Even a small amount of alcohol can affect decision making and response time, making drinking and driving dangerous for the driver, any passengers and other motorists. In Georgia, driving under the influence carries steep penalties, even for a first offense.
Typically, a first time DUI is a misdemeanor offense. For drivers with a blood alcohol level (BAC) of .08 or higher, Georgia law mandates that you serve at least 24 hours in jail. Following the required jail time, a judge can sentence you to either additional jail time, probation or a combination of both for a year. First time offenders most often receive a probation sentence in lieu of incarceration. After a DUI conviction, you must all complete 40 hours of community service and a 20-hour Risk Reduction program through the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS).
Impact on your driving privileges
In addition to the criminal penalties for a first time DUI charges, a conviction leads to a 12-month license suspension. After 120 days and your completion of the DDS Risk Reduction program, you can request the reinstatement of your license. Drivers with a relatively unblemished driving record may be able to request a limited driving permit. The permit allows you to drive to work, school, treatment programs and other court approved locations.
Overall financial costs
The financial costs of a DUI charge quickly add up. Following a DUI arrest, you will be required to pay any fines imposed by the court, treatment program costs and license reinstatement fees. Potential expenses include:
- Fines, ranging from $300-$1,000
- Probation supervisory fee, $30 per month
- DUI Risk Reduction program, $355
- License reinstatement fee, $200-$210
- Increased insurance premiums
A conviction for a DUI also comes with the collateral consequences of a criminal record. A DUI can jeopardize your current job and future career opportunities, your ability to secure loans or rent an apartment. If facing a DUI charge, a strong legal defense can greatly benefit your case.