This blog page is presented by Georgia DUI lawyers Cory Yager, Larry Kohn, and William Head. This information is posted to provide those charged with a DUI in Georgia with an immediate overview of laws relating to criminal punishments, like jail time, as well as knowing the impact from driver’s license suspension at the Georgia Department of Driver Services.

 

By far, a first DUI in Georgia has the most benign punishments and consequences. However, even a 1st DUI in Georgia remains on your criminal history for life.

All DUI offenses have a DUI fine (and heavy surcharge assessments added) in GA. To this financial punishment, mandatory probation is imposed and cannot be shortened. Almost all cases require DUI jail time, and all mandate community service hours, DUI classes, and possible substance abuse treatment. Georgia DUI laws were amended by the Georgia General Assembly effective July 1, 2008, to add a felony offense for a 4th DUI within 10 years.

In DUI cases in which the arrest was made July 1, 2017, and after, a new ignition interlock device (IID) option exists for Georgia licensees ages 21 and over, who have not had any prior DUI convictions within the past five (5) years, nor have had an adverse administrative license suspension action against their Georgia driver license within that same time frame.

The new Georgia Code section, OCGA 40-5-64.1 allows drivers to opt to install (in one vehicle only) a 12-month IID instead of filing an appeal of the administrative license suspension to the GA Department of Driver Services. Those who install an ignition interlock MUST (within 30 days after their DUI arrest) have the device attached to a motor vehicle and must have obtained and paid for the special interlock-restricted driving permit from DDS GA.

COMMON ACRONYM(S) and descriptive words USED TO DESCRIBE “IMPAIRED DRIVING,” “DRUNK DRIVING,” “INTOXICATED DRIVING”:

  • Driving under the Influence, which is commonly called DUI “Less Safe;”
  • DUI;
  • Driving with an unlawful Alcohol Concentration, which is commonly called “DUI Per Se

 

What Vehicles or Transportation Devices Are Covered?

What is the PROHIBITED VEHICULAR ACTIVITY: Driving or being in actual physical control of a “moving” vehicle. Furthermore, GA DUI laws do not apply to non-motorized vehicles, like bicycles, horses, mules, skateboards, or any other non-motorized transport methods.

In What Geographic Locations Can a DUI Arrest Be Made? 

Georgia has separate Boating under the Influence Laws for watercraft in likes and rivers. The DUI laws in the Peach State do not apply to boats or any motorized crafts on the water. Moreover, no impact to a Georgia driver’s license occurs if convicted of BUI (boating under the influence)

Using the broadest language, DUI laws in GA call for an arrest anywhere in Georgia, including on private property.

No published case in the Federal courts addressing whether our state DUI law will apply to those areas within the exclusive control and jurisdiction of the federal government, but any federal land cases currently are prosecuted in a federal district court using the federal rules of criminal procedure but apply substantive Georgia DUI law.

DUI Offenses: Within O.C.G.A. Section 40-6-391

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

  • (a)(1) Under the influence of alcohol to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive;
  • (a)(2) Under the influence of any drug to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive;
  • (a)(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;
  • (a)(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;
  • (a)(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
  • (a)(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.

Plus, these other important provisions under 40 6 391 apply:

  • (i) Driving a commercial motor vehicle, while under the influence of alcohol, with alcohol concentration 0.04 grams or higher;
  • (k) For drivers under the age or 21 years, driving, while under the influence of alcohol, or driving with an alcohol concentration of 0.02 grams or higher.

Degree of Impairment Required

(a)(1) through (a)(4), proof that the driver was “impaired” by alcohol, marijuana, noxious fumes or any combinate of 2 or more of these substances, is required. In addition, under (a)(5)-alcohol, and (a)(6)-marijuana, these statutes cover have a per se amount of alcohol (a)(5) or marijuana or a “controlled substance” in the driver’s blood or urine, such that the motor vehicle operator is “incapable of driving safely.”

