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 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.
Georgia DUI Penalties
Georgia drivers face numerous charges as a result of violating state laws related to drunk driving. The penalties handed down depend upon age and violation. If a driver who is 21 and over has a blood-alcohol concentration, or BAC, of .08 percent or greater, he or she will face DUI charges. Commercial vehicle drivers who are 21 and over may be charged with DUI for a BAC of .04 percent or greater. For drivers who are under the age of 21, BAC readings of .02 percent or greater result in a DUI charge.
Penalties for individuals who are under the age of 21 found to be operating a moving vehicle with a BAC of .02 percent or higher are different than those levied against individuals who are of legal drinking age. For first and second offenses, the charge is a misdemeanor, and, for the third or subsequent offenses, the charge is a gross misdemeanor. For individuals who are over the age of 21 and are found to be driving with a BAC of .08 or higher, first and second offenses are charged as misdemeanors. A third conviction is an aggravated misdemeanor, and fourth and subsequent convictions are considered felonies.
Penalties for refusal of a chemical test
In Georgia, state statute suggests that any person driving or in physical control of a moving vehicle has automatically given consent to receive chemical testing for the presence of alcohol. Such tests may be requested and administered by an officer who has reasonable grounds to suspect impairment. A refusal to submit to a test will result in a one-year suspension of driving privileges. Refusal to submit to a test may also be used as evidence against a person in court.
Penalties for a 1st DUI offense
Individuals convicted of first offense DUI receive a possible jail sentence of at least 10 days and to up to one year. At the discretion of a judge, all but 24 hour of the jail sentence may be suspended. First offense penalties may also include 40 hours of community service, enrollment in a DUI program and probation of up to one year. Total fines and fees range from $300 to 1,000.
Penalties for a 2nd DUI offense
For a second conviction within a 10-year period, a person may face fines ranging from $600 to $1,000. That person may also be incarcerated for a period that ranges from 90 days up to one year. As with a first offense conviction, much of that sentence may be suspended at a judge’s discretion. However, at least 72 hours must be served. A 12-month probation period, as well as a minimum 30 days of community service, may be included.
Penalties for a 3rd DUI offense
If a person is convicted for the third time in 10 years, he or she may be sentenced to an incarceration lasting a minimum of 120 days and a maximum of 12 months. Not more than 15 days of that sentence may be suspended at the discretion of a judge. Fines ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 may be levied as well, and the person may be sentenced to a minimum 30 days of community service.
Penalties for 4th and subsequent DUI offenses
Fourth or subsequent DUI convictions within a 10-year period are considered felonies. Sentencing may include imprisonment between one to five years, of which all but 90 days may be suspended. A fine of not less than $1,000 but not more than $5,000 will be incurred as well. A minimum of 60 days of community service may be required as well.