Consequences and Programs

During the 1980s, Georgia counties began testing pilot programs to help reduce drinking and driving. This program proved that intervention can save lives, so the programs were instituted statewide. Now judges require the completion of these Risk Reduction Programs and we will suggest which courses are pertinent to helping your case.

Potential Penalties

First offense:

A person convicted of DUI for the first time will be charged with a misdemeanor and will be given the following punishment:

  • A fine of $300 to $1,000.
  • Imprisonment of 10 days to 12 months, which the judge may suspend, stay, or probate (unless your BAC registered 0.08 or more). Then, you’d have to serve a minimum of 24 hours in jail.
  • At least 40 hours of community service, unless your BAC registered under 0.08, in which case the judge may be lenient and order 20 to 40 hours.
  • Completion of the Risk Reduction Program. This program is ordered for all DUI convictions.
  • Probation period of up to 12 months, including time served.
  • One-year driver’s license suspension.

Second offense:

A second DUI conviction within five years will also be a misdemeanor and will earn you the following:

  • A fine of $600 to $1,000.
  • Ninety days to 12 months in prison, with no less than 72 hours actually behind bars.
  • A minimum of 30 days of community service.
  • Completion of the Risk Reduction Program. This program is ordered for all DUI convictions.
  • A clinical evaluation to determine whether an alcohol or treatment program is necessary. If it is, then completion of that program will be ordered as part of the sentence.
  • Probation period of 12 months, including time served.
  • Three-year driver’s license suspension.

Third offense:

A third DUI conviction raises the charge to a “high and aggravated” misdemeanor, with the following penalties:

  • Fine of $1,000 to $5,000.
  • Mandatory prison sentence of 120 days to 12 months, with no less than 15 days of actual incarceration time.
  • Minimum 30 days of community service.
  • Completion of the Risk Reduction Program. This program is ordered for all DUI convictions.
  • Clinical evaluation, and then completion of a subtance abuse treatment program.
  • Probation of 12 months, minus time served.
  • Five-year driver’s license suspension.

Nolo Contendere

A “nolo contendere” plea (“no contest”―basically that you are not contesting the charges, but you’re not pleading guilty either) will not help you in Georgia. A nolo contendere plea is, as far as consequences go, the same as pleading guilty.

You’ll be convicted of DUI, which will go on your record and will count the same as a guilty plea.

Driver Education

You can take a state-approved DUI/Defensive Driver course once every five years to reduce the number of points accumulated on your license. This course may even help lower your insurance rates; check with your agent. This course will not, however, reduce your penalty should you be convicted of DUI.

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