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How Georgia regulates underage drunk driving

On Behalf of | Sep 22, 2020 | DUI Defense | 0 comments

Georgia law takes a unique approach to underage drunk driving. In addition to enforcing standard statutes like the implied consent law and a lower legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit, Georgia uses flexible sentencing that helps offenders understand the consequences of their actions.

Underage drunk driving claimed 30 lives in 2018. Georgia law hopes to eliminate those numbers with a culture of learning, experience and consequence. What penalties do those under age 21 incur for driving under the influence (DUI)?

Additional and modified penalties for those under 21

Georgia law implements a lower BAC limit for those under 21 at .02%. Testing at this level within three hours of driving or being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle will result in a DUI charge. Punishments vary depending on previous DUI convictions.

  • First offense: This misdemeanor results in $300 to $1,000 in fines, one day to one year in jail and at least 20 hours of community service.
  • Second offense: Still a misdemeanor, offenders must pay fines of $600 to $1,000, spend between 72 hours and one day in jail and complete 30 hours of community service.
  • Third offense: Considered a “high and aggravated” misdemeanor, a third offense incurs between $1,000 and $1,500 in fines, 15 days to 12 months in jail and 30 community service days.
  • Fourth offense: Georgia law considers a fourth offense within 10 years a felony. Penalties include $1,000 to $5,000 in fines, 90 days to five years of jail time and 60 days of community service.

Underage drivers also face a license suspension lasting a minimum of six months. Multiple offenders may lose their license for five years.

A second change with risk reduction programming

Though penalties are harsh for those charged with a DUI, underage offenders can take advantage of special sentencing rules. A judge may allow first-time offenders to serve their jail time on weekends or during non-working hours. Underage offenders also serve their time separately from the rest of the prison population.

Facing an underage DUI charge? An attorney can answer questions

Those facing a DUI charge can find the legal help they need by contacting a local lawyer familiar with Georgia’s DUI laws. An attorney can work with the judge on sentencing alternatives like work or education programs.