DUI Penalties and DUI Consequences for Various GA DUI Offenses

 

First DUI conviction within ten (10) Years: $300 – 1,000 fine plus statutory surcharges and add-ons, 40 hours community service, 12 months of probation, with credit given for any time incarcerated, following the DUI arrest; ten (10) days to 12 months in jail,  all of which may be suspended or probated by the judge, with the exception of 24 hours to serve, if the post-arrest implied consent test registered at 0.08 grams percent or higher; 1-year driver’s license suspension. For those age-21 and older Georgia licensees, with no prior convictions within the prior 5 years (measured by dates of arrest) a work permit can be obtained immediately after a conviction for a DUI in Georgia first offense. A DUI first offense within 5 years is a simple misdemeanor.

This work permit is a 12-month limited permit, but after the first 120 days, the person can show proof of completion of the DUI school (called “risk reduction course” in Georgia and pay the license reinstatement fee to obtain full reinstatement of his or her Georgia license, if no new violations. DUI School. No work permit if convicted of DUI-drugs. O.C.G.A. 40-6-391 (c)(1)(A)-(E)

Second DUI conviction within ten (10) Years: $600 – 1,000 fine, 30 days (240 hours) of community service, 12 months of probation less any actual days of incarceration, 90 days jail all of which may be suspended, etc., except 72 hours; 3-year license suspension with one-year “hard” suspension followed by 6-month Georgia-only work permit with proof of ignition interlock and full reinstatement after work permit if no violations. DUI School followed by “clinical evaluation” for additional alcohol counseling; $25 publication fee for newspaper ad displaying the driver’s mug shot and a summary of the case disposition in the county of driver’s residence. O.C.G.A.  40-6-391 (c)(2)(A)-(F) and (j)(1) and (2). A 2nd DUI offense within 5 years is a simple misdemeanor.

Third DUI conviction within ten (10) Years: $1,000 – 5,000 fine, 30 days (240 hours) of community service, 12 months of probation less any actual days of incarceration, 120 days jail all of which may be suspended, etc., except 15 days; 5-year license revocation with two-year “hard” suspension of ALL driving privileges, followed by three-year Georgia-only work permit with proof of an ignition interlock device being installed. Full GA license reinstatement possible after total of five years if no new violations have occurred during that five-year period. Completion of the Risk Reduction Program (DUI School), followed by proof of completion of all substance conditions and counseling; $25 publication fee for newspaper ad displaying the driver’s mug shot and a summary of the case disposition in the county of driver’s residence. O.C.G.A.  40-6-391 (c)(2)(A)-(F) and (j)(1) and (2). A third DUI within 5 years is a “high and aggravated” misdemeanor, meaning that for every 30 days of jail time given, the convicted DUI driver must serve 26 of those days.

Fourth DUI conviction within ten (10) Years (FELONY): $1,000 – 5,000 fine, 60 days (480 hours) of community service, up to 5 years in state prison or county jail, all but 90 days of which may be suspended, etc., except 15 days; 5-year license revocation with two-year “hard” suspension followed by three-year Georgia-only work permit with proof of ignition interlock. Full reinstatement after total of five years if no violations during that five-year period. DUI School followed by “clinical evaluation” for additional alcohol counseling; $25 publication fee for newspaper ad in the county of driver’s residence. O.C.G.A. 40-6-391 (c)(3)(A)-(F) and (j)(1) and (2).

The Georgia Department of Driver Services, not the courts in Georgia, controls license suspensions.

