Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs is illegal in Georgia and carries hefty penalties. These legal and administrative punishments increase with every additional DUI charge, including license suspension and even jail time.

Georgians who understand the consequences of a DUI charge can make better-informed decisions when enjoying an evening out on the town. What punishments will a DUI offender face?

Blood alcohol content limits and implied consent

Georgia recognizes the “implied consent” rule, which means that everyone who operates a motor vehicle on Georgia’s roads consents to a blood alcohol content (BAC) test. Failure to do so when pulled over by a police officer results in penalties, including a limited license suspension. The legal BAC limit in Georgia adopts the .08% standard, but the Peach State charges those under 21 at .02% and issues an “aggravated” charge at .15%.

Criminal penalties for a DUI charge include:

  • First offense: Imprisonment between 10 days and 12 months, 12 months of probation, fines between $300 and $1,000, no less than 40 hours of community service, completion of a Drug and Alcohol Risk Reduction program, and 12 months of a suspended license.
  • Second offense within five years of last arrest: Imprisonment between 90 days and 12 months, 12 months of probation, fines between $600 and $1,000, 80 hours of community service, completion of alcohol education program, clinical evaluation, and 3 years of a suspended license.
  • Third offense within five years of last arrest, considered an aggravated misdemeanor: Imprisonment between 120 days and 12 months, 12 months of probation, fees between $1,000 and $5,000, 20 days of community service, completion of substance abuse programming, 12 months of a suspended license.

Commercial drivers and those under the age of 21 face different, or additional, penalties.

Charged with a DUI? Consider contacting an attorney

Those facing a drunk driving charge have more success with the defense by hiring a local lawyer familiar with Georgia’s DUI laws. An attorney can help protect one’s rights and work with the courts on sentencing and settlement.