First Offense DUI in Georgia: DUI Laws on 1st DUI Charges

Three Awards-Winning Georgia DUI Attorneys

By: William C. Head, Atlanta DUI Attorney Since 1976 and Defense of Drunk Driving Book Author Since 1991

From this article you will learn about an Atlanta DUI first offense charge and the related Georgia DUI penalties. DUI punishment in the State of Georgia is among the nation’s toughest drunk driving laws. Georgia law regulating DUI charges are punitive, even for a first offense DUI under OCGA 40 6 391.

The lack of ability to utilize the Georgia first offender act creates DUI punishment in the form of a LIFETIME criminal record. Many other states (MS, WV, MD, D, OR, IL, WA) offer some sort of diversion or record restriction for a 1st offense DUI, but not the Peach State.

If convicted of a DUI in Georgia, the DUI penalties under current Georgia DUI laws dramatically increase for repeat offenses. If over the legal alcohol limit GA of 0.08 grams percent or more, that BAC level calls for mandatory jail time of not less than 24 hours, as set forth in Georgia drinking laws.

Thus, even for a first DUI conviction in GA you need to ignore cheap DUI lawyers near me. Your best bet is to retain experienced, successful Georgia DUI attorneys for DUI charges first offense, and beat the case. Statistically, a first offender Georgia client has the very best shot for our law group to negotiate a reckless driving or other reduction of charges.

Many prospective clients in Georgia ask our DUI lawyers, “what happens on your first DUI offense?” Georgia motor vehicle laws for DUI alcohol or DUI drugs make even a first DUI conviction painful. Plus, a number of middle Georgia DUI courts utilize a DUI sentencing grid that mandates DUI first offense jail time even if you successfully complete all other DUI plea conditions before the plea is entered.

Other motor vehicle crimes (but not a DUI) can be probated and then be terminated early. The Peach State’s drunk driving GA provisions under the provisions of GA Code 40-6-391 (the OCGA DUI statute) no convictions or nolo contendere pleas to DUI in GA qualify for early termination, first offender, diversion or conditional discharge.

8 Common 1st DUI Questions

    1. How long do you go to jail for DUI? For a DUI in Georgia first offense, so long as no breath alcohol or blood alcohol test is admissible as evidence against you, jail time is not mandated.

    1. What is a chemical test under Georgia implied consent laws? After my refusal to submit to the officer’s requested breath alcohol test, I filed a GA DDS appeal with the Georgia Department of Driver Services. The generic phrase “chemical test,” identifies a blood, breath or urine test that is sent to the GBI for analysis.

  1. How many points to suspend license in GA? While various Georgia code sections set forth the number of points for various traffic offenses and other violations of Georgia statutes, DUI convictions are not part of the point system. A DUI conviction carries automatic licenses suspension of license revocation (for a 3rd DUI in 5 years)
  2. How much does DUI cost over ten years? This link goes to our law firm’s top ranked page on this topic.
  3. How much is a DUI fine in a driving under the influence case? Because the Georgia legislature boosted state surcharges in the past decade, total costs for fines and surcharges can now be thousands of dollars. To summarize base fines, $300 is the minimum for a DUI 1st offense, $600 for a 2nd DUI in GA, and $1000 for a 3rd DUI in ten years. Maximum base fines will be $1000 for a DUI first and second, and $5,000 for a third DUI offense. Surcharges and add-ons boost these numbers by roughly DOUBLE the fine amount.
  4. Is Georgia law for a DUI drugs conviction different by its wording that proof that the driver was “incapable of driving safely” from a DUI alcohol offense that is worded “less safe” for the person to drive? According to the Georgia Supreme Court in the Kachwalla case, there is not a difference.
  5. When Is DUI a Felony in Georgia? If convicted of a felony DUI 4th offense within 10 years, measured by dates of arrest, that person suffers a driver license revocation plus, has to serve mandatory jail time or a state prison sentence.
  6. After a DUI sentence is completed, is an order for discharge of the conviction available? No. If you accept a guilty or nolo contendere in your DUI case, or are found “guilty” at trial, that conviction is permanent, and cannot be restricted on Georgia court records or expunged.

The 4th drunk driving charge is a felony DUI, if within 10 years, based on dates of arrest. This fact justifies hiring a top criminal attorney near me for your DUI defense. Plus, as opposed to drug possession charges, DUI charges are ineligible for First Offender Act record restriction.

In addition to the foregoing, a DUI accident that has serious bodily injury or death to another will be indicted or accused as a felony serious injury by vehicle or vehicular homicide in the first degree. Each of these potential felonies carries up to 15 years per injury or death, which can be stacked and added onto each other, end-to-end.

If convicted of DUI, Georgia minimum mandatory sentences and 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. DUI cases in Georgia that are repeat offenses in dramatically increase penalties under Georgia sentencing guidelines.

Minor, temporary issues like the DUI fine in GA are the least of your concerns when facing DUI cases in Georgia. New DUI offenses, when added to a person’s criminal record, bring mandatory harsh punishment under Georgia sentencing laws. Plus, when Georgia DDS reports the conviction and license suspension, this can torpedo your insurance rating.

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.

By contrast, a DUI second offense within 10 years goes up to 30 days of community service, or 240 hours. In addition, you will serve not less than 72 hours in jail.

Either a DUI 3rd offense or 4th DUI felony can have up to $5,000 fines and surcharges that match the fine amount. Plus, the felony drunk driving can bring up to 5 years in state prison.

On a Georgia 1st DUI, the DUI fine cost is between $300 and $1,000 plus surcharges and add-ons. With a DUI second offense, this has a $600 to $1000 range, plus surcharges.

When drugs are the impairing substance, the DUI Georgia drug penalties under our State’s D.U.I. laws are even more punitive. First, total loss of driving privileges follows any drugged driving conviction, with 6 months for a first DUI-drugs and 3 years of a DUI drugs second offense within the past 5 years. Second, the surcharges tacked onto you fine will be higher.

A 3rd Georgia DUI takes the mandatory jail sentence to 15 days and fines up to $5,000 plus state surcharges and add-ons. Plus, forget about driving for a couple of years, if the 3rd in 5 DUI hits your record.

A 2nd DUI in GA (or subsequent conviction) can virtually make a person unemployable, for most jobs. Plus, a third DUI in 5 years triggers a 5-year license revocation and will take away the entire ability to drive for at least 2 full years.

Helpful Information About Criminal GA DUI Laws and Our Georgia DUI Attorneys

If you wish to plead guilty, do NOT call us. Our goal in EVRY case is to find a non-DUI disposition, which takes a lot of work.

Our award-winning DUI books authors and Super Lawyers in Atlanta know that our collective 77 years of legal experience pays off most of the time, if given a chance to help citizens facing DUI offenses. Larry Kohn, ex-cop Cory Yager and nationally known DUI expert Bubba Head are prepared to go forward with your DUI defense.

Our lawyers in Georgia prefer to meet you in person, or by way of video conference;

Payment in cash, credit cards, check or bank wire transfer;

Receive your FREE PDF copy of Mr. Head’s 430-page book, written for DUI clients;

Call (404) 567-5515 for FREE DUI lawyer consultation.

Main statute: O.C.G.A. 40-6-391

Georgia DUI schools for Risk Reduction DUI classes

Alcohol and Drug substance abuse counselor link

Ignition interlock devices, Georgia DDS approved providers

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

Implied Consent Notice: O.C.G.A. 40-5-67.1

How much is DUI ticket?

New ignition Interlock Device Statutory Option: O.C.G.A.