Across America, traffic laws differ from state to state. All states distinguish between serious driving offenses (like hit and run GA, DUI-DWI, reckless driving and attempting to elude an officer) and minor traffic violations, such as exceeding the speed limit, failure to yield and running a red light.
This page (on DUI laws in Georgia) focuses on Georgia DUI laws 2023 and after, until and unless new Legislative changes are made. But, for over 95% of those arrested for DUI in Georgia, the crime is a misdemeanor, and not a felony. Yet even a first time DUI offender who causes serious injury or death to another person can be facing 15 years in prison, per death or serious bodily injury (e.g., permanent scarring, loss of a limb, or organic brain damage).
Ranking Georgia DUI laws for their severity. Because some people who drive through Georgia or move to the Peach State from other states and get charged with a red-light violation, stop sign ticket, or a super speeder GA citation misjudge the potential severity of Georgia laws. Georgia drinking and driving laws can haunt a person for life!
Is your license suspended immediately after a DUI arrest in Georgia? Yes, but you can file an administrative appeal or get the 12-month ignition interlock device, if eligible. Don’t GUESS at what needs to be done here. Talk to a qualified DUI lawyer near me.
Is DUI a Felony Georgia Crime? Under Georgia laws, every “moving violation” is a misdemeanor criminal charge. Below, our authors lay out three different DUI case situations where a DUI offense can be bumped up to felony status, from one driving incident.
Read the full Georgia DUI statute under OCGA 40-6-391 here.
Those facing driving under the influence laws in Georgia need to read further for information below about the 11 parts of our state’s DUI penalty Georgia consequences. By virtue of our state having over 1000 different “traffic” courts and a few thousand different judges who could be deciding your fate, getting targeted legal advice for any DUI Georgia first offense case, or any triple digit speeding ticket (going 100 mph or more) or for a hit and run charge is imperative.
Below are images of Bubba Head, Cory Yager (an ex-cop) and award-winning DUI attorney Larry Kohn. Between all three Georgia DUI lawyers shown below, more than 75 separate top legal industry recognitions, accolades or awards have been annually given.
DUI consequences Georgia. Plus, in addition to hit & run, drunk driving, trying to elude police and several more dangerous driving crimes, your courtroom judge must take away your ability to drive, for some period, but only if convicted. GA DUI laws 2023 are in the top 10 states in America for having the toughest penalties.
A Georgia traffic ticket for any “moving” violation is a misdemeanor criminal charge is NOT a civil law infraction. The least punishment would be a monetary fine, and (with some high speed drivers, called super speeders) Georgia judges are handing out jail time from 2 days to 10 days, or longer.
If the scofflaw caught in Georgia has a bad prior driving record, a judge in Georgia may give that driver a few days to sit in jail to ponder her or his dangerous actions, with the balance of one year being placed on probation. While state law mandates these Georgia DUI consequences, under the OCGA 40-6-391 statute, the same 12 months of jail time or probation also apply to any motor vehicle driving crimes in GA.
For repeat DUI offenders, the minimum jail time is seventy-two (72) hours in custody on a 2nd DUI in GA within ten years. However, in most Georgia courts, and especially those with a DUI court program or drug court program (in smaller population counties) this is not a realistic expectation. Nor is the minimum 15 days in jail for a 3rd DUI offense within the prior 10 years.
A 4th DUI in GA requires not less than 90 days in custody and 480 hours of community service. To read more detailed information about drinking and driving laws in Georgia, click on one of these links for your level of DUI offense (if occurring with 10 years, based on dates of arrest:
First offense DUI – 2nd DUI in GA – 3rd DUI in Georgia – 4th offense DUI (felony). FYI, since July 1, 2008, the State of Georgia has had a DUI 4th offense felony law. About 5 of every 100 clients at our office are facing a DUI Georgia felony.
The best answer to the question “Is a DUI a criminal offense” is usually yes. The exceptions to the general rule of misdemeanor DUI being accused come from these situations:
Drunk driving defense book author William C. “Bubba” Head is an Atlanta DUI lawyer. The UGA Law grad is a 47-year veteran criminal defense attorney Atlanta and NCDD Board-Certified impaired driving defense expert.
His criminal justice law partners, Larry Kohn and Cory Yager, operate a DUI law firm with multiple office locations in Atlanta, Georgia.
So, our law office can assist you (or a loved one) on a first offense DUI, a 2nd DUI in GA, or any other repeat DUI offense. Plus, no other DUI lawyer in Atlanta has handled more vehicular homicide Georgia cases, or serious bodily injury GA cases. Our attorneys in Atlanta can answer all your questions from the meaning of DUI to the many consequences of being convicted.
So, when you, a close friend, or family member needs the most aggressive, experienced and determined DUI lawyers, contact Larry Kohn, DUI lawyer Atlanta, Cory Yager, or veteran criminal defense advocate William “Bubba” Head.
Mr. Kohn and Mr. Yager were each invited to write chapters for national drunk driving defense books published for other DWI lawyers who are learning how to beat of a DUI. Their chapters were published in 2016.
Every DUI in Georgia is a criminal offense, misdemeanor or felony. Even for first-time DUI offenders, no Georgia statute permits the person charged to utilize diversion, a deferral, conditional discharge, or expunction of a DUI in GA. A fourth DUI within ten (10) years in the State of Georgia will be charged as a felony DUI.
For these reasons, our DUI law firm in Georgia approaches every pending drunk driving case as an opportunity to achieve a DUI dismissal or a reduction of charges to a non-DUI disposition (e.g., DUI reduced to reckless driving).