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 vehicle 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.