First DUI Penalties in Georgia
Call the Trusted Atlanta First DUI Defense Attorney You Need
For many, those faced with their first DUI offense are also dealing with their very first criminal charge. It can be a frightening experience full of many uncertainties. Even worse, Georgia law outlines numerous penalties for a first-time offense that can turn any driver's life upside down just because of one, isolated mistake.
That is why it is absolutely essential that you contact an Atlanta DUI defense lawyer as soon as you have been charged. There both administrative and criminal consequences to consider and contend with following a DUI offense and knowledgeable counsel will be able to help put them behind you as swiftly as possible. At Willis Law Firm, our Atlanta first DUI attorney has 20 years of combined experience in providing Atlanta DUI clients exactly this kind of service.
You may already know about the possible jail sentence and heavy fines you could face if you have been arrested for DUI in Atlanta. These penalties in and of themselves may cost you years of your life and deal you a huge financial blow. If you are convicted of these charges, you could further be faced with job loss, driver's license suspension or revocation, probation, mandatory DUI school, and even problems with immigration.
If you have been charged for DUI, call our firm today. We are ready to offer you a free case evaluation to explore your legal options.
Your ALS Hearing
Following your DUI arrest, you have only 30 calendar days to request an Administrative License Suspension hearing, or an ALS hearing. If you do not request and attend this hearing, your license is automatically suspended for 120 days. You will also be subject of a $210 fine and be compelled to attend a drug and alcohol abuse class. If you are under 21, your administrative license suspension may last six months or—in cases where there was a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of over .08—a full year.
However, it may be possible to not only avoid these penalties, but to also reinstate your license. With representation from a Atlanta first DUI lawyer who can emphatically put forth any relevant information that proves you should continue to be able to drive, you may retain some driving privileges. Your prior driving record, transportation needs, and the circumstances of your DUI arrest may all be part of a convincing argument to avoid a suspension.
Criminal Penalties for a First DUI
If a conviction is reached, criminal penalties for the first time DUI are described in the OCGA 40-6-391. They can include:
- Up to $1000 in fines
- Up to 12 months in jail
- One year’s license suspension
- 40 hours of community service
- Completion of drug and alcohol abuse class (“DUI school”)
It should be noted that jail time is not a frequent part of these first time offense penalties. Instead of jail, a judge will often sentence the convicted to one year of probation. Aggravating factors, like the injury of an individual or the presence of a minor, may increase these penalties.
Minimum Sentencing for a First DUI Conviction
Most of those charged with their first DUI offense are aware of how serious a matter it is, but are also dismayed to discover just extensive—and numerous—the minimum penalties can be. Beyond the expected license suspension and fines, other measures are enforced not only to be punitive, but to assess if there is a substance abuse problem and to discourage the convicted from ever offending again.
Georgia's first offense DUI penalties are found in the O.C.G.A. § 40-6-391(c)(1). These penalties are also associated with what is known as a "first in ten" offense, the "ten" meaning 10 years. In Georgia, the DUI look back period is 10 years, meaning that, if you have not had another DUI charge in the last 10 years, your latest charge will always count as your first (and not a repeat offense).
Georgia's minimum first offense DUI penalties can include:
- Fines: minimum of $300, maximum of $1,000
- "DUI school": Completion of DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program
- Medical review: a clinical drug and alcohol evaluation (judge may waive this)
- Probation: 12 months, minus any time served in jail
- License suspension: 12 months, but commonly terminated at 4 months
- Jail: minimum of 24 hours if a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or more was registered by the offender
- Community service: minimum of 40 hours, 20 hours for offenders under 21 who registered a BAC level less than .08
For first time offenders, it should be noted that it may be possible to retain limited driving privileges. Under the right circumstances, a judge can grant limited driving privileges for those convicted who still need to commute to school and work. These limited privileges, however, need to be petitioned for in court.
For more specific information about what consequences you could be facing for your first time DUI offense, we invite you to contact our firm today. Our award-winning DUI attorney is ready to assess your case and determine effective options in securing the best possible outcome on your behalf.
Facing charges for DUI? Call us at Willis Law Firm today.
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