Statutory Presumptions of Impairment Under GA Laws: O.C.G.A. 40-6-392 (b)

b.   Except as provided in subsection (c) of this Code section, upon the trial of any civil or criminal action or proceeding arising out of acts alleged to have been committed by any person in violation of Code Section 40-6-391, the amount of alcohol in the person’s blood at the time alleged, as shown by chemical analysis of the person’s blood, urine, breath, or other bodily substance, may give rise to inferences as follows:

  1. If there was at that time an alcohol concentration of 0.05 grams or less, the trier of fact in its discretion may infer therefrom that the person was not under the influence of alcohol, as prohibited by paragraphs (1) and (4) of subsection (a) of Code Section 40-6-391; or
  2. If there was at that time an alcohol concentration in excess of 0.05 grams but less than 0.08 grams, such fact shall not give rise to any inference that the person was or was not under the influence of alcohol, as prohibited by paragraphs (1) and (4) of subsection (a) of Code Section 40-6-391, but such fact may be considered by the trier of fact with other competent evidence in determining whether the person was under the influence of alcohol, as prohibited by paragraphs (1) and (4) of subsection (a) of Code Section 40-6-391.

Georgia Implied Consent Laws

Tests permitted: blood, breath, urine, or other bodily substance, one or more samples as designated by arresting officer. After the Elliott v. State case in 2019, breath alcohol testing cannot be compelled through the GA implied consent law, but blood or urine can be.

Type of advisement required: “substantial compliance” of reading printed card carried by all officers. The exact wording is O.C.G.A. 40-5-67.1. There are three warnings: under 21 (b)(1), commercial drivers (b)(3) and all other drivers (b)(2).

At the time a chemical test or tests are requested, the arresting officer shall select and read to the person the appropriate implied consent notice from the following:

(1) Implied consent notice for suspects under age 21:

“The State of Georgia has conditioned your privilege to drive upon the highways of this state upon your submission to state administered chemical tests of your blood, breath, urine, or other bodily substances for the purpose of determining if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you refuse this testing, your Georgia driver’s license, or privilege to drive on the highways of this state will be suspended for a minimum period of one year. Your refusal to submit to blood or urine testing may be offered into evidence against you at trial. If you submit to testing and the results indicate an alcohol concentration of 0.02 grams or more, your Georgia driver’s license or privilege to drive on the highways of this state may be suspended for a minimum period of one year. After first submitting to the requested state tests, you are entitled to additional chemical tests of your blood, breath, urine, or other bodily substances at your own expense and from qualified personnel of your own choosing. Will you submit to the state administered chemical tests of your (designate which test)?”

(2) Implied consent notice for suspects age 21 or over: “The State of Georgia has conditioned your privilege to drive upon the highways of this state upon your submission to state administered chemical tests of your blood, breath, urine, or other bodily substances for the purpose of determining if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you refuse this testing, your Georgia driver’s license, or privilege to drive on the highways of this state will be suspended for a minimum period of one year. Your refusal to submit to blood or urine testing may be offered into evidence against you at trial. If you submit to testing and the results indicate an alcohol concentration of 0.08 grams or more, your Georgia driver’s license or privilege to drive on the highways of this state may be suspended for a minimum period of one year. After first submitting to the requested state tests, you are entitled to additional chemical tests of your blood, breath, urine, or other bodily substances at your own expense and from qualified personnel of your own choosing. Will you submit to the state administered chemical tests of your (designate which test)?”

(3) Implied consent notice for commercial motor vehicle driver suspects: “The State of Georgia has conditioned your privilege to drive upon the highways of this state upon your submission to state administered chemical tests of your blood, breath, urine, or other bodily substances for the purpose of determining if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you refuse this testing, you will be disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle for a minimum period of one year. Your refusal to submit to blood or urine testing may be offered into evidence against you at trial. If you submit to testing and the results indicate the presence of any alcohol, you will be issued an out-of-service order and will be prohibited from operating a commercial motor vehicle for 24 hours. If the results indicate an alcohol concentration of 0.04 grams or more, you will be disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle for a minimum period of one year. After first submitting to the requested state tests, you are entitled to additional chemical tests of your blood, breath, urine, or other bodily substances at your own expense and from qualified personnel of your own choosing. Will you submit to the state administered chemical tests of your (designate which test)?”

(d.1) Nothing in this Code section shall be deemed to preclude the acquisition or admission of evidence of a violation of Code Section 40-6-391 if obtained by voluntary consent or a search warrant as authorized by the Constitution or laws of this state or the United States.

