DUI penalties in Georgia

On Behalf of | Mar 6, 2024 | DUI

Drunk driving is a serious offense in Georgia, carrying stringent penalties aimed at deterring impaired driving and ensuring public safety. The state enforces strict laws against driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs, with penalties increasing in severity depending on the number of offenses and the specific circumstances of each case.

Understanding these penalties is crucial for drivers in Georgia who are facing potential consequences associated with drunk driving due to a traffic stop that resulted in their arrest.

First offense

For a first DUI conviction in Georgia, defendants face a range of penalties. These can include a fine of $300 to $1,000 and 10 days to 12 months in jail. The jail time may be waived or reduced to 24 hours for those with a blood alcohol content (BAC) under .08%.

There’s also a requirement for at least 40 hours of community service, a mandatory DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program and a 12-month probation period. The driver’s license can be suspended for up to 12 months, with the possibility of early reinstatement under certain conditions.

Second offense

The penalties for a second DUI conviction within a 10-year period are more severe. Fines range from $600 to $1,000, and jail time increases to 90 days to 12 months, with a mandatory minimum of 48 hours if not suspended by the judge. Community service requirements jump to at least 240 hours.

The person must also complete a DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program and may be subject to clinical evaluation and treatment. The driver’s license suspension period extends to three years, with eligibility for an ignition interlock device after 120 days.

Third offense

A third DUI conviction within a 10-year period is classified as a high and aggravated misdemeanor in Georgia. Fines increase to $1,000 to $5,000, with mandatory jail time of 120 days to 12 months, though the judge may suspend some of this time.

Community service is required for at least 30 days. The person’s name, photo and address will be published in a local newspaper at their expense. Additionally, the driver faces a five-year license suspension, with the possibility of obtaining a probationary license after two years and completion of a DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program, clinical evaluation and treatment.

Developing a defense strategy for these cases can be rather complex. Having a legal representative who can explain the options and how they may impact a defendant’s life is critical, given all that is at stake.