Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious criminal offense in Georgia, which is why it is always a good idea to contact a DUI lawyer immediately after being arrested.

What Is a DUI?

In Georgia, drivers may be charged with a DUI if police suspect that someone is driving under the influence of alcohol. In most cases, you must have a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or more. However, it can be as low as 0.04 percent for those driving a commercial vehicle. And for those under 21 years of age, driving with an alcohol blood content of just 0.02 percent can result in a DUI.

Penalties for Driving Under the Influence

There are many possible penalties for driving under the influence. Typically, the severity of the penalty depends on the number of previous offenses you have. In general, expect to see penalties, such as fees, chemical dependency courses, limited driving, and license suspension.

First Offense

In Georgia, first-time DUI offenses are considered a misdemeanor. Drivers who are arrested for a first-time DUI will be subject to a variety of penalties. Community service and DUI alcohol courses are mandatory for first-time offenders.

Drivers are also required to pay a license reinstatement fee. Depending on the case, offenders may also face a suspended license for up to one year, up to one year of jail time, or a fine amounting from $300 to $1,000.

Second Offense

Drivers who have been charged with two DUI cases within five years will be considered second-time offenders. In Georgia, a second offense will result in more severe punishments. Again, dependency classes and community service will be required, as well as license reinstatement fees and a fine.

In addition, second-time offenders are required to spend at least two days in jail. Depending on the severity of the case, second-time offenders may be imprisoned for up to one year. If not imprisoned, drivers will likely be given a limited driving permit.

Third Offense

Drivers charged with three DUI cases within a five year period are automatically imprisoned for 15 days. Considered a "habitual violator," third-time offenders usually have their license and vehicle plates revoked. In addition, a large fine and license reinstatement fee will be charged.

Once out of jail, drivers will be required to visit dependency classes and complete a minimum of 30 days community service. Third-time offenders may also have an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicle. The court may also require that the driver's name, address, and photograph are published in the local newspaper.

Driving After a DUI Charge

Luckily, the state of Georgia typically allows those with DUI charges to drive. However, driving privileges are usually limited. In most cases, Georgia requires a limited driving permit or an ignition interlock device.

Limited Driving Permit

A limited driving permit allows those charged with a DUI to drive to specific places. In most cases, drivers are allowed to drive to their place of employment. They may also be able to drive to dependency classes, community service, and doctor's appointments. However, all driving activity must be planned in advance.

Ignition Interlock Device

For those with multiple offenses on their record, the state of Georgia may require the driver to install an ignition interlock device. This device might sound intimating, but it's actually a simple tool. Before the vehicle will start, the driver must take a breathalyzer test. If the device detects any alcohol, the vehicle won't start up.

While both of these options will allow drivers to keep driving, they will minimize the chances of receiving another DUI charge.

Getting Help

If you have been charged with a DUI in Georgia, you should hire a lawyer to fight by your side. DUI cases are very serious offenses, but an attorney can help you through it. For more information or general DUI help, contact Jones, Boykin & Associates, P.C..