O.C.G.A. § 40-5-67.1. Administrative Penalties and License Suspension.

Penalties for refusal: The driver suffers a “hard” administrative driver’s license suspension. At trial, the jury is instructed that it may infer that the test would have shown positive for the prohibited substance.

Admissibility of refusal: Admissible in the criminal trial.

Administrative Per Se law: Immediate license seizure at time of arrest, thirty (30) calendar days to request hearing. 30-day (for a 1st offender), 3-year (for a 2nd DUI within 5 years), 5-year revocation (for a 3rd DUI within 5 years).

So long as driver submits to the post-arrest, Georgia implied consent law forensic test requested by police, the administrative suspension counts towards (and any suspension time is credited against) any potential suspension time that may later be created by a conviction.

All Georgia licensees may have work permits as set forth above. For more information, call today for a FREE lawyer consultation with our three Georgia Super Lawyers. 404-567-5515.

 

Not every DUI arrest in Georgia occurs in the traditional manner, where our client is pulled over to the shoulder of the road. This article discusses how our award-winning DUI attorneys with highest lawyer ratings have defended clients with odd fact patterns to obtain a DUI dismissal or a reduction of charges.

These cases all resulted in NO DUI conviction for these clients. Many of these have been for an Atlanta DUI or a hit and run in Atlanta If we are contacted within the first 24 hours of the “incident,” this early guidance to our clients often makes a huge difference.

Seven fact patterns discussed on this blog post have occurred in cases handled by our Georgia DUI attorneys near me. Our law firm’s attorneys have handled over 10000 cases in which a DUI charge was brought against our client. You will be hard-pressed to find another DUI lawyer Atlanta law office to have handled that many cases.

 

Especially when a client is not located within several hours after such collisions, they might ask our DUI lawyer GA litigation team, “Can i get charged with a DUI after the fact?” That answer is maybe, but the bigger question becomes, “How much proof collected by police points to our client, to the exclusion of all others?”

This types of evolve after two motor vehicles strike each other in a parking lot or on a roadway. Two (or more) vehicles collide, and our client left the scene, either under the vehicle’s own power or on foot. Can you be arrested for drunk driving after the fact when these crashes occur? Absolutely.

This behavior of not staying at the roadway and giving aid, if anyone is hurt, is commonly called hit and run GA. This serious misdemeanor crime (after being involved in a motor vehicle collision and then fleeing the scene) is as problematic for a criminal justice attorney to defend (in many ways) as a DUI offense.

In addition, if another person is seriously injured or killed by the DUI-DWI driver, a first-degree vehicular homicide GA or serious injury by vehicle in the first degree will by indicted or charged. A similar sentence for a hit and run Georgia case resulting in a fatality of serious bodily injury. Each of these Georgia felonies carry up to 15 years in state prison for each injured or deceased person.

7 Actual DUI Case Fact Patterns Where Excellent Results Were Obtained

 

Seven different actual case scenarios are discussed below. These examples show you how cases can be won:

