager, we have been practicing DUI defense across the state of Georgia for decades. We know the judges and prosecutors. We know how state troopers and local police officers operate. We know the ins and outs of the legal system and we know how to prepare effective and aggressive DUI defense.
What you need is a team of lawyers who work with DUI cases in Georgia just like yours every single day. You need lawyers that know the ins and outs of the courtroom, from what papers to file to suppressing wrongfully obtained evidence.
And you need a team of lawyers with a dedicated staff to help research and investigate your case from interviewing witnesses to speaking with police. The firm of Kohn & Yager is ready for your case!