What are the Penalties for Getting a DUI in Georgia?
DUIs have direct and indirect consequences.
According to one recent survey, Georgia has the second-toughest DUI laws in the country. There are some questions about whether these laws are effective. According to the same survey, the Peachtree State also ranks number 19 among the states in terms of DUI prevention. Effective or not, Georgia’s tough DUI laws probably won’t become more lenient very soon, if ever.
From start to finish, authorities aggressively pursue DUI cases. Most police departments have mandatory arrest policies, and most district attorneys have mandatory prosecution policies. To level the playing field, a defendant needs an assertive Norcross criminal defense lawyer. Aggressively challenging the state’s evidence is usually the only way to successfully resolve these cases.
Georgia law includes mandatory jail time for people convicted of DUI, but that brief mandatory jail sentence is just the beginning.
After their release, most DUI defendants are on probation for at least twelve months. Probation sentences are much longer for defendants with criminal records, especially if that record includes a prior DUI in Georgia or any other state.
We should stop right there and point out that not all drinking-and-driving infractions are DUIs. Many states criminalize behavior like operating a vehicle while impaired. There is a difference between impairment and intoxication. Therefore, such a conviction might not count as a prior DUI for sentencing purposes.
Georgia not only has harsh DUI laws, but it also imposes harsh conditions on probationers. Some of these conditions include:
- Mandatory alcohol or drug evaluation,
- Community service,
- Risk reduction course,
- Reporting to a supervision officer,
- Avoiding all criminal activity, and
- Mandatory driver’s license suspension.
A Norcross criminal defense lawyer, who is a good negotiator, can often modify these provisions. For example, many people live in one county and frequently visit another one for personal or business reasons. An attorney can usually modify the appropriate restriction, giving these people a little more freedom.
Defendants who commit even technical probation violations face significant penalties, including possible incarceration.
Drivers’ License Restriction
We briefly mentioned DUI-related driver’s license restrictions above. These restrictions could apply even if the defendant isn’t convicted of DUI.
The harsh Georgia DUI laws include pre-conviction and post-conviction driver’s license restrictions. Defendants who refuse to provide chemical samples or fail chemical tests usually face pre-conviction suspensions of twelve months. Post-conviction suspensions can often exceed one year.
Limited driver’s licenses are usually available in some situations. A limited license usually allows people to drive to and from work, to and from school, to and from court-related obligations like community service, and for certain other similar purposes.
Most of these defendants can only drive Ignition Interlock Device equipped vehicles. An IID is basically a portable Breathalyzer that’s attached to the vehicle’s ignition.
In a most cases, a DUI can have immigration consequences. In almost all cases, a DUI has employment consequences.
Many employers believe that people with DUI convictions make poor decisions and cannot control their own impulses. Furthermore, most people with DUI convictions cannot drive commercial vehicles or for work-related purposes for insurance reasons.
Count on a Dedicated Gwinnett County DUI Defense Lawyer
DUI convictions have serious consequences. For a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Norcross, contact Zimmerman & Associates, Attorneys at Law. We routinely handle matters in Fulton County and nearby jurisdictions.