Gwinnett County DUI: Do I Really Have to Do Community Service?

Question: I got arrested for DUI in Gwinnett County. It's the first time I've ever gotten a DUI. My record is totally clean except for a pot possession charge that I got years ago when I was in college and a few speeding tickets in Lawrenceville.

Now I've finally gotten a job that I like and I want to keep it. I work at a company in Norcross and live in Duluth. I told my boss at work that I was arrested for DUI and she said that was alright because she got a DUI in Gwinnett about 5 years ago. But I have a sales quota to meet and I'm worried about missing work for all the things I have to do because of the DUI.

I really don't have time to do community service. Is there some way that I cannot do community service? I can pay a higher fine and do other things. Don't get me wrong, I used to volunteer in college for a lot of stuff. But now that I'm working I just can't miss too much work or I'll get fired. How much community service will I get in Gwinnett Recorder's Court? I blew a .154 on the breathalyzer test. I was drunk driving, I admit.

Answer: Georgia law provides that you perform “not less than 40 hours of community service” for a first DUI conviction. O.C.G.A. § 40-6-391. In the Gwinnett County Recorder's Court you will likely have to do 40 hours of community service (assuming you have no other charges that a solicitor will ask for additional community service for). Community service is volunteering your time at a legitimate charitable organization (a 501 (c) (3)). Some probation officers will allow you to volunteer at religious or educational institutions, but some will not, so if you are considering volunteering at either one, it is best to speak with your probation officer to make sure that you will get community service credit for your help.

Once you complete your community service hours, make sure that you get written confirmation from the charity. The charity should issue you a letter that states exactly how many hours of community service you performed.

As for your question about paying a greater fine and having your community service commitment reduced, you will not be allowed to do that; the hours must be “performed.” To get some good community service ideas, you can search charity organizations in your area on the Internet.

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