In Georgia, if a non-commercial driver over 21 is found to have a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) level of .08 percent or greater, he or she can be charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and subject to penalties. Those under 21 can be charged if their BAC is above .02 percent. Commercial vehicles drivers can be charged at .04 percent. Drivers do not need to demonstrate impairment to be charged.
Implied Consent Georgia DUI Laws
Georgia is an implied consent state, meaning that drivers who refuse to take a breath, blood, or urine test will be assessed a fine and faced with automatic license suspension. The arresting officer is required to ask if the accused is willing to undergo testing under this law and to explain the consequences of refusal. In general, refusing to take the test can be used by the prosecution to support their case and does not often help the accused avoid penalties for DUI. A person can still be found guilty even without a measured BAC level.
The penalties for first-time offenders are as follows: jail time can range from 24 hours to one year; fines range from $300 to $1,000; license suspension for up to one year; a community service requirement of no less than 40 hours; license reinstatement fee of $210. It may be possible for some offenders to get a limited driving permit during this period.
The penalties for a second offense are as follows: jail time can range from three days to one year; fines range from $600 to $1,000; license suspension for three years; a community service requirement of no less than 30 days; license reinstatement fee of $210; an ignition interlock device at the court’s discretion; completion of a treatment program or evaluation. An ignition interlock device prevents the person from driving the car while registering a BAC level above the legal limit. The offender assumes responsibility for the DUI Alcohol or Drug Risk Reduction Program, required clinical evaluation, any possible treatment and all associated costs.
The penalties for a third offense are as follows: jail time can range from fifteen days to one year; fines range from $1,000 to $5,000; license suspension for five years; driver’s photograph in their local newspaper; a community service requirement of no less than 30 days; license reinstatement fee of $210; completion of a treatment program or evaluation. At the third offense, the offender is labeled a habitual violator. He/she can obtain a probationary driver’s license with court permission, usually after two years or more. One of the more unique sentencing elements is that the name, address and photo of the offender is published in the newspaper at his or her own expense.
Fourth Offense and Felony Georgia DUI Laws
In Georgia, a third DUI conviction can be punishable as a felony; however, the fourth offense is felony DUI and includes harsher sentencing in terms of jail time, fines and community service hours. At this point, vehicle confiscation is possible.
What Is The Legal Alcohol Limit In Georgia?
Georgia has a legal alcohol limit of .08 percent, as every other state in the U.S. People stopped while driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above the legal limit are typically charged with driving under the influence (DUI).
Different alcohol-related driving offenses may be charged following a DUI stop. These include:
- Per se DUI. This charge is brought against individuals who register a BAC of .08 percent or greater in a breath or blood test after a traffic stop.
- Less safe DUI. Charges of this kind can be brought against people whose BAC isn’t over the limit. Instead, police need only believe a person is driving in a less safe way due to alcohol.
- Commercial driver DUI. People who drive commercial vehicles are subject to lower alcohol limits; a motorist may face a DUI charge for having a BAC of .04 percent or higher.
- Underage DUI. Motorists under the legal drinking age of 21 may be charged with alcohol-related driving offenses if a BAC is .02 percent or greater.
Regardless of the type of charges brought against individuals, strict DUI penalties are rigorously enforced by state authorities. Jail time, fines, license suspension and other punishments can result from a conviction.
Ignition Interlock Requirements In Georgia
People with DUI offenses may need to have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed on a vehicle. This device, intended to prevent repeat DUI offenses, requires drivers to submit a passing breath sample before an engine will start.
Facts to keep in mind about IIDs include:
- Whether a device is required after a first offense is up to a judge.
- Repeat DUI offenses require IID installation as a form of punishment.
- Installation and maintenance expenses must be covered by the person convicted.
Ignition interlock devices can be costly. Most people do have a device installed, however, if it represents the only opportunity to drive after a DUI.