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Georgia DUI Laws 1st Time Offender | First Offense DUI in Georgia?

By: William “Bubba” Head, Board-Certified DUI Attorney Near Me in Atlanta GA

Georgia First Offense DUI Lawyer

DUI in Georgia First Offense

While a conviction of a first offense DUI in Georgia carries a reasonable criminal law punishment for a misdemeanor, the resulting license suspension after a conviction on DUI charges can wreak havoc in your life. This criminal record is FOR LIFE and cannot be expunged.

Even the arrest record on pending charges for DUI in Georgia first offense can pose a major problem for some high-security employment sectors. Plus, having a prior DUI conviction creates unexpected barriers to employment, especially in a major metropolitan city like Atlanta, Georgia. Since DUI penalties for drunk driving convictions in Georgia can last forever, hiring the right DUI specialist is critical.

Any DUI lawyer from our law office in Atlanta routinely hears from people who either lost at trial or pleaded guilty to DUI in GA many years ago yet are having employment opportunities denied to them. Some have lost benefits or opportunities due to 1st time DUI charges that led to a conviction. For a first-time conviction for DUI, you could run into problems and loss of entitlement to prospective business deals or personal opportunities for many years, if not for LIFE. When it comes to DUI-drugs, even more issues can arise, such as losing the Georgia Hope Scholarship, due to a drug conviction.

Georgia DUI Laws: What Happens When You Get a DUI in Georgia?

Until convicted, no permanent criminal record of a drunk driving offense exists. A DUI attorney knows that raising legal challenges to the evidence and having court rulings on the record are crucial to successfully fighting a DUI. Avoiding conviction for a DUI in Georgia is the objective, so do not simply trust that difficult task to DUI lawyers near me.

GA DUI Get My License Back

How Bad Could It Be to Be Convicted of a DUI in Georgia First Offense?

Under Georgia law DUI first offense, the requirements (from a driving while intoxicated conviction) of possibly going 12 months without a license for a DUI refusal, due to the implied consent administrative license suspension, can be highly disruptive and financially painful. Georgia DUI laws call for a one-year suspension, and minimum mandatory DUI fines in Georgia, for any driving under the influence conviction.

So, Georgia laws on impaired driving, whether by alcohol, drugs or by noxious vapors (like sniffing glue or other aerosols), call for the offending driver to suffer the loss of license (or the privilege to drive in Georgia, for out-of-state licensees). Georgia drunk driving laws treat any DUI-drugs conviction more severely since the normal limited driving permit for adult drivers with a Georgia driver’s license is unavailable. Read more below.

DUI-Drugs Convictions in Georgia Carry a More Severe Loss of License

First Offense DUI Drugs

The Georgia Legislature has opted GA DUI laws to punish a Georgia driver license holder who is convicted of driving under the influence of drugs more harshly than one who is totally intoxicated by alcohol. A first offense DUI alcohol driver who is not administratively suspended but has a criminal conviction for driving under the influence, over age 21, and licensed to drive in Georgia, can get an immediate first offender affidavit in a DUI-alcohol case (regardless of the BAC levels or if even there was an accident).

The DUI-alcohol driver in Georgia can drive on a limited permit to accommodate work and child care transportation issues. The same is not true, however, for any Georgia DUI-Drugs conviction, even for a first lifetime offense and for the tiniest amount of psychoactive THC from marijuana.

First DUI Drugs in GA - Lawyer Near Me

Georgia DDS Will Suspend For Drug-Related DUI Charges First Offense

By operation of law, such convictions trigger a total loss of driving privileges for a first offense DUI for six months, or 180 days. A 2nd DUI in GA, if driving under the influence of drugs prescribed, contraband, over-the-counter, synthetic, cannabis, or other illegal substances (other than alcohol), doubles the minimum total loss of driving privileges to a full year. Georgia DDS will receive the notice of conviction from any Georgia court, which will (upon seeing the DUI), update their GA DDS computers not only to show that a DUI suspension is in place, but also to notify any other states of such fact.

A Drugged Driving Conviction in GA Is Treated More Harshly

Like West Virginia and many other states, a DUI-Drugs conviction for even a first offence DUI in Georgia is far worse for state driver’s license suspensions than suspensions for DUI-alcohol. Being able to continue to drive in Georgia, especially in a major metropolitan city like Atlanta, is most important for accused drivers with pending DUIs.