  1. In some cases, the client gets to his or her home, or to a nearby restaurant or bar that is still serving alcoholic beverages. The key is for the person to not answer the door. If the door is answered, remain silent. Plus, multiple empty containers of alcoholic beverages in the trash case may assist.
  2. Other times, police find the suspected Georgia hit & run disabled vehicle on the road, facing the same direction as the vehicle that fled. In a dew cases, a tag number or partial number is observed, but often, the description is too vague or lacking in detail. These omissions may include mistaking the color of car or truck and being able to accurately describe the driver. If an officer continues driving, and then see a pedestrian walking a mile or so down a desolate stretch of roadway. If the client knows to remain silent and only provide his or her name and address, these will usually be good cases. If that abandoned vehicle is not registered to our client, and he or she had enough forethought to leave the keys in the abandoned vehicle, that improves our facts even more.
  3. If the client is found have alcoholic beverages in a bar 40 minutes later, police officers cannot tell how much alcohol was consumed after the collision or before, unless the person self-incriminates.
  4. In a few cases, our client made it to a nearby hotel and paid for a room and was never found in or near the suspected vehicle that night. In one Alpharetta crash in a heavy rainstorm, the client’s vehicle was totaled on northbound GA Highway 400, but he quickly got out of the wrecked vehicle and jumped a right-of-way fence and hightailed it through the woods. This was about 3:30 in the morning. He was never located the night of the wreck. Police did receive a call from a nearby Waffle House of a rain-soaked, muddy white male, who asked to use the restaurant’s phone.
  5. In one recent case, our client was almost home, when she veered into a parked vehicle and also struck a utility pole. Her vehicle was still drivable, and she got to her home a few blocks away, opened the garage and got inside the closed garage. Unless someone opened the door, a search warrant would have been needed. Since this was an unoccupied, parked vehicle, the hit and run statute under OCGA 40-6-270 was not implicated.
  6. In different cases in two different jurisdictions, our client (in each case0 was having a medical crisis (both were diabetics). One (who was driving a pickup truck) sideswiped another vehicle but never slowed down. In the other accident, that client sideswiped a car that was waiting for a traffic light to change, and the confused driver got out of his vehicle and walked to his apartment building. Both cases were reduced, and a plea entered to a minor charge, but our DUI defense lawyer team had to bring medical records and other proof to negotiate the case out.
  7. DUI Lawyer Atlanta answers: What is DUI “after the fact” arrest? In one very odd case, our client was found in his damaged vehicle that was on the property of a towing company in DeKalb County, in what is now in the city of Brookhaven. The highly intoxicated client was found sitting inside the vehicle that was so damaged that it could not have been driven to that towing lot.

The client never admitted driving, and this tow lot was within a short walking distance from a notorious nude bar that was open and serving booze at the time of the police investigation. This client had been a client of Mr. Head’s before and knew to not talk. Multiple police cars looked for nearby telephone poles and other fixtures along all roadways near this location but never found any likely place this vehicle may have crashed.

Frustrated by the drunk man’s silence, the DeKalb County police officer charged this client with DUI. Mr. Head requested a non-jury (bench trial), and cross-examined the two investigating officers so aggressively, that the judge ruled that the man was not guilty. By showing five different, plausible alternative explanations (including that this vehicle could have been towed to this lot from another jurisdiction, OR that the client may have ridden with the tow driver, and once there, saw the strip club and decided to visit there, and get drunk, before returning to sleep it off in his totaled vehicle.

 

Top-Rated DUI Lawyers Near Me

DUI Atlanta lawyer Larry Kohn and Atlanta DUI defense attorney Cory Yager are the name partners in Kohn & Yager LLC. Their professional corporation teams up with William C. Head PC, the professional law corporation of William Head, better known as Bubba Head, Attorney Atlanta Georgia. Mr. Kohn began clerking 25 years ago, before passing the GA Bar and joining Mr. Head’s law office group.

The 45-year veteran Georgia DUI lawyer is the best-known Atlanta DUI lawyer, largely due to being the author of the leading legal guide on defending Georgia DUI Laws since 1995. The “double Dawg” UGA school grad enjoys top attorney ratings and is one of fewer than 100 Board-Certified DWI-DUI attorneys in America, with the National College of DUI Defense.

In addition to our DUI lawyers in Atlanta, our law group has three other offices in Marietta (Cobb County), Alpharetta, and Sandy Springs (Fulton County). All have free parking nearby, except for the downtown Atlanta office, which is directly above the Peachtree Center MARTA train terminal.

When you need an experienced and qualified criminal defense attorney for a driving under the influence case, look no further. Our attorneys in Atlanta GA are experts on legal issues like:

Georgia implied Consent Laws

Field Sobriety Testing Errors

How to fight a blood alcohol test

How to Avoid having a mandatory State ignition interlock device put in your vehicle for 12 months (or longer)

DUI Schools: A DUI Driving School near me that permits VIRTUAL classes for Risk Reduction Course