Atlanta DUI Laws: Get To Know Them!
Check out these drunk driving statistics:
- Drunk driving is a leading cause of death on American roads.
- In 2017, 15 percent of all drivers involved in fatal crashes during the week were drunk, compared to 28 percent on weekends.
- Georgia had 21,784 DUI convictions in 2018.
- Fulton County had 1,472 first DUI convictions, 233 convictions for a second DUI and 43 convictions for those with a third DUI.
Just because DUI happens all the time doesn’t mean it’s some minor deal. Trust us, GETTING A DUI IS A BIG, HUGE DEAL. It messes with your life, your job, your family, your bank account, and your ability to drive, to name just a few of its many consequences. The stats above show how tough Atlanta is cracking down on DUI.
Have you been charged with an Atlanta DUI? If so, call Schnipper Law NOW. We’ve helped Atlantans fight DUI charges and reduce their penalties for years. We can probably help you, too.
In the meantime, we suggest you get to know the tough DUI laws in Georgia. Here’s an overview.
Georgia DUI Law
Let’s start with the basics. Under Georgia law, it is ILLEGAL to drive or be in actual physical control of any moving vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other substance “to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive,” OR to have a blood alcohol level above the legal limit.
What that means is that you can be arrested for DUI if:
- Having alcohol, drugs (both legal and illegal), or other substances in your system impairs your ability to drive safely, whether or not you’re over the legal limit; OR
- You have a 0.08 percent or greater Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) if driving a personal vehicle, a 0.04 percent or greater if driving a commercial vehicle, or a 0.02 percent or greater if you are under 21 years of age.
Georgia also has “implied consent” laws. This means that because you are driving in Georgia, you have agreed in advance to take a chemical test to detect the presence of alcohol or drugs in your body. IF YOU REFUSE A CHEMICAL TEST, YOUR LICENSE WILL AUTOMATICALLY BE SUSPENDED.
Is DUI a felony?
It can be. Under Georgia law, DUI can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the facts of the case. Either way, if convicted, it will be on your record for life.
Still, the consequences of a felony conviction are FAR MORE SERIOUS than a misdemeanor. There are six circumstances which can make a DUI a felony:
- A fourth DUI conviction within ten years, which carries penalties of fines up to $10,000 and five years in a state prison.
- First-degree vehicular homicide felony, which is a DUI involving the death of a person other than the driver. Penalties may include three to fifteen years in prison.
- First degree serious injury by vehicle means a DUI accident which causes serious bodily injury to another person in your car or someone else’s, or a pedestrian or cyclist, such as broken bones, burns, or scars. The minimum sentence for this charge is two years served in prison, and the maximum is fifteen years.
- Driving under the influence while operating a school bus. There do not have to be any students on the bus at the time. The standards are higher for those operating certain types of vehicles, or those who have a commercial driver’s license, even if the driver has no prior convictions.
- A person with multiple DUI convictions may be declared a ‘habitual violator.’ A habitual violator will have his or her license revoked for a period of five years. If an individual decides to drive without a license, then he or she can face additional criminal penalties. After two years, the individual may qualify for a special habitual violator permit.
- A person who is driving under the influence while transporting a child under the age of 14 may be found guilty of child endangerment DUI.
If you think any of the circumstances above might apply to your DUI arrest, CALL A LAWYER IMMEDIATELY because YOUR RIGHTS ARE AT RISK
Georgia DUI Penalties
In Georgia, DUIs come with two kinds of penalty: a criminal punishment and a separate license suspension. The criminal courts handle criminal penalties, and the Georgia Department of Driver Services handles suspension or revocation of a driver’s license.
After a DUI conviction, the judge will determine the jail and fine as determined by the statutory guidelines. Criminal penalties may include fines, imprisonment, and public service:
- First Offense: Up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, a suspended license for up to one year, 40 hours of community service, probation and a DUI education course;
- Second Offense: Up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, a suspended license for up to three years, 40 hours of community service, probation, DUI education course or substance abuse treatment, as well as a possible ignition interlock device;
- Third Offense: Up to one year in jail, a fine of $1,000-$5,000, a suspended license for up to five years, 40 hours of community service, probation, DUI education course or substance abuse treatment, as well as a possible ignition interlock device;
- Fourth Offense: Felony, one to five years in state prison, up to a $5,000 fine.
Driver’s License Penalties
How bad the penalties of a license suspension you get for a DUI, AND WHETHER YOU CAN GET YOUR LICENSE REINSTATED, depends on the number of DUI convictions you’ve had in the last five years. You might also be able to apply for a hardship license.
- First offense. 12-month suspension.
- Second offense. Three-year suspension.
- Third offense. Permanent revocation but the driver can apply for a probationary license after three years.
- Injury or death DUI. Three-year suspension. The driver is not eligible for early reinstatement and a hardship license.
Talk to a lawyer about the process for getting your driver’s privileges back. DON’T WAIT!
Are You Facing a DUI Charge? Consult Schnipper Law
GETTING A DUI IS NO JOKE. If you have been arrested or are facing a DUI charge, then you need an experienced Atlanta DUI attorney by your side. YOU NEED SCHNIPPER LAW. So, call us at (404) 545-5845 or contact us online as soon as possible.