Georgia uses both terms DUI and DWI when talking about a situation where someone is driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The term "DUI" is more frequently used due to its inclusion of drugs rather than "driving while intoxicated," which generally refers to alcohol. In Georgia, if you are 21 or older you can be arrested for a DUI if you are pulled over and have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher. It is also important to be aware that you can be arrested for a DUI even if your BAC is under .08% if the law enforcement officer decides that your driving ability is impaired.
The penalties for a DUI offense in Georgia are harsh and unforgiving. The first consequence that Georgia places on individuals convicted of a DUI offense is a Risk Reduction Program. The judge has to order the completion of this program in order provide some sort of intervention that the state believes will prevent future offenses. If you are convicted of multiple DUI offenses then you may also have to go through substance abuse treatment.
A first offense DUI is charged as a misdemeanor which is punishable by:
- A $300-$1,000 fine
- 10 days- 12 months in prison; the judge can suspend or confirm the imprisonment unless you had a BAC over .08% in which case you would need to spend at least 24 hours in jail.
- A minimum of 40 hours of community service
- If your BAC was below .08% the judge can reduce the community service requirement to somewhere within 20-40 hours
- Completion of the state's Risk Reduction Program; this is mandatory and the judge cannot eliminate or reduce this penalty
- Up to 12 months on probation
- A suspended driver's license for up to 1 year
If you build a strong case, the judge may be lenient with your fines, sentencing, probation, and community service. Oftentimes a judge can choose to dismiss your driver's license suspension or reduce the amount of time that you are on probation. The key to receiving a more favorable outcome after being convicted of a DUI is to seek competent legal representation from an Atlanta DUI lawyer who has experience with cases just like yours. If you are convicted of a DUI for the first time, call The Law Offices of Howard J. Weintraub today.