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 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 hours 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 of 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 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 of 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.