Georgia DUI 101
Georgia DUI laws are in place to keep reckless and intoxicated drivers off the road in the Peach State.
What Constitutes a Georgia DUI?
For a Georgia DUI, a driver younger than 21 years of age must have a blood alcohol content of at least .02 percent. A driver age 21 or older must have a blood alcohol content of at least .08 percent. And a commercial driver – regardless of age – must have a blood alcohol content of .04 percent or higher. The state of Georgia does not distinguish between driving while under the influence (DUI) and driving while intoxicated (DWI).
In Georgia, a first-time DUI offender faces anywhere from 24 hours up to one year in jail, and those who refuse to take a chemical test upon arrest will be subject to a suspended license for one year. Georgia has an implied consent law, meaning that if you refuse to submit to a chemical test, you face a fine and automatic license suspension regardless of your age.
A second offense carries a jail sentence of up to one year, and those who refuse to take a chemical test upon arrest will be subject to a suspension of license for three years. Other penalties include fines from $600 to $1,000, community service (up to 30 days) and participation in a treatment program or evaluation. In Georgia the cost to reinstate a suspended license is $210. Some courts permit the use of ignition interlock devices, which are installed inside a vehicle to prevent operation by an intoxicated driver.
A third offense is punishable as a felony and carries a mandatory 15-day jail sentence. If on your third offense you refuse to take a chemical test, you will be subject to a suspension of license for five years. Other penalties include fines from $1,000 to $5,000, suspension of license for five years, community service (30 days minimum), and your photo being published in the local newspaper.
Under Georgia statue, you cannot plea-bargain for a conviction of “wet reckless,” a lesser offense than DUI.
In Georgia, you may be eligible for a nonrenewable, limited driving permit or restricted license. However, fees and limitations apply. You can only use this permit to drive to and from work, or for the purpose of driving to seek prescribed medical attention, attend classes, attend a court-ordered treatment program or driver’s education program, or go to an ignition interlock center. The Georgia Department of Driver Services observes the right to place additional restrictions and limitations on your restricted license, which may include, but are not limited to, restricting the time of day you may drive, the places to which you may drive, and the specific vehicles you may be allowed to drive.
If convicted of a DUI, you must take a state-approved DUI/driving defense class. Georgia’s risk reduction course is comprised of a 130-question screening tool used to test your knowledge of how alcohol impacts driving. The second component is a 20-hour course comprised of therapeutic education and peer group counseling about alcohol and drug use.
According to the Georgia Department of Driver Services, the cost of a DUI risk reduction course is set by law, and the total cost of the course is $292. Many drivers complete the class in one week.
It goes without saying that, for so many reasons, you should do everything possible to avoid getting a Georgia DUI.