Creal, Commerce, First Time DUIs
DUIs are often misunderstood as the actions of intentionally harmful people bent on hurting others. As most people who have ever gotten DUIs can tell you, this simply isn’t the case. Rather, the United States has a drinking culture as well as a driving culture, and this unfortunately leads occasional, regrettable mistakes. These mistakes can sometimes lead to DUIs, whether they happen once or happen several times.
Getting any DUI is still stigmatized, but the fact remains that DUIs are often last-minute lapses in judgement that overcome a person’s better impulses and understanding.
Unfortunately, the mitigating circumstances behind why exactly you got a DUI are not usually considered by the arresting officers. The State of Georgia takes DUIs very seriously. In fact, Georgia has some of the toughest DUI laws in the country. Therefore, if you are facing down a DUI, you are still facing very serious charges. Getting any DUI in Georgia—even if it’s a first-time Georgia DUI—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
In addition to criminal charges and a criminal hearing, those facing first-time DUIs in Georgia are also facing civil charges with the DMV. When you get a DUI in Georgia, it kickstarts a process that suspends your license automatically. Usually, you 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. Without an appeal, your license may be suspended for up to one year, and/or you may have an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle.
The consequences of even a first-time Georgia DUI can branch far beyond civil and criminal hearings. They may include disruptions to your employment, or your ability to remain employed. For instance, you may lose or have trouble keeping your job after getting a DUI, due either to the DUI itself or DUI-associated absences (for things like court dates, drug and/or alcohol counseling and treatment, community service, and/or jail time).
DUIs can also severely limit other opportunities and create roadblocks between you and things you may want to achieve in life. For instance, some scholarships and educational or vocational programs have clauses that do not allow entry or continued participation to people with certain crimes on their record. A first-time DUI could be counted among those crimes under certain aggravated circumstances. A DUI could also count against you in certain criminal and civil court cases, such as a custody case or an immigration case. Additionally, if you are already on parole or probation, getting a DUI can quickly become a serious problem that could land you in jail or on extended probation or parole for quite a long time.
Considering all of these potential consequences, it is understandable for you to feel overwhelmed and frightened when facing a first-time DUI in Georgia. However, there is some good news. Standard first-time DUIs without aggravating circumstances tend to be judged less harshly than multiple DUIs, and your chances of walking away from a first-time DUI conviction and being able to fully move on with your life are greater than if you are facing a more serious charge. However, this all depends on having the right representation to make your case.
In Commerce, Georgia, Attorney George C. Creal can provide that representation. Attorney Creal is one of the top DUI attorneys in Georgia, which is a reputation he has earned with his impressive track record. If you’re looking for an experienced, knowledgeable, and skillful 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.