FAQs | Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

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Georgia DUI Laws | FAQs

Being charged with a DUI in Georgia is a daunting and scary situation to find yourself in. We’ve represented numerous clients in this very position, so we understand this all too well.

This is why we’ve put together this DUI FAQs page with all of the questions we are commonly asked by our clients.

We hope you find the information on this page helpful. If you’ve already been arrested on suspicion or charged with a DUI, we urge you to call the LaScala Firm today at (404) 881-8866 for a free consultation.

Our experienced DUI attorneys will advise you of your rights and what your next steps should be to minimize the charges and punishments you’re facing.

According to Georgia Statue § 40-6-391, a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) in the state of Georgia is defined as a person driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, and other intoxicating substances. At least to the extent that their operation of the vehicle would be less safe.

First, second, and third DUIs are classified as misdemeanors. A firth DUI within 10 years is classified as a felony offense. In addition, DUI Serious Injury by vehicle, DUI Vehicular Homicide, and being a Habitual Violator are all felony offenses.

There is always the possibility of an administrative suspension of your driver’s license if you’re convicted of a DUI.

Your license will be confiscated by the court and surrendered to the local Department of Driver Services office. If it’s your first administrative suspension, this period could be as short as 30 days.

You may be able to get what’s called a “limited use driving permit”, however. This will allow you to drive to your place of work to ensure you can perform your occupational duties.

There isn’t a “legal limit” as such in Georgia. There are “Per se” and “Less Safe” limits. What this means is; if you’re found to be over a blood alcohol level of .08, you’re presumed to be too impaired to drive.

If it can be proved you have a BAC of .08 or more, you can be charged with a DUI. However, you can still be charged with a BAC below .08 if an officer deems you “less safe” to drive.

This is because alcohol affects everyone in different ways. Someone who has had one drink and has a BAC level lower than .08 can still be a danger to other road users.

No, you’re not required by law to give a field sobriety test if you don’t want to do so. An officer will likely not advise you that it’s not mandatory when asking you to perform one though.

If you’re pulled over on suspicion of a DUI, you have a 5th Amendment Constitutional right against self-incrimination. This means you do not have to say or do anything that may incriminate yourself.

Refusing to take any tests will likely result in you being detained and taken into custody. From there, you can retain a lawyer and act on their advice without incriminating yourself.

If you’ve been arrested for a DUI you will have been issued with a “30-Day Letter”. This is essentially a notification that you have 30 days to appeal the automatic suspension of your license.

There are four different types of 30-day letters:

  • The first is sent when a test has indicated you had a BAC of .08 or more.
  • The second is sent if you’ve refused to take a test.
  • The third is sent if you’re under the age of 21 and tested positive with a BAC of .02 or more.
  • The fourth is sent to commercial vehicle drivers who tested positive with a BAC of .04 or more.

If you don’t appeal within 30 days, your license can be suspended for a duration of anywhere between 30 days and a year.

For a first-time offense, you face jail time of anywhere between 24 hours and 12 months. You will also have to pay fines ranging from $300 to $1,000.

Additionally, first-time offenders are given upto 40 hours of community service work and required to complete a DUI program.

For a second offense, you face jail time of anywhere between 72 hours and 12 months. You will also have to pay fines ranging from $600-$1,000.

A judge can also order you to carry out up to 240 hours of community service and attend a DUI program.

For the third offense within 10 years, you face jail time of anywhere between 15 days and 12 months. You will also have to pay fines ranging from $1,000-$5,000.

A judge can also order you to carry out up to 240 hours of community service and attend a DUI program.

If you’re found guilty of a fourth DUI within 10 years in Georgia, you’ll be charged with a felony. The penalties you face are jail time of anywhere between 1 and 5 years. You will also have to pay fines ranging from $1,000-$5,000.

A judge can reduce your penalties if you undergo DUI programs approved by the court.

That’s a decision that you have to make. However, with the severity of a DUI and the severe penalties on the line, you should strongly consider hiring an attorney to protect your rights.

A lawyer can never guarantee the outcome of any case. Ultimately that’s down to the judge to decide. What they can do, however, is to utilize their experience and detailed understanding of the law to seek the minimum punishment for you.

Attorneys are often able to get a case thrown out, too. Something that would not be possible without a detailed understanding of the DUI laws in Georgia.

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As a former prosecutor, Michael LaScala has litigated cases on both sides of the law. He is one of the leading criminal defense and DUI attorneys in Georgia, and always fights for his client’s best interests.

If you’ve been charged with a DUI, contact the LaScala Firm at (404) 881-8866. We will schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.