Creal, College Park, First-Time DUI
Many people believe that DUIs only happen when people are reckless, inconsiderate, and dangerously careless on purpose. However, statistical information simply does not bear this out. There are many reasons why people find themselves with DUIs—especially first-time DUIs. You may have miscalculated how long it would take that last drink to leave your system when out at dinner. You may have relied too heavily on water and coffee to do the trick at the end of a Christmas party. You may have even felt uncomfortable leaving your car at the bar and thought you would certainly be able to make it the short trip home safely.
Whatever happened to result in your DUI, it was most likely not malicious. DUIs—especially first-time DUIs—are usually not deliberate plans to be dangerous and break the law. They are almost always momentary miscalculations or isolated lapses in judgement that came at an unlucky, inopportune time.
In any case, if you are facing down a DUI, you are still in a serious predicament. DUIs of all sorts—first time or not—are taken very seriously in the State of Georgia. As you may have already found out, Georgia has some of the strictest DUI laws in the country. Getting a Georgia DUI, even a first-time Georgia DUI, is a very serious matter, which can have very serious repercussions on your life.
Some examples of what might happen if you’re convicted of a first-time DUI include:
- At least 24 hours in jail as a mandatory minimum. This could extend to up to 12 months in jail.
- A mandatory minimum fine of $300, plus court costs and surcharges (which can amount to well over $1,000)
- A mandatory minimum 12 months’ probation (including several hundred dollars in probation fees)
- A mandatory minimum of 40 hours of community service, though judges sometimes order more.
- Substance abuse and/or alcohol abuse evaluation. 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
Georgia DUIs also automatically kickstart a suspension of your driver’s license through the Georgia DMV. You generally have 30 days from the date of your DUI to file an appeal of the suspension. If you do appeal, it will result in an ALS Hearing (an Administrative License Suspension Hearing), which may then result in a further suspension of your license. If you do not apply, your license may be suspended for up to one year, and/or you may have an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle.
A DUI conviction can have consequences in other areas of your life beyond criminal and administrative DMV consequences. For instance, you may lose or have trouble keeping your job after getting a DUI, due either to the DUI itself or to having to miss so much work for court dates, counseling, community service, and/or jail time. If you do lose your job, you may have trouble finding a new one with a DUI on your record.
DUIs can also disqualify you from scholarships and educational programs with behavioral clauses, especially if your first-time DUI is a felony. If you are in the midst of an important custody case, or an important immigration case, getting a DUI can be disastrous to both civil and legal outcomes in those cases. If you are already on parole or probation, getting a DUI can quickly get you sent back to jail, or even get you sent to jail for the first time.
There is also the matter of plain old social stigma. No one wants to face the social judgement that can accompany a DUI, which can strain existing relationships and make it more difficult to form new relationships.
With all of these consequences, it can be easy to see how those facing first-time DUIs in Georgia can feel overwhelmed and frightened. However, there is some good news for those who are facing first-time Georgia DUIs. In general, apart from particularly severe or aggravated DUIs, first-time DUIs tend to be judged less harshly than multiple DUIs. They reflect more of a bad mistake than a pattern of behavior, which judges tend to be more lenient toward. However, this all depends on having the right representation to make your case.
In College Park, Georgia, Attorney George C. Creal can provide that representation. Attorney Creal is an experienced, knowledgeable, and skilled attorney, and is, in fact, one the top DUI attorneys in the State of Georgia. If you’re looking for an attorney that will fight for the best outcome in your case, look no further. Attorney Creal is ready, willing, and able to get started on your first-time Georgia DUI case today. Give yourself a leg up and call (770) 961-5511 for a Case Evaluation today.