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By: Award-Winning Georgia DUI Lawyer, Law Book author and Ex-Police Officer Cory Yager Discusses GA DUI Laws
Georgia DUI laws are ranked among America’s toughest on DUI penalties and long-term DUI consequences. A provision within the main DUI law in Georgia [OCGA 40-6-391 (f)] prohibits use of or applicability of the Georgia first offender act to driving under the influence cases. These limited alternatives for a first DUI offense are what compels many accused citizens to hire the criminal attorney near me with the best DUI lawyer ratings for their defense attorney.
Some callers to our Atlanta DUI office are concerned about jail time or DUI fines in Georgia. However, those penalties would be a small financial price compared to the permanent criminal record for even a 1st DUI in GA.
So, with no diversion, conditional discharge, or other “1st offender” provisions available, a convicted person takes and conviction for DUI in GA to the grave. Unlike recent changes in expungement laws in Mississippi, those convicted in GA have no ability to expunge a drunk driving conviction, under current Georgia drunk driving laws.
This page contains descriptions of DUI penalties for a 1st DUI through 4th DUI within 10 years. The graphic from WalletHub set forth below highlights the punitive nature of laws in the Peach State when you have a GA DUI conviction.
Like most USA jurisdictions, an automatic license suspension or license revocation (for 3rd or more offenses within 5 years) by the Georgia Department of Driver Services accompanies any conviction on DUI charges in GA. Any conviction under DUI laws in Georgia means that you take that conviction to the grave. Being convicted often results in the loss of the person’s Georgia license or an out-of-state driver’s ability to drive in Georgia, subject to certain limited permit rules.
This page provides an overview of the different types of DUI in GA, and the distinction between a DUI per se case and a DUI “less safe” case (the common descriptive names given to any impaired driving cases in Georgia). The alcohol limit in GA (adults) is 0.08 grams percent. To simplify terminology, “per se” connotes “over the legal limit,” as revealed by any post-arrest forensic testing of blood or breath which is done at any time within three hours after your driving ended.
A DUI less safe charge allows for a conviction that is largely circumstantial “opinion” evidence. Such cases arise when the officer requests a post-arrest test, and the driver refuses to submit to testing. Unless that officer obtains a judicial search warrant for blood, the case is booked with no test result.
Plus, separate subsections of the GA DUI statute call for conviction other impairing substances. This may be for DUI drugs, or DUI noxious vapors, or DUI combination of two or more types of impairing substances.
Testimony at trial (about manifestations of a drunk driver) usually comes from the arresting law enforcement officer who gives his or her opinion that (due to consuming too much alcohol) it was “less safe for the person to drive.” In about 90% of DUI arrests in 2021, expect to have one or more video recordings of the arrest, from police vehicles or bodycams.
Of course, when a forensic test of blood, breath or urine has been obtained, Georgia laws on DUI permit a jury to convict for being over the legal limit. This can be for a prohibited level of ALCOHOL, or for having drugs or other prohibited substances (like cannabis) in his or her bloodstream. Additionally, Georgia is one of the states that permits the driver to be convicted by BOTH means, but only be sentenced for one DUI arrest.
Implied consent laws in the State of Georgia call for a 12-month suspension of all driving privileges id the officer’s post-arrest chemical test is not performed by the detained driver. Until 2017, that arrested driver had a high risk of being given a choice of not driving for a full year or agreeing to plead guilty to the DUI criminal charge. Most arrestees who had little or no legal guidance from a top-notch legal team would then feel like they were forced to plead guilty.
The Georgia legislature passed OCGA 40-5-64.1, effective July 1, 2017. This new law gave a new option for those who refused the requested breath or blood alcohol testing if he or she opted for (and paid for) an ignition interlock device (IID) for twelve full months. However, this new law mandates acting within 30 days after arrest and getting both a GA DDS limited driving permit restricted to the IID, and having the device fully installed within that time limit.
If a DUI conviction is a first DUI within five (5) years, a limited driving permit (that could be used for up to a full year) can be applied for by GA licensees age 21 and over, after the case disposition. After waiting 120 days, and taking proof of having completed DUI school, that driver can apply for reinstatement of his or her full GA driver’s license if that Georgia resident pays the required reinstatement fee.
Repeat offenders face much more punitive legal sanctions. For example, while 10 days to 12 months is the statutory range of jail time on a DUI 1st offense, 90 days to 12 months is the range for a 2nd DUI in GA. Plus, for a second DUI within 5 years, surrender of license plates on ALL vehicles in the convicted person’s name is required until that driver is reinstated to operate a motor vehicle.
Contact Bubba Head, Cory Yager, or Larry Kohn and tap into our 80 years of collective criminal litigation experience, with most of those cases being for drunk driving or drugged driving. No other law office in Georgia will have three attorneys with better credentials or statistics showing a better percentage of DUI cases being reduced or dismissed.
Our law firm’s attorneys near me have thousands of true case histories of how our clients were able to avoid these draconian DUI consequences by winning through case dismissal, or getting a DUI reduced to reckless driving. The bottom line is that any other case disposition (other than for DUI in Georgia) is our goal.
For your FREE consultation, call today, 24 hours a day for targeted legal advice from a DUI expert. 404-567-5515.
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