What is considered a DUI in Georgia?
What penalties do you face if you’re caught driving under the influence?
We’ll answer these questions and more here.
In this article, you’re going to learn everything you should know about the Georgia DUI laws this 2024.
There’s a lot to cover, so let’s get started right away!
DUI Laws in Georgia
Georgia laws prohibit anyone from driving or controlling a vehicle if they are under the influence.
Being “under the influence” is determined by a person’s blood alcohol content (BAC) levels.
Here are the illegal BAC levels in the state:
- 0.08% for drivers 21 years old or older
- 0.04% for drivers holding a CDL
- 0.02% for drivers under 21 years old
Now, you might be wondering, “How can they know my BAC level?”
Well, if a law enforcer suspects you of DUI, they will stop you and ask you to take a blood or urine test. These tests will expose your BAC level.
And, you are required to submit to these tests. This is the implied consent you signed when you got your driver’s license.
Refusing to get tested will inflict its own penalties.
Other DUI Laws in Georgia
DUI laws in Georgia also cover people who are taking drugs. And no, we don’t just mean illegal drugs.
Even a prescribed drug can be charged as a DUI if it affects your driving abilities.
Moreover, showing a medical certificate or a prescription allowing you to use certain medications does NOT prevent an officer from charging a DUI.
Does that seem unfair?
If so, know that it is for your own good. If you don’t have complete control of your driving (whether through alcohol or drugs), you are putting everyone in danger. And that is unfair.
When it comes to drugs with no legal prescription from a doctor, you will be charged with DUI even if it’s below BAC levels.
DUI Penalties in Georgia
Since DUI is a serious issue, the State of Georgia imposes harsh penalties, including:
- High fines
- License suspension
- Jail time or community service
Here are the penalties you may face depending on the number of DUI offenses you’ve committed:
|No. Of Offense
|$300 – $1000
|10 days – 12 months
|Minimum of 20 hours
|$600 – $1000
|90 days – 12 months
|Minimum of 30 days
|$1000 – $5000
|120 days – 12 months
|Minimum of 30 days
What Happens if You Refuse a Breathalyzer Test in Georgia?
A breathalyzer test checks for the blood alcohol content in your system.
Refusing a breathalyzer test in Georgia violates the implied consent law you agreed on. And, as we said, this will come with its own penalties.
The penalty is a 1-year license suspension.
Besides that, you may be charged with a felony, especially if proven that you have reached the allowed BAC level for your age/license type.
Plus, refusing these tests doesn’t mean there won’t be any evidence of DUI. There is still the police report detailing your driving behavior and signs of DUI.
This is enough evidence to convict you of a DUI. Plus, the conviction is even more likely to happen if you don’t want to take a test to prove your BAC level.
Is DUI a Misdemeanor in Georgia?
Yes, a DUI is considered to be a misdemeanor in Georgia. In other words, it’s not considered a felony.
However, there are cases when a DUI is treated as a felony. Here are some of those instances:
- It’s the driver’s fourth or subsequent DUI conviction within 10 years.
- The driver evades a police officer while driving under the influence.
- The driver causes a serious injury or death to one or more people while driving under the influence. This clause includes injuring or killing an unborn child.
- You refuse to take a breathalyzer or any test to show your BAC levels
If any of these apply, there will be harsher consequences and longer jail time determined by the court.
How Long Does a DUI Case Take in Georgia?
The time it takes to settle a DUI case widely varies since this depends on the complications of the case and the evidence (or lack thereof) presented. You should also note that some courts will have a lot of other cases that will cause delays in your DUI case.
However, if there are few cases and no complications in your DUI case, it can be done in 3-6 months.
Should I Get a Lawyer for My First DUI in Georgia?
Yes, it’s always recommended to get a lawyer or contact your attorney if you get pulled over for a DUI.
Having an attorney will help reduce the penalties given to you if you are proven to be driving under the influence. Your lawyer may also question the evidence presented by the police (i.e., a faulty breathalyzer) to reduce or remove the DUI case.
How Many Points is a DUI in Georgia?
No points are added to your record if you are charged with DUI in Georgia.
From the table of penalties above, we saw that even on the first offense you already have to face license suspension.
This suspension means that points on your driving record are useless. However, the suspension and the DUI violation will still be recorded.
If you are sanctioned with penalties, jail time, or community service, these will also be reflected on your driving record.
With that said, how long do these records stay?
Unfortunately, they stay there forever. Since they’re not point-based, no reduction can be made.
So that was everything you need to know about the Georgia DUI laws.
We all know that DUI is a grave violation.
And Georgia does not take it lightly.
Even for your first DUI offense, you will already face harsh penalties, such as license suspension, high fines, as well as jail time, or community service.
So to avoid these penalties…
But more importantly to avoid accidents, injuries, and even deaths…
DON’T DRIVE UNDER THE INFLUENCE!
Whether that’s alcohol, drugs, or even prescribed medications.
Be a responsible driver!