The state of Georgia takes driving under the influence seriously. A single offense could result in massive fines, jail time and the loss of your license for up to a year. The penalties continue to accumulate if you get second and third offenses. Many residents don’t know that it’s also illegal to drive with an open bottle of alcohol in your vehicle even if you’re not drinking from it.
What are the DUI penalties in Georgia?
If this is your first DUI, the judge could sentence you to up to a year of jail time. You might also have to pay up to $1,000 in fines, attend at least 40 hours of community service and lose your license for up to a year. When you can apply for a license again, you’ll also have to pay a hefty reinstatement fee.
For a second offense within five years of the first, you’ll have to stay in jail for at least two days. The judge might extend your sentence up to a year. You could also lose your license for up to three years and get sentenced to at least 30 days of community service. The judge might also order you to attend rehab–if they do, you’ll have to pay for the program out-of-pocket. On top of everything else, you might have to pay up to $1,000 in fines.
When you reach your third offense within five years of the first, you’ll automatically get a minimum of two weeks in jail. The judge might suspend your license for five years and order you to pay up to $5,000 in fines. You’ll also get a minimum of 30 days of community service. The judge might seize your license plate and require you to attend rehab at your expense. When it gets to this point, it’s time to hire a criminal defense attorney.
Is it possible to fight a DUI charge?
Regardless of the situation, the judge can’t make a ruling without giving you a fair trial. An attorney could give you the chance to defend yourself and possibly reduce the severity of the penalties.