Whether you’re a year-round resident or are simply vacationing in the sunny expanse of Georgia, it can be easy to have a few too many drinks at a pub or party, but getting behind the wheel in those situations is never a good idea. In this blog, we explain what can happen if you drink and drive, from the moment you’re pulled over until your court verdict.
What Constitutes a DUI?
The biggest factor that leads to a guilty verdict is a high Blood Alcohol Concentration. Despite being one of the toughest DUI states in the country, Georgia BAC numbers are pretty standard, being similar to other nearby states. The number you blow on the breathalyzer that leads to “per se” violation varies by your age and type of vehicle you’re driving. Here are the numbers to stay below.
- 0.08 percent and above – This BAC is set in place for drivers 21 years of age or older who are driving a normal passenger automobile.
- 0.04 percent and above – No matter your age, if you’re driving a commercial vehicle, your BAC must be below 0.04 percent.
- 0.02 percent and above – Young drivers under the age of 21 have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to their BAC. Registering above 0.02 percent will result in a “per se” DUI charge if you are under 21.
What Happens If You’re Arrested?
When you’re pulled over for a DUI, try to remain calm. Getting upset isn’t going to help the situation. While a DUI conviction will remain on your record for life, hiring a good lawyer can help you avoid a guilty verdict, depending on the situation.
If you’ve failed your chemical test, your license will be confiscated and you’ll be issued a temporary driving permit good for 180 days. For those that refuse the chemical test, your license will still be taken away due to Georgia’s Implied Consent Law, which assumes a police officer has the right to test you for drugs and alcohol if you’re driving on Georgia roads. In this case, you’ll be given a 45-day permit, giving you time to challenge the suspension with a court hearing.
If you lose your case, the length of your license suspension will be automatically extended to one year, but you can reduce it by paying the state a hefty reinstatement fee and completing an educational substance use program. These penalties are just for the first offense. Additional offenses will result in longer suspension periods and heavier punishments.
What Are the Penalties of a First Offense?
Georgia is extremely strict when it comes to DUI convictions. First-time offenders face at least 24 hours in jail and hefty fines. Depending on the severity of your offense, you could be put behind bars for up to a year. That’s the limit for a first offense, or for those who haven’t been convicted in the last 10 years. With a good lawyer, you could even end up with no jail time at all.
Fines for your first DUI range from $300 to $1,000, and you can have your license suspended for up to a year. You must also complete 40 hours of mandatory community service and a substance abuse evaluation to prove to the state that this situation won’t happen again. Any arrests beyond a first conviction have steeper penalties.
If you’ve been arrested for a DUI, it’s important to seek legal counsel immediately. An experienced DUI lawyer can mean the difference between a lifetime of hardship and getting back to life as normal. Don’t settle for a public defender, or worse yet, defend yourself. Call Savannah DUI at (912) 221-4441 for a free consultation and affordable flat fees. We’ll work to preserve your rights and defend your interests, so you can move forward.