Our three partners, William C. Head, Larry Kohn, and ex-police officer Cory Yager can keep nearly all our clients facing a DUI in Georgia driving – always. The percentage of our clients originally charged with driving under the influence who can always drive, with at least a limited permit, is above 90%.

GA First DUI Law Firm

Employment Opportunities & Job-Related Impact of a First Offense DUI in Georgia

The lack of a DUI first offender program in Georgia for getting a state law record restriction or expunction means that even a 1st offense DUI in GA stays on your criminal record for LIFE. Therefore, citizens with substantial assets, chances of promotion, the need to travel abroad to countries like Canada, or who work in a business or industry (high-level government security clearance, pharmaceutical sales rep, doctor, dentist, registered nurse, airline pilot), need to hire the very best DUI attorney in Atlanta for a DUI in the Peach State, versus only locating law firms near me.

Most Clients Would Rather Have Jail Time Than Lose Their Driver’s License

Jail time is feared by most people arrested for DUI in Georgia. But license suspension is the biggest risk for many people facing a DUI charge in Georgia, since they must get to and from work, and have responsibilities to transport their children.

Plus, people must perform other routine duties like buying groceries, getting to the doctor, etc. Georgia law is very restrictive of what driving privileges are granted for a first DUI offense, and the law is even more restrictive for a second offense DUI within five years. Not only is this true for DUI charges that are a first offense, but even more restrictive for a 2nd DUI in GA, and particularly if within five years of the date of the 1st DUI arrest.

GA DUI Roadside Breath Test Refusal

If you face a DUI refusal administrative license suspension for not agreeing to take the requested breath alcohol test under implied consent law, Georgia offers NO hardship license at all, unless you either install a 12-month ignition interlock device or happen to win the administrative hearing. If you opt to fight the pending suspension by appealing, and then lose this important GA DDS appeal to the Georgia Department of Driver Services (Georgia DDS), the one-year suspension goes into place. To read about the changes in Georgia DUI laws and implied consent, review Bubba Head’s 7 Steps to Saving Your Right to Drive.

Call Our Atlanta DUI Lawyers Today for 24-7 Professional Legal Help

If you have been arrested for a first offense DUI, you will need to retain one of the best Atlanta DUI lawyers to protect your rights and fight for your case. If you are seeking experience, top lawyer ratings, and an unparalleled track record for beating a DUI, call our law office. Our three legal book authors have a collective criminal law background of over 70 years, encompassing over 10,000 criminal cases in Georgia.

Call our Georgia Super Lawyers and DUI specialists today at 404-567-5515 and get a FREE lawyer consultation and a FREE PDF copy of Bubba Head’s drunk driving book, written JUST for people facing DUI-alcohol or DUI-drug charges. Ask us about attorney fee payment plans when you come in for your FREE legal advice.

GA Criminal Defense Lawyers

Make the CALL NOW, late or early, and a 24-hour DUI lawyer from our criminal law firm will talk to you. Ask about our law office’s DUI attorney payment plans. Bubba Head, Larry Kohn, and Cory Yager stand READY to talk with you. Our new LOCATION in north Fulton County is EASY to get to and has an entrance sheltered from rain and wind by a parking deck level about us. Read more below.

Our new main office location is in north Fulton County, at 5590 Roswell Road, Suite 210, Sandy Springs, GA 30342, about a quarter mile from where Georgia 400 and I-285 intersect. Located just south of I-285 and accessed from Roswell Road, our law office is accessed within the third level (P3) of the four-level parking deck adjacent to the Publix Grocery entrance. Our front entrance is sheltered from weather conditions by the Prado P4 parking deck that is directly in front of the Target store. From our office windows, we can see the Lifetime Fitness Center pool. Our entrance is one level down, at P3.

Easy access to Interstate 285 and Georgia 400 makes our office an ideal central location for getting to all Metro Atlanta criminal courts. In less than 10 minutes, our lawyers can reach the DeKalb County line, the Cobb County line, and Gwinnett County line from our law office.


Some of our Busiest Municipal Courts:

Sandy Springs Municipal Court

Roswell Municipal Court

Atlanta Municipal Court

Marietta Municipal Court

Alpharetta Municipal Court

Athens Municipal Court (Athens-Clarke County Municipal Court)



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