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What Is Considered DUI Driving in Georgia?


Have you or someone you know been pulled over in Georgia for a suspected DUI? Are you worried about the legal implications of something like that happening to you?

Having a DUI on your record in the State of Georgia isn’t something anyone wants, but what if you aren’t sure that your charge is DUI-related? What exactly is considered DUI driving in Georgia?

Here’s what you should know about the charge of DUI or Driving Under the Influence in the state of Georgia.

What Constitutes a DUI in Georgia?

In the state of Georgia, a motorist can be charged with a DUI charge if they are driving or are in physical control of a motor vehicle and have either:

  • A blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or more
  • A BAC of 0.04% or more and are operating a commercial vehicle
  • A BAC of 0.02% or more and are under the age of 21

It is also considered a DUI if you are found to be under the influence of any controlled substance, illegal drugs, or marijuana. ‘Under the influence’ means that your driving is less safe due to these substances being in your system.

Additionally, you can be charged with a ‘per se’ DUI if your BAC is 0.08% or more, regardless of whether or not you seem impaired. This rule may seem harsh, but given the fact that Georgia has some of the strictest DUI laws in the country, it’s worth knowing the rules and your rights before you ever find yourself in this predicament.

What Happens During a DUI Stop

Expect to be asked to undergo a field sobriety test or to take a chemical test to determine if you have indeed been drinking. Don’t rush to agree to either of these. Failing a field sobriety test can happen even if you aren’t under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Remain respectful of the police officer, but don’t offer any more information than is requested. You have the right to decline to take any chemical or field sobriety tests, and it will be up to the officer to prove that you were driving under the influence of alcohol or another substance.

You have the right to request a chemical test from an independent testing source of your choice. It’s a good idea to have this test as soon as you can. Most importantly, ask to speak to a lawyer as quickly as possible since they’ll be able to best advise you on your specific situation.

DUI And Your License

Getting pulled over for a suspected DUI doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have a DUI conviction. However, you are still likely to lose your license, at least temporarily, no matter the final outcome.

If you take and fail a chemical test, your license will be taken away and replaced with a temporary 180-day permit. However, if you refuse to take a chemical test, the police may still confiscate your license and issue you with a 30-day permit.

If you go to court and are found guilty, you lose your license for one year. However, you may be able to participate in an educational substance use program and pay a fine to avoid this suspension, so speak to your lawyer about your options.

DUI Penalties in Georgia

If convicted of a DUI in Georgia, your penalty depends on several factors. The penalty ranges depend on the number of DUI convictions you’ve had over ten years.

A first offense could see you spending 10-12 days in jail, facing fines up to $1000, and completing up to 40 hours of community service, depending on your BAC at the time of your arrest.

Second and third offenses could land you in jail for anywhere from 90 days up to 12 months, incur fees from $600 to $5000, and a minimum of 30 days community service.

Felony DUIs occur if you are convicted of your 4th DUI charge within ten years. The penalties for felony DUI charges are much harsher. If you have other circumstances surrounding your DUI (you cause harm to someone while driving, or you put others at risk, for example), the charges may be more severe with more severe penalties, too.

Don’t Take Chances With a DUI Charge

The laws regarding DUIs in Georgia are strict and complex. Many different factors can influence your chances of facing fines or even lengthy jail time. The police often count on drivers being frightened or confused and willing to do anything that they’re asked when they’re pulled over.

Don’t risk becoming a DUI statistic! The Andrew Schwartz Law team has been serving Cobb County with experienced, proven legal defense strategies for years. We specialize in DUI cases and drug-related offenses, traffic crimes, and general criminal defense.

We do more than provide you with a knowledgeable Atlanta DUI Lawyer — we hold steadfast in defense of your rights as a citizen. Reach out to us now and get your free consultation.

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