In Georgia, a DUI means driving under the influence. For law enforcement, this typically refers to a driver who is operating a vehicle after consuming drugs or alcohol to the extent they are less safe or over the legal limit. It can include being under the influence of even prescribed drugs. If you are charged with a DUI in Georgia, you are likely worried.
It should be no surprise to you that driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is treated as a serious criminal offense in Georgia. According to Georgia DUI defense attorney, Vic Wiegand, “DUI cases are serious charges. Although it is usually a misdemeanor, the penalties can be harsher than some felony sentences.”
Georgia Takes Drinking and Driving Seriously
Georgia laws set penalties for DUI convictions, and they can be severe and life-altering for the offender. The severity of the penalties will depend on certain circumstances, such as whether the offender has any prior convictions, the level of intoxication, and whether anyone was injured or killed due to the DUI. Penalties can include fines, jail time, loss of driving privileges, required classes, and community service.
The statute makes it illegal for anyone to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. For alcohol, the standard for the average driver is if the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08% or higher, then the driver is considered intoxicated. It also provides for a “per se” violation of the law, meaning that a person can be charged with DUI if their BAC is .08% or higher, regardless of whether they were a less safe driver.
A third arrest for driving under the influence within 10 years, is considered high and aggravated but not a felony and a conviction makes someone a “habitual violator.”
DUI Felony Has Mandatory Sentencing
In Georgia, a felony DUI is punishable by mandatory sentences. A fourth or subsequent DUI conviction within 10 years is considered a felony, and offenders face a sentence of one to five years in prison. Additionally, if a person causes serious injury or death while driving under the influence, they can face felony charges can face from three to 15 years in prison.
Other Punishments for DUI Convictions
Fines — Common fines associated with DUI in Georgia can include fines ranging from $300 to $5,000, depending on the number of violations and the level of intoxication.
Substance Abuse Education or Treatment — You could be required to attend substance abuse or alcohol education or treatment programs.
Community Service — You may be required to perform community service such as work at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen, warehouse work at nonprofits or food banks, or trash pick-up on freeways.
Ignition Interlock Device — You might have to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle at your expense. An ignition interlock device requires the driver to blow into a breathalyzer before starting the vehicle, and if their BAC is above a certain level, the vehicle will not start.
Loss of Driver’s License — Driving in Georgia is a privilege, and you could lose that privilege for a set period. No driving can affect your ability to get to work, and you could lose your livelihood.
Added Problems With a Conviction for DUI
In addition to these penalties, if convicted, you may face other problems like increased insurance rates, getting a loan/mortgage, renting an apartment, difficulty finding employment, and damage to your reputation and social standing. These types of consequences can last long after the fines are paid, and the prison sentence is served.
These long-term effects make it even more important for you to take the charges seriously and seek legal counsel as soon as possible.
Contact Experienced Forsyth DUI Defense Attorney Vic Wiegand
Located northeast of Atlanta in Cumming, Georgia, Law Office of Vic Wiegand, Esq., is a full-service criminal defense law practice. Attorney Wiegand brings his formidable skills and strategies to the defense of his clients.
The practice is focused on client-centered representation with the belief that everyone is entitled to respect, discretion, and an expert defense. He is proud that they’ve defended many clients with tough-minded and determined litigation.
He understands Georgia law when it comes to DUIs. In fact, Under 21 DUIs, Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) DUIs, Boating Under the Influence (BUI) DUI, and DUI Drugs, all involve different laws and pitfalls to be avoided.
A DUI conviction can have a devastating impact on your future. You should put yourself in the strongest possible defensive position you can when facing these charges. Call the Law Office of Vic Wiegand, Esq. today at 770-886-4646 and let us help.