First Offense DUI in Georgia

Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in the State of Georgia is a serious crime. First-time offenders often find themselves in a world of trouble leading to several legal repercussions. If you’ve been charged with your first dui, it’s important that you contact an experience DUI defense attorney for legal advice.

Georgia DUI Laws

  1. In Georgia, a person shall not drive or be in physical control of any moving vehicles while under the influence of any of the following to the extent that it makes them less safe to drive:a. Under the influence of alcohol (DUI alcohol);b. Under the influence of any drug (DUI drugs including prescription drugs);c. Under the influence of any glue, aerosol, or other toxic vapor; ORd. Under the combined influence of any two or more of these substance;
  1. Also known as DUI per se or over the legal limit, a person shall not drive or be in physical control of any moving vehicle when that person’s alcohol concentration is 0.08 grams or more
  2. A person shall not drive or be in physical control of any moving vehicle when there is any amount of marijuana or other controlled substance in the person’s blood or urine.
  3. For those under 21, a person shall not drive or be in physical control of any moving vehicle when that person’s alcohol concentration is 0.02 grams or more

The Immediate Consequences Of A DUI Arrest

Law enforcement might ask that you perform a field sobriety test. These tests are completely voluntary. You do not have to submit to them. These tests are done prior to the arrest.

Once arrested, the arresting officer can, but does not always, confiscate the person’s driver’s license and issue a temporary license valid for 45 days. If the officer does this, he usually gives the arrested person the notice to suspend or the notice to suspend will be mailed to the person by the Department of Driver Services (DDS).

The person arrested would then be booked into the local county jail. Typically, the arrested person would be entitled to a bond and would be able to bond out fairly quickly.

Once released, it is important that you give your criminal defense lawyer any paperwork you receive stemming from the arrest.

Georgia Department Of Driver Services (DDS) Administrative License Suspension Process

Department of Driver Services is a state administrative agency that internally handles issues that involve motor vehicles. It’s important to understand that this process is a civil matter and is separate from the underlying criminal case. This process is also known as an Administrative License Suspension (ALS). This process will only concern you if the arresting officer elected to confiscate your Georgia driver’s license at the time of arrest.

Drivers have only thirty days from the arrest date to request a hearing with the DDS to contest the suspension of their license. Failing to request a hearing within thirty days will result in the driver’s license remaining suspended. The temporary permit will also expire after the 45-day period is up. If you fail to request a hearing, you will not have driving privileges unless and until you win your criminal case or plea it down to a charge that does not result in a driver’s license suspension.

Criminal Court Process

Simultaneous with the ALS hearing, the offender must also deal with the criminal court proceeding. The criminal case will determine whether there will be any legal penalties. For the criminal matter you need to make sure that you contact the best DUI Lawyer you can find. Georgia DUI penalties can vary, but typically they include fines, probation, and potentially jail time.

Penalties For First-Time DUI Offenders

Fines and Penalties:

A person with a first DUI conviction can expect to pay fines ranging from $300 to $1,000 plus court costs, monthly probation fees, and any other applicable surcharges.

Jail Sentence:

A first DUI offense is a misdemeanor.  In Georgia, the sentence for a first DUI is anywhere from 10 days to 12 months in jail, but these sentences are usually suspended. This means that you may not have to go to jail, but you will be placed on probation for at least 12 months. In Georgia, there is a mandatory 24 hrs. that must be served in jail for DUI per se cases, but offenders are usually given credit for time served on the 24 hrs. It’s important that you find a Georgia DUI lawyer that is familiar with your specific court so that you are prepared for the consequences that come with a DUI conviction.

License Suspension:

If convicted of DUI, your license will be suspended for 12 months or from the date of arrest if they were confiscated.

For DUI refusal of chemical test, there is a 12-month hard suspension, which means a limited permit will not be available. The only way to be able to drive would be through electing to install an ignition interlock device for 12 months onto your vehicle. This election would need to be made prior to the 30-day deadline to appeal the suspension. If missed, the 12-month hard suspension would be in place.

For DUI Per Se (Over. 0.08 blood alcohol concentration “BAC”), offenders can receive an immediate limited driving permit after the temporary permit expires on the 46th day if they have completed the DUI School/ Risk Reduction Program. After 120 days, the offender can reinstate their full Georgia Driver’s License upon proof of showing completion of DUI School and paying the reinstatement fee.


On a first DUI there’s a mandatory 12 months of probation. As a condition of probation, offenders need to report regularly to their probation officer. They may have to undergo an alcohol and drug clinical evaluation and must comply with the evaluator’s recommendations including treatment programs if required. It is also a mandatory condition that they perform 40 hours of community service. If the terms of probation are not met, then the offender can be brought back to court on a probation revocation matter.

DUI School:

Offenders must attend a licensed DUI program prior to having their license reinstated. This program is also called the DUI Risk Reduction Program.

The Impact Of A DUI Conviction

Beyond the immediate penalties, a DUI conviction can have long lasting repercussion. A DUI conviction will go on an offender’s criminal record forever. It can affect employment opportunities and education opportunities. It can make it very difficult for the offender to get a commercial driver’s license.

DUI charges are embarrassing. They can impact you personally as well as professionally. The associated stress and emotional impact can be extremely harsh.

DUI Lawyer in Georgia

For those facing their first dui case in Georgia, securing an experienced and knowledgeable lawyer is crucial. A qualified attorney can navigate the complexities of DUI laws. They can explain everything to you, so that you can make an informed decision about what you want to do. A good law firm with good attorneys can possibly get some of the penalties reduced and also guide the accused through the entire case. They can evaluate the evidence, identify legal requirements that law enforcement failed to follow, and represent the accused effectively in court. Most importantly, they can provide a strong support system during this stressful time.

At Joseph Williams Law, that is what we are here for. Call us now or visit our law office for a free consultation.

The Importance Of Responsible Driving

Georgia’s strict stance on DUI is designed to put an emphasis on the importance of responsible driving. Public awareness campaigns, educational programs, and strict enforcement of DUI laws are continually being implemented to stop DUI-related incidents. Preventive measures like designated drivers, utilizing public transport, and ridesharing apps play an essential role in maintaining road safety.

Additional Resources

Often DUIs are part of a larger more serious problem such as alcoholism and depression. Regardless, if this is your first dui in Georgia, alcoholism is a disease that affects more than just the DUI offender. It destroys families every day. Unfortunately, DUIs usually go hand in hand with alcoholism. We have assembled a list of resources for alcohol and substance abuse:

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