Far-reaching penalties for DUI in Georgia

You may be among the many in Georgia who pay little attention to the changing laws related to drunk driving. After all, if you know your limits and never get behind the wheel when you feel like you've had too much to drink, you may never expect to have to deal with the legal consequences of a drunk driving arrest or conviction.

Unfortunately, few people really understand how alcohol truly affects their driving abilities. Cocktails with friends or a few drinks with colleagues may result in a blood alcohol concentration at or above the legal limit of .08. Even if your BAC is not over the legal limit, law enforcement may determine you are impaired, and then you may have a difficult time ahead.

Administrative and judicial procedures

Across the country, drunk driving laws are becoming more stringent. In some states, penalties are getting more severe, and in others, legal BAC limits are dropping. If you are facing a DUI charge in Georgia, you will be dealing with two legal procedures. One involves the criminal courts, and the other deals with your future driving privileges. Here are some general facts to know about these two procedures:

  • You will likely face jail time, hundreds in fines, community service, license suspension and other penalties for your first DUI conviction.
  • If your BAC is higher than .08, authorities have the right to immediately confiscate your driver's license.
  • If you refuse to submit to a BAC test, authorities may suspend or revoke your license.
  • You will have 10 days to appeal the administrative suspension of your license.
  • The loss of your driving privileges is a separate process from the judicial system, so whether a court fails to convict you or authorities decide not to charge you may not affect the suspension of your license.
  • If convicted for a second DUI or a first DUI with a BAC higher than .08, the court may order you to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle after your license suspension ends.

The cost of installation, monthly maintenance and monitoring fees, and any additional IIL features your sentence requires can quickly add up to thousands of dollars in addition to the fines and fees you may already face. If you own multiple vehicles, you will likely have to pay for devices in each of them.

You may not have realized how complex a DUI charge could be and how many facets you have to consider as you prepare your defense. However, a skilled attorney will have a firm grasp of the ever-changing laws and the best way to build a solid defense strategy.

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