By: William “Bubba” Head, Board-Certified Atlanta DUI Attorney & Criminal Defense Attorney in GA
While a first offense DUI in GA carries a fairly reasonable criminal law punishment for a misdemeanor, the resulting license suspension can wreak havoc in your life. Some DUI penalties for drunk driving convictions in Georgia last forever. Our DUI lawyers hear from people who either lost at trial or pleaded guilty to DUI years ago having employment opportunities denied to them, or possibly losing out on benefits or opportunities due to DUI convictions. 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.
Plus, the requirements (from a driving while intoxicated conviction) of possibly going 365 days without a license for a DUI refusal, due to the implied consent administrative license suspension, can be highly painful. Georgia DUI laws call for a one-year suspension. Georgia laws on drunk 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). If you have been arrested for a first offense DUI, you will need to retain the best Atlanta DUI lawyer to protect your rights and fight for your case.
The Georgia Legislature has opted to more severely punish a DUI Georgia driver who is driving under the influence of drugs than one who is totally blasted on alcohol. Consider that a first offense DUI alcohol driver who is not administratively suspended, but has the criminal conviction and is over age 21 and licensed to drive in GA, can get an immediate first offender affidavit in a DUI-alcohol case (regardless of the BAC levels or if there was an accident). He or she can be driving 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 THC from marijuana.
By operation of law, such convictions trigger a total loss of driving privileges for a first offense DUI, for 6 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) program their GA DDS computers to not only show that a DUI suspension is in place, but also notify any other states of such fact.
Like West Virginia and many other states, a DUI-drugs conviction for even a first offense DUI is far worse for state drivers license suspensions than those for DUI-alcohol. Being able to continue to drive in Georgia, especially in a major metropolitan city like Atlanta, tops the list of importance for accused drivers with pending DUIs.
The lack of a DUI first offender program in Georgia for getting a state law record restriction or expunction means that even a first offense DUI in GA stays on your criminal record for LIFE. This is why 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.
Jail time is a fear of 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 have to get to and from work and have responsibilities to transport their children. Plus, they 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 offense DUI, and far more restricted for a second offense DUI within 5 years.
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 the author’s 7 Steps to Saving your Right to Drive.
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.
Make the CALL NOW, late or early, and we will talk with you. Ask about our law office’s DUI attorney payment plans. Bubba Head, Larry Kohn, and Cory Yager stand READY to talk with you.