In Cumming and throughout the state, drivers who are stopped in their vehicle by law enforcement and suddenly find themselves facing charges of driving under the influence will have many fears, questions and concerns as to what the future holds. Most people who are facing DUI charges have never had any legal trouble and are worried that they will be put in jail and have their entire lives upended by one alleged mistake.
Fortunately, there are defenses that can be effective against DUI charges. However, when formulating a defense, it is important to understand what the potential penalties are if it is a first offense. Drivers cannot operate nor be in control of a moving vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs or other intoxicants individually or in combination with it interfering with safe driving. With alcohol, the blood-alcohol concentration must be 0.08 within three hours of having been in control of the vehicle.
When there is a first conviction and no prior convictions or a plea of nolo contendere within the past 10 years, the driver will be fined at least $300 and as much as $1,000. There will be a prison sentence of a minimum of 10 days and a maximum of one year. The judge has the right to suspend, stay or put the person on probation unless the BAC is 0.08 or higher. Then, the judge can issue a suspended sentence, a stay or probation for all prison time except for 24 hours.
There will be 40 hours of community service. If the driver was under 21 and had a BAC of less than 0.08, it will be for a minimum of 20 hours. The person must take a program for DUI and risk reduction within 120 days after being convicted. If the person is incarcerated and cannot take the course in that time frame, it will be completed within 90 days of his or her release. The person will be given a clinical evaluation to determine if substance abuse treatment is needed, but this can be waived at the court's discretion. For those sentenced to jail for less than 12 months, there will be probation for 12 months minus the amount of time for which the person was incarcerated.