Georgia DUI Laws and Penalties 2023 – All You Need to Know

Mar 15, 2023

Being arrested for a DUI can be daunting for anyone. Driving under the influence is a criminal offense in the state of Georgia. If you are convicted, it can result in severe legal consequences. This makes it critical to be aware of state laws and the penalties that can occur. It is also vital to have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. They can represent you throughout your case.

What Is Considered a DUI in Georgia?

A “driving under the influence” charge is most commonly known as a DUI. It occurs when an individual is driving or in physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. A law enforcement officer has the right to pull any driver over and subject them to legal tests if they suspect them to be under the influence. You may be charged with a DUI in the state of Georgia if:

  • You are found to be driving or in physical control of a vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher.
  • You are found operating a commercial vehicle with a BAC of 0.04% or higher.
  • You are under 21 years of age and have a 0.02% BAC or higher.
  • You are found to have any kind of illegal drug in your urine and blood tests.
  • You had a BAC of less than 0.08% but were driving recklessly, dangerously, or putting yourself or other people in danger.

What Are the Potential Consequences of a DUI in Georgia?

If you are ultimately convicted of a DUI in Georgia, there are a variety of penalties that you may face depending on how severe your charge is. Generally, the state of Georgia penalizes individuals based on the number of prior convictions they have had in the past 10 years. The average consequences for an individual convicted of a DUI include:

1st Offense Consequences:

  • Possible jail time of up to one full year
  • Minimum fine of $300, but can be up to $1,000
  • License suspension for up to one full year
  • A mandatory minimum of 40 hours of community service (can sometimes be 20 hours if the BAC was below 0.08%)
  • $210 license reinstatement fee after suspension
  • Potential probation for up to one full year

2nd Offense Consequences:

  • A mandatory minimum of 40 hours in jail, but can be up to a full year sentence
  • Minimum fine of $600, but can be up to $1,000
  • Suspended license for three years
  • $210 license reinstatement fee after suspension
  • A mandatory minimum of 30 days of community service
  • Legally required clinical evaluation to assess if there is a substance abuse issue present (if one is found, the individual may be legally required to go to treatment)
  • Probation based on jail time and severity of offense

3rd Offense Consequences:

  • Minimum fine of $1,000, but can be up to $5,000
  • A mandatory minimum of 15 days in jail
  • Suspended license for five years
  • A mandatory minimum of 30 days community service, but can be more
  • Legally required clinical evaluation to assess if there is a substance abuse issue present (if one is found, the individual may be legally required to go to treatment)
  • Driver’s license plate is seized and becomes invalid
  • Photo of the individual, their name, and their conviction posted in the local newspaper

4th Offense or Offense Involving Injury or Death Consequences:

  • Felony DUI charge on your criminal record
  • Up to five years in prison, with additional years added if an individual was injured or killed
  • Mandatory minimum fine of $1,000, plus any damages
  • Suspended license for three years with no eligibility for early reinstatement
  • Legally required clinical evaluation to assess if there is a substance abuse issue present (if one is found, the individual may be legally required to go to treatment)
  • Photo of the individual, their name, and their conviction posted in the local newspaper
  • Mandatory probation after prison

FAQs

What Is the “3-Hour Rule” in Georgia?

The 3-hour rule, otherwise known as a DUI per se, can be used to charge an individual with a DUI. The 3-hour rule applies if their BAC is over 0.08% within three hours of when they stopped operating the vehicle. In this situation, it is known that the alcohol was consumed before they operated the vehicle. Therefore, they were under the influence while driving, even if it took a few hours for their BAC to get to 0.08%.

Can a DUI Case Be Dismissed in Georgia?

If you have been charged with a DUI in Georgia, do not panic. If you find an experienced DUI lawyer who can properly represent you, you may have a strong chance of getting your case dismissed if your charge is not too serious. In fact, most Georgia DUI cases end with the defendant’s acquittal.

Is a DUI Considered a Misdemeanor or Felony?

In most cases, a DUI will be considered a misdemeanor for a defendant’s first three offenses in Georgia. However, an individual can be charged with a felony DUI if they:

What Is Georgia’s Open Container Law?

An open container is considered to be any alcoholic beverage that is:

  • Open
  • Cracked
  • Has a broken seal
  • Missing contents
  • Found to be resealed

Georgia has strict laws stating that no alcoholic beverages can be possessed or consumed in the driver or passenger area of a vehicle. It is also illegal to have open containers anywhere in the vehicle.

Your Atlanta DUI Defense

Here at The Law Office of Delisa Williams PC, our team is committed to representing the rights of our Georgia clients. We know how intimidating charges like DUIs can be. This is why we are prepared to work with you to find the most optimal solution possible for your situation. If you were charged with a DUI in the Atlanta area, do not delay in asking how The Law Office of Delisa Williams PC can help you. To schedule a consultation with us, or to learn more about our different services, contact us today.