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DUI Charges: Georgia DUI Laws, DUI Penalties & DUI Jail Time

By: Ex-Cop Cory Yager, Partner in Kohn & Yager LLC and Law Book Co-Author

Those arrested for DUI in Georgia often get online and immediately research DUI penalties to ask, “How long in jail for DUI?” The second most researched DUI law question is about maintaining their driving privileges if convicted of driving under the influence (D.U.I.). Most of those arrested for DUI in GA are not as worried about the DUI cost, such as the DUI fine or other DUI punishments. For a quick overview, see this page for a DUI punishments CHART.

Very little helpful information is visible on the DUI ticket or bond paperwork. About 90% of drivers taken into custody are issued either an 8 1/2 by 11-inch license suspension form (in place of their plastic license) or they have a small sticker placed on the lower section of their DUI citation. The form is called a DDS-1205, and the small sticker is called a DDS-1127 sticker.

DUI in Georgia

What Will I Need to Take to My DUI Attorneys When I Go to Their Law Offices?

Depending on the facts of your case, your other law enforcement or jail paperwork may include an accident report, a motor vehicle influence report (alcohol or drugs) giving scores on the field sobriety tests, and towing information (if your car or truck was impounded). Your DUI lawyer usually must obtain this from the prosecutor, as part of the pre-trial “discovery” process.

If the officer had to get a judicial search warrant for your blood under the implied consent law, you may also have a copy of that judge’s warrant. This only occurs if you refused the DUI test requested under the Georgia implied consent law, which occurs after your DUI arrest.

How much jail time for DUI? Georgia DUI laws call for between 10 days and one year in jail, but a person facing a 1st DUI offense may not have to serve any additional time in police custody. A first-offense DUI in Georgia mandates 24 hours of incarceration if the driver’s BAC level was at 0.08 grams percent or more.

Various Ways a Driver Can Be Charged With D.U.I. in the State of Georgia

What is considered a DUI in Georgia? In the Peach State, a driver can violate GA DUI laws in several ways. The most common DUI convictions are based on the accused being under the influence of alcohol to the extent that is “less safe” for that vehicle operator to have been behind the wheel.

Separate and distinct from that method of impaired driving, or drunk driving, a driver who submitted to a post-arrest blood, breath or urine test can be convicted of a different DUI crime based on those forensic test results. This method of committing DUI GA is called a “per se” DUI offense.

The Prosecutor can separately accuse this crime by proving that the arrested citizen had a BAC level of alcohol at 0.08 grams percent or more, and/or having marijuana or other controlled drugs in his or her system, as shown in a test taken within 3 hours of the driving ending.

DUIs in Georgia Carry Two Types of Penalties Handled by Two Different Judges

When arrested on a GA DUI, the accused must deal with civil and criminal aspects arising from that arrest. Since the administrative law aspect of the case almost always happens first, we will address that initially.

If the driver is charged with a “DUI refusal” (for not agreeing to the cop’s requested testing after arrest), the officer is trained to file a form DDS 1205 with the Georgia Department of Driver Services (also known as GA DDS). This civil law suspension is authorized by the GA implied consent law.

If the event a detained driver submits to forensic testing after being arrested, and the breath alcohol test or blood alcohol test is 0.08 grams percent or higher, then a different type of ALS (administrative license suspension) can be filed by the officer with the DUI in GA. This State driver’s license agency processes an administrative license suspension that seeks to totally suspend your right to drive for 12 full months.

If the accused driver (or his or her DUI defense lawyer) files a timely appeal not later than 30 days after arrest OR opts for a 12-month ignition interlock device (IID) within that SAME 30-day period, the administrative suspension can be averted.

Hardship license 30-day deadline after DUI arrest

Not every driver is an eligible candidate for the interlock restricted license. If under age 21, he or she is ineligible. If not a Georgia licensee, the person cannot get the restricted permit for DDS GA. Lastly, if the arrested driver has any previous DUI convictions or was previously administratively suspended within the past 5 years (based on dates of arrest), he or she is not eligible for this IID option.

Georgia DUI Penalties for First DUI: Additional Common Questions

How much is a DUI ticket? Fines on a first DUI offense range from $300 plus surcharges to $1,000 but repeat offenders’ fines can be $5,000 plus surcharges which will DOUBLE the fine amount. The additional DUI fees have grown from being about 25% of the fine amount to now equaling or exceeding the fine paid.

How much is a DUI fine once surcharges are added? Previous changes to laws on Georgia DUI have made the surcharges about the same as the fine amount.

How many DUIs can you get? In the old days, Senior Partner William Head had a potential client interview with him who had convictions on 21 prior DUI cases. In the past 5 years, at least five of his clients had 8 or more prior convictions for DUIs.

How long in jail for DUI? Felony DUI punishments apply to 4th DUI offenses (or subsequent DUI convictions within ten years) within a 10-year lookback period. This can result in 5 years in state prison. All other repeat DUI crimes are limited to 12 months in jail.

Georgia DUI Sentencing Guidelines for a DUI Case

What is the penalty for DUI, if a 1st offense? At least 5 DUI categories of DUI punishment apply to a first-offense DUI.

  1. Fines and surcharges;
  2. Community service hours to perform (at least 40 hours);
  3. Driver’s license suspension (or the right to drive in the State of Georgia for one year), subject to GA licensees paying for and obtaining a limited driving permit and possibly meeting early reinstatement provisions at the DDS in Georgia;
  4. Attending DUI school, also known as DUI classes, or the 20-hour “risk reduction” program.
  5. Jail time or probation for 12 months, with credit for any days you served in custody at the time of arrest for DUI or as sentenced by your trial court judge.

Even for a DUI first offense, this conviction becomes a permanent criminal record. Subsequent DUIs by repeat offenders (within 10 years of the first) will have at least 8 types of punishment for a conviction, including motor vehicle tag confiscation, publication of your photo and a summary of your DUI guilty case in the local newspaper, and mandatory ignition interlock device to get early reinstatement to drive. [The example below is NOT one of our clients, just a published notice found in a local, south GA newspaper.]

Select an Award-Winning DUI Lawyer Near Me for Your DUI Defense Attorney

Our DUI law book co-authors have collectively accumulated over 45 legal industry recognitions, honors, or law practice superlative lawyer ratings. The organizations granting these annual awards are using the attorney ratings posted by OTHER Georgia lawyers.

Why not take advantage of our FREE lawyer consultation when you call today: Dial our lawyers near me at 404-567-5515. Larry Kohn, William Head, or the author will be talking with you, not a new, wet-behind-the-ears associate.

Other valuable insights on this website:

Dui License Suspension
How Much Jail Time for a Dui Warrant
No Dui in 3 Years Refund
Arrested for Dui

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