There are certain things you need to know if you are charged with DUI in Georgia. Driving under the influence (DUI) is taken very seriously by prosecutors and courts in Georgia. It can impact your life with severe legal and personal consequences (job loss, jail, license suspension, etc.). Understanding the specific laws and regulations related to DUI in Georgia is crucial for anyone who is dealing intimately with the ramifications of a DUI charge. The principal Georgia DUI statute is O.C.G.A. § 40-6-391.
In this blog post, we will discuss 10 important things you need to know about DUI in the state of Georgia.
- Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Limits: Under the law, it matters how old you are. There is a big difference between being at least 21 years old and being younger than that. In Georgia, the legal limit for blood alcohol concentration is 0.08% for drivers aged 21 and over. However, for drivers under 21, a BAC of 0.02% or higher can result in a DUI charge.
- Implied Consent Law: If you don’t take the breath or blood test, your driver’s license can be suspended. Georgia has an implied consent law, which means that by operating a vehicle on Georgia roads, you are deemed to have given consent to chemical testing (blood, breath, or urine) to determine your BAC if lawfully arrested for DUI. Refusing the test can result in a license suspension.
- Penalties for DUI Convictions: Penalties can be high; it depends on various factors. DUI convictions in Georgia carry various penalties, including fines, license suspension, mandatory alcohol or drug education programs, community service, probation, and even jail time, depending on the circumstances and prior offenses.
- Administrative License Suspension: Upon arrest for DUI, your driver's license may be suspended administratively. You have a limited time, only 30 days, to request an administrative hearing to challenge the suspension.
- DUI Drugs: Not all DUI charges are for alcohol. In fact, many DUI charges involve drugs. DUI laws in Georgia also apply to driving under the influence of drugs, including illegal drugs, prescription medications, and over-the-counter drugs that impair your ability to drive safely. There are many drugs that can impair your ability to operate a motor vehicle.
- Aggravating Factors: Courts and prosecutors look at the circumstances surrounding the DUI. Certain aggravating factors can enhance the penalties for a DUI offense in Georgia. These factors may include excessive BAC levels, prior DUI convictions, driving with a suspended license, causing injury or property damage, or having a child in the vehicle at the time of the offense. Aggravating factors need to be addressed in a reasonable and intelligent manner to minimize their impact.
- Ignition Interlock Device (IID): For multiple DUI convictions, Georgia may require the installation of an ignition interlock device by a private company in your vehicle. This device measures your BAC and prevents the car from starting if alcohol is detected. The device is physically installed by a private company, not the Georgia Department if Driver Services.
- Driver's License Reinstatement: After a DUI conviction, you will likely face a license suspension. To reinstate your license, you may need to complete an a DUI School/Risk Reduction Course, pay reinstatement fees, and provide proof of insurance.
- DUI and Underage Drinking: As stated above, Georgia has strict laws regarding DUI for underage drivers. Any driver under the age of 21 with a BAC of 0.02% or higher can face DUI charges, leading to license suspension, fines, community service, and substance abuse programs. Under Georgia law, you can’t drink alcohol if you’re under 21.
- The Importance of Legal Representation: If you are facing DUI charges in Georgia, you need a local DUI lawyer. We can help navigate the legal process by constructing a potent defense strategy.
DUI is serious. Driving under the influence in Georgia can have severe consequences, including hefty legal penalties, license suspension, and potential impacts on your personal and professional life. By understanding the key aspects discussed in this blog post, you can make informed decisions, prioritize responsible driving, and seek the necessary legal assistance to navigate a DUI charge effectively. When you need a local DUI attorney to protect you, call us immediately.