Georgia’s impaired driving laws follow the standard of DUI and not OUI. That means you have to be driving a vehicle under the influence to be violating the laws. (Not always true: you can get a DUI merely by sitting in your car with the engine off, and with your keys visible to the police officer.) The term “influence” includes both drug and alcohol influence, separate or together. If you’re drinking and driving in, say Atlanta, you may end up in jail even for a first offense. Call in a criminal defence lawyer to avoid that.
Here are a few things you should know about the impaired driving laws in Georgia.
What Should Be The BAC Level?
A BAC level of 0.08% in Georgia makes you an offender of DUI laws. This BAC should be checked by an officer within 3 hours of your driving. However, exceeding that 3 hour limit doesn’t necessarily negate the officer’s claim of your impaired driving.
Can I Be Charged With BAC Under 0.08% ?
Yes. You can easily be charged even with a BAC level under 0.08%. This is because Georgia follows two standards under its DUI laws : DUI less safe and DUI “per se”. While DUI per se requires you to have a BAC of 0.08% or above, DUI less safe depends upon your driving performance under a lower BAC. if the officer is convinced that your driving is not safe even with a lower BAC, you can be charged with DUI and face penalties including license suspension.
For young drivers aged 15 to 21, the BAC level in Georgia is .02%. Anything above that can lead to license suspension for 6 months. For those drivers who were planning to get their official Georgia driver’s license soon,, the process shall be delayed 12 months. In case of BAC over 0.08%, the person is prosecuted as an adult and faces criminal conviction.
Will I Serve Jail Time?
Since DUI is a criminal offense in Georgia, even a first-time offender can be sentenced to jail time up to 1 year. However, the judge may use his or her discretion to not award any jail sentence, and impose probation instead. But, in case of BAC over 0.08%, serving jail time of 24 hours is mandatory. A repeat offender may be facing 3 to 5 years of jail time depending on when was their last DUI and how many DUI convictions they already have, typically a 5year-lookback period
What Happens to My License
Georgia’s Department of Driver Services is liable for Administrative Suspension of license in any DUI case or otherwise. DDS can suspend the license even without any court hearing and conviction in case of a BAC over 0.08% if it is convinced that your driving was unsafe due to intoxication. In case of any refusal to take the chemical test, DDS can immediately suspend your license for 1 year or more.
How Much Is the Fine?
If you are a first-time offender, you are facing a minimum fine of $300, which can go up to $ 1000. A second time offender also faces fines of up to $1000. Other repeat offenders may have to pay fines up to $5000 in case of repetition within 5 years of previous offence.
How Do I Get My License Back?
To get your license reinstated, you’ll have to complete all the penalties imposed after your conviction including a mandatory alcohol education program which may be accompanied with counseling or treatment in cases of alcohol/drug abuse. Your license reinstatement will require you to produce certificate from an education program and complete the suggested number of counseling sessions or therapy. These requirements, along with a$210 reinstatement fee, means you can get your license back. Early reinstatement is also permitted unless it’s a DUI Drugs case.
Any Alcohol Containers In The Car (Open Container Violation)?
Driving in Atlanta with no considerable BAC level but an open or seal-broken can of alcohol may land you in a DUI case. However, you may be saved if the contents of the can are not removed even partially. Georgia laws prohibit opening or consuming any alcoholic beverage container in the car while driving on public highways, even in the passenger seat, unless it’s a transportation vehicle and the passenger area is separated from the driving area.
An ignition interlock can be imposed on a repeat offender (repeating within 5 years of previous offense) to permit them limited driving. However, the court may not subject the offender to it in case the offender is unable to afford an ignition lock due to poor economic condition.
Bubba Head Specializes In DUI Laws And Provides You With Expert Legal Representation To Help You Get The Best Outcome For Your Case. Our Qualified Attorneys Help You Avoid Any Unjustified Penalties And Infringement Of Your Rights. If You or a Loved One Is Charged With Impaired Driving, contact us right away.
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