Penalties for a DUI in Georgia

In the state of Georgia, operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is considered a serious crime. Individuals who are convicted of DUI face strict penalties and consequences that have lasting effects on their future. The severity of the penalty will depend on several factors including the number of previous impaired driving offenses.

Our team of experienced criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Harold J. Cronk, PC, has successfully challenged drivers' license suspensions in drunk driving cases and have helped clients reinstate their driving privileges. We are always available to provide comprehensive answers to your questions about DUI penalties in Georgia.

The Law Offices of Harold J. Cronk, PC proudly serve clients in Savannah, Georgia, and the surrounding communities of Chatham County, Pooler, Tybee Island, Thunderbolt, Garden City, and Port Wentworth.

DUI Penalties in Georgia

In 2018, the state of Georgia ranked 23rd overall for drunk driving rates, with 308.7 DUI-related arrests for every 100,000 people. According to state officials, approximately 25 percent of the 375 traffic accident fatalities in Georgia, in 2019, involved alcohol impairment.

Potential criminal penalties for impaired driving convictions often include jail or prison time, substantial fines, license suspension/revocation, community service hours, and treatment programs. Possible penalties for DUI convictions in Georgia are as follows:

First Offense Penalties

A DUI is considered a first offense if the driver has no previous DUI convictions. Generally, a first-offense DUI is a misdemeanor. Potential criminal penalties include:

  • Jail Time and Probation: Up to 12 months
  • Fines: Between $300 and $1,000 plus court costs and surcharges
  • Community Service: At least 40 hours of community service
  • License Suspension: Up to 12 months license suspension for drivers above age 21, with a limited driving permit
  • Counseling or Treatment Program: The offender must attend substance abuse counseling or DUI Risk Reduction School

Second Offense Penalties

A DUI is considered a second offense if the defendant has one previous DUI conviction within the past ten years. Generally, a second-offense DUI is a misdemeanor. Potential criminal penalties include:

  • Probation: Between 12 and 36 months
  • Jail Time: Up to 12 months, with at least three days, served in county jail
  • Fines: Between $600 and $1,000 plus court costs and applicable surcharges
  • Community Service: At least 30 days (240 hours) of community service
  • License Suspension: Up to three years of license suspension for drivers above 21 years with possible eligibility for an ignition interlock device (IID) limited driving permit after serving 120 days of suspension
  • Counseling or Treatment Program: The offender must participate in substance abuse counseling, clinical evaluation for drug or alcohol dependency, or DUI Risk Reduction School

Third Offense Penalties

A third-offense DUI within a period of ten years is considered a "high and aggravated" misdemeanor which may attract harsher penalties. Potential criminal penalties for third-offense DUI include:

  • Probation: Between 12 and 36 months
  • Jail Time: 120 days to 12 months, with at least 15 days served in jail
  • Fines: Between $1,000 and $5,000 plus court costs and applicable surcharges
  • Community Service: At least 30 days (240 hours) of community service
  • License Suspension: Up to five years of license suspension for drivers above 21 years with possible eligibility for an ignition interlock device (IID) limited driving permit after two years of suspension
  • Counseling or Treatment Program: The offender must participate in mandatory substance abuse counseling, drug, and alcohol treatment program, or DUI Risk Reduction School

Other Circumstances

Resulted in Death or Injury (Homicide by Vehicle)

If you are charged with a DUI that injured or killed another person, the consequences could become more severe. Possible criminal penalties that you could face include:

  • Increased fines
  • A prison sentence of up to 15 years
  • Increased bail charges
  • Your license could be suspended for several years with no limited driving permit

Child in the Car

In Georgia, you could be charged with child endangerment and DUI if you were found to be operating a vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs and carrying a child (an individual of age 14 years or younger) as a passenger. Possible criminal penalties include:

  • First offense: $1000 fine, up to 12 months in jail
  • Second offense: Fines between $1000 and $5000, up to 12 months in jail
  • Third offense: $10,000 fine, up to 5 years in prison

Under Georgia laws, such offenses will be charged separately for prosecuting and sentencing purposes.

How Legal Counsel Can Help

Defending your DUI charges without proper guidance from a knowledgeable attorney can increase your chance of suffering the maximum penalties. If convicted, you could lose your driving privileges, your liberty, and jeopardize future opportunities. That is why you need to retain a knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible.

Our attorneys at the Law Offices of Harold J. Cronk, PC, will investigate every detail of your case and determine the best defense strategy. We will fight zealously to protect your rights and attempt to minimize your penalties. With our team on your side, you can anticipate the best outcome possible in your impaired driving case.

DUI Defense Attorneys in Savannah, GA

Don't try to defend your drunk driving charges alone. Contact the Law Offices of Harold J. Cronk, PC, to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Our team can protect your rights and determine your best defense strategy for a favorable outcome. We proudly serve clients in Savannah, Chatham County, Pooler, Tybee Island, and Thunderbolt, Georgia. Call us today to schedule a free case evaluation.


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