Laws in Georgia concerning driving under the influence, or DUI, include alcohol and drugs. The list of drugs not only include illegal drugs but also prescription drugs that you may have taken that affected your ability to drive. You should also be aware that even if you are on a necessary medication (for which you have a medical certificate or a prescription that you can show to the law enforcement officer), the officer can still charge you with DUI.
This may not seem very fair but it is really to protect you and the other people on the road around you. When you are operating a motor vehicle, it is essential that you have complete control over your driving ability. Otherwise, you are potentially putting everyone in jeopardy. If you should happen to be under the influence of a substance that is not legal, you will most likely be charged with DUI even if it is below the blood alcohol content, or BAC, level.
What consequences can you expect?
If you have been charged with DUI in Georgia, you can expect a high fine, your license will probably be suspended, and you may face jail time and/or community service. How severe the consequences depends on the level of severity of the offense.
- First offense: Fine of $300-$1,000, 10-12 days in jail, license suspension for 12 months and a minimum of 20 hours of community service.
- Second offense: Fine of $600-$1,000, 90 days to 12 months of jail time, 3 years of license suspension and a minimum of 30 days of community service.
- Third offense: Fine of $1,000-$5,000, 120 days to 12 months in jail, permanent license revocation and a minimum of 30 days of community service.
What if you refuse to take a breath test?
If you refuse to take a breath test, you are violating the implied consent law to which you agreed. The automatic penalty for that is one year of license suspension. Additionally, you might be charged with a felony. Even if you refuse to take the breath test, there may still be evidence that you were driving under the influence and that may be on the police report. If all of that is a reality, it is considered enough evidence to convict you of DUI. Although DUI in Georgia is considered a misdemeanor, under certain circumstances, it is considered a felony.
Those circumstances are:
- It is the fourth or subsequent conviction within a 10-year period.
- The driver runs away from the police while under the influence.
- The driver causes another person to be injured while driving under the influence.
- The driver refuses to take a breath test or any other test that determines BAC level.
Sound advice from a DUI Georgia attorney
If you have been charged with a DUI, the counsel of an experienced Marietta, Georgia DUI attorney may help you case tremendously. If you have been charged, you must act within 10 days of your arrest or your license will be suspended. Your lawyer can help you to navigate the process and they can help you to understand what you may be facing and hopefully can turn things around so that the outcome is more positive than you had hoped it would be.