What Are The Penalties For A DUI Conviction In Georgia?
The penalties for a DUI conviction in Georgia are based on the number of DUIs you have had in the past 10 years. The statute has certain mandatory minimum punishments for DUIs within the last 10 years.
For a first DUI in 10 years, there is a minimum mandatory punishment of 24 hours in jail and a maximum of one year in jail. The fines can range anywhere from $600 to $2,000, including court costs. In addition, 40 hours of community service are required, and you have to complete a 20-hour DUI risk reduction course, commonly referred to as “DUI school.” You must also report to probation for 12 months, and there is a probation supervision fee of approximately $50 per month.
These penalties are required by statute, but prosecutors and judges will generally also require that you attend and complete an alcohol and drug evaluation from a licensed psychologist or counselor, as well as complete a victim impact panel, which is a two-hour program during which you listen to people whose lives have been negatively impacted by Drinking and Driving or Drunk Driving.
While on probation, you typically will be prohibited from drinking alcohol or using illegal drugs, and you’ll be subject to random screens of your blood, breath, or urine for the presence of drugs and alcohol or their metabolites or byproducts. The urine test for alcohol is called an ETG test, which can detect alcohol metabolites or the byproducts of alcohol up to 80 hours after you drink. For this reason, it is very difficult to drink on probation without getting caught.
For a second DUI in 10 years, there is a minimum mandatory punishment of 72 hours or 3 days in jail and a maximum of one year in jail. The fines essentially double, so the minimum fine is $1,200 and the maximum fine is $2,000. In addition, 240 hours or 30 days of community service will be required, and you will have to attend and complete DUI school. You will have to obtain a state-approved drug and alcohol evaluation, and will be subject to having your picture in the newspaper.
The authorities can confiscate any license plates for vehicles registered in your name if this is a 2nd in 5 year DUI conviction. Your driver’s license will be suspended for 18 months, but you will be allowed to get your license back on a limited basis after four months or earlier in the court’s discretion under certain circumstances, so long as you have an interlock device in your vehicle. After driving with the interlock device for eight months, you will have a regular limited permit for the remainder of the 18-month period, so you will be able to drive to and from work, school, the doctor, DUI counseling appointments, and to care for dependent children. You may be able to obtain a limited permit prior to the end of the initial four-month hard suspension time frame if you get an order signed by a judge allowing you to get your license sooner. This would require you be in some sort of rehabilitation program or a DUI court program.
For a third DUI in 10 years, there’s a mandatory minimum punishment of 15 days in jail and a maximum of one year in jail. The minimum fine is $1,200, and the maximum fine is $2,000. A third DUI within 10 years is considered a high and aggravated misdemeanor, which means that you don’t necessarily get the same type of good time credit in jail that you would get from a regular criminal charge. In a regular criminal charge, you typically get two-for-one credit if you behave, and if it is being offered by the jail; for a high and aggravated misdemeanor, you get four days additional credit for every month you spend in jail on good behavior. Good time credit is not guaranteed. You can do significantly more jail time for a high and aggravated misdemeanor. You will be required to complete 240 hours of community service and will have to obtain a state-approved drug and alcohol evaluation. You are subject to a tag confiscation and a picture in the newspaper.
A fourth DUI in 10 years is considered a felony, and the same conditions and penalties that apply for a third DUI will apply to the fourth, with an additional one to five years in state prison. The only other potential penalty for a DUI—whether it’s a first, second, third, or fourth-time DUI—is that if you refuse chemical testing, then you will lose your license for one year. You would be issued a DDS Form 1205 at arrest, and either did not timely request a hearing, or request a hearing. To uphold the refusal suspension, law enforcement would only have to prove that there were reasonable grounds to arrest you for DUI and that you refused to take a chemical test using a more likely than not or preponderance of the evidence standard. This is a very low burden of persuasion.
For multiple DUIs outside of 10 years but in the lifetime, there is no mandatory minimum punishments. It’s very common for judges and prosecutors to recommend punishments that mimic the mandatory punishments for a first, second, or third DUI in 10 years. If you have a third lifetime DUI, you might be recommended for DUI court, required to do 240 hours of community service, or required to get a drug and alcohol evaluation by the court.
For more information on Penalties For A DUI Conviction In Georgia, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (770) 961-5511.