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What should I know about DUI laws in Georgia?

Authored By: GeorgiaLegalAid.org

DUI laws in Georgia

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What is the DUI law in Georgia?

Under Georgia law, you are considered driving under the influence (DUI) if you are driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle and:

  • Have a blood alcohol content of .08% or more,

    • The limit is .04% if you are driving a commercial vehicle.

    • The limit is .02% or more if you are under 21 years old. 

  • Are under the influence of any alcohol, drug or controlled substance, or

    • You are considered “under the influence” when you are too impaired to drive safely. This means that you get a DUI even if you are under the legal limit. 

  • Have any amount of marijuana or illegal drugs in your blood or urine. 

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What are my rights if I’m stopped for a DUI?

Any time you are arrested, you have the right to remain silent. 

 

If you are suspected of driving under the influence, you may be asked to take a breath analysis or chemical blood-alcohol test. You have the right to refuse these tests. However, if you refuse, your license will be automatically suspended. 

 

You may also be asked to take a field sobriety test. Field sobriety tests are optional. You also have the right to refuse to take them. But, a refusal may be used against you in a trial for DUI.

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What can happen if I am under 21 and caught with alcohol?

If you are under 21 years old and are convicted of underage possession of alcohol while operating a motor vehicle, your license may be suspended for 120 days. Your license can be reinstated only if you complete a DUI alcohol and drug awareness program.

 

In addition, if you’re under 21 and  convicted of attempting to buy alcohol you will have your license suspended for: 

  • six months for the first offense and 

  • one year for any additional convictions.

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What can happen if I am over 21 and convicted of a DUI?

If you are convicted of driving under the influence, your license will be suspended:

  • Up to a year for a first offense. You may get your license back after 120 days if you complete a DUI education program and pay a $200 fee.

  • Up to three years for a second offense. You can get your license back after 18 months if you complete a DUI education program and pay a $200 fee.

  • License is permanently revoked for a third offense. You can apply for a probationary license after 3 years.

  • For three years if you cause injury or death. 

 

If convicted, you could also go to jail for:

  • 10 days to 12 months for a first offense;

  • 90 days to 12 months for a second offense; and

  • 120 days to 12 months for a third offense.

 

In addition, community service must be completed:

  • Minimum 20 hours for first offense. 40 hours if your BAC was .08% or more.

  • Minimum of 30 days for any other offenses.

 

You may also have to pay a fine:

  • $300-$1,000 for a first offense

  • $600-$1,000 for a second offense, and

  • $1,000-$5,000 for any subsequent offenses.

 

All DUI offenders must also:

  • Be placed on probation for 12 months, minus any jail time served,

  • Complete a drug and alcohol evaluation. If the evaluator recommends treatment, you must complete treatment.

    • For a second DUI, you must automatically complete a DUI alcohol or drug risk reduction program. 

 

Being convicted of DUI can affect you in other ways, too. Your insurance rates will go up. It may also be hard to get insurance. Other costs might include:

  • bail bond fee for release after arrest,

  • costly attorney fees,

  • a surcharge on the fine or charges for reinstating a license, 

  • towing a car to your home, 

  • transportation while your license is suspended, and 

  • enrollment in an alcohol abuse prevention program.

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Contents


What should I do if I am stopped by a police officer?

If you are pulled over by a police officer:

  • When an officer signals you to pull over, slow down. Look for the first opportunity to pull off safely on the right side of the road.

  • Stay inside your car and roll down the window.

  • Keep your hands visible as much as possible.

  • Step outside only if asked to do so by the officer. This may be to check to see if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

  • If the officer thinks you are under the influence of alcohol, he or she may require that you step out of the car. You may then be asked to perform field sobriety tests. These include walking a line, touching your nose, and saying the alphabet. These tests are 100% voluntary. 

  • Provide the officer with license and proof of insurance when asked.

  • Provide the officer with any reason for violating traffic code after receiving explanation as to why our were pulled over.

  • Always be polite. Officers have some discretion in issuing citations.

  • The officer may take your license and issue a temporary license to ensure that you appear in court. The citation should indicate when and where your court appearance will be.

  • Never try to flee when an officer attempts to pull you over. That will increase penalties against you. 

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What should I do if I am arrested for a DUI?

A DUI conviction can bring many serious consequences. If you are arrested on suspicion of DUI, contact a lawyer.

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Last Review and Update: Dec 01, 2020
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