Creal, Chatsworth, Georgia, First Time DUI
DUI charges can bring up many different emotions. They can be overwhelming, embarrassing, frightening, and even livelihood-threatening. Whichever way you cut it, DUIs are nobody’s idea of a good time. This is especially true if you are facing your first DUI. Often, people faced with a DUI for the first time never would have thought of themselves as the type of person to get a DUI before that moment. In the face of that sort of charge, they may begin to question what sort of person they actually are, when it comes right down to it.
Of course, DUIs are fairly common, and first-time DUIs are very frequently the result of an isolated mistake, miscalculation, or lapse in judgement. They are not always or even usually part of a pattern of behavior, and they are very rarely intended to be malicious or harmful. A DUI doesn’t mean you’re a fundamentally bad or reckless person—especially not a first-time DUI. Rather, it means you slipped up and made a mistake, and it is now your responsibility to ensure that you keep an eye out to prevent yourself from making that same sort of mistake in the future.
There are many situational small errors or wrong turns that could lead to a person getting on the road with a little too much alcohol in their system. Maybe you were at a party and got carried away with friends, and forgot how much you had to drink. Maybe you thought coffee would sober you up better than it actually did. Maybe you mistimed your last drink, and even though you didn’t feel drunk, the alcohol still registered on a breathalyzer. Maybe you knew you’d had one too many, but the ride home was short enough that you thought you could make it. Whatever the circumstances, if you are now staring down the barrel of a DUI, you may be anxiously trying to make sense of what to make of the situation you’re in, and what to expect from what comes next.
To be clear, though DUIs—especially first-time DUIs—don’t make you a bad person, they are rather serious charges. This is especially true in the State of Georgia, which has particularly harsh laws in place to punish those who get caught driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
Even for first-time DUI offenses, you can potentially face harsh penalties and sentences including:
- 12 months’ probation (including several hundred dollars in probation fees)
- A mandatory minimum fine of $300, plus court costs and surcharges (which can add up very quickly to over $1,000)
- A mandatory minimum of 24 hours in jail (though in certain cases, this can be waved). Depending on the case, you may be sentenced to up to a year in jail for a first-time DUI offense.
- A mandatory minimum of 40 hours of community service
- Substance abuse and/or alcohol abuse counseling. In some cases, depending on the case and the sentencing judge, this can be expanded to mandatory drug and/or alcohol treatment.
- Attendance of a DUI Risk Reduction School (sometimes referred to simply as DUI School)
- Attendance of a MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) Victim Impact Panel
- Suspension of your driver’s license for up to a year, with a potential limited permit to drive after certain conditions are met
- Suspension of your privileges to drive on Georgia highways, with a potential limited permit to drive there after certain conditions are met.
In addition to potential legal sentences and penalties, first-time DUIs can also have additional consequences outside. These include:
- Employment Problems: In some professions, such as commercial driving, getting a DUI is grounds for termination. In addition, if you are prohibited from driving and/or are ordered to spend large amounts of time in community service, drug and alcohol counseling, or even jail, you may have trouble keeping your job. Furthermore, depending on the severity of your DUI, it may be tracible on background checks, which may preclude you from getting a new job in the future.
- Child Custody Problems: If you have a pending or upcoming child custody case, a DUI conviction can work against you during proceedings, and weaken your case if you are attempting to retain custody of our children.
- Ineligibility for Governmental Programs and Grants: Depending on the severity of the DUI, a conviction may mean that you are no longer permitted to live in or visit public housing. In addition, a DUI conviction may get in the way of scholarships and other programs with behavioral clauses that prohibit getting a DUI
Are you facing a first-time DUI? Are you in Chatsworth, Georgia or the surrounding areas? Reach out to Attorney George C. Creal. Attorney Creal is one of the top DUI attorneys near you, and he is ready, willing, and able to help you beat your first-time DUI charges. Call (770) 961-5511 for a free consultation today.