Atlanta Municipal Court hands down a variety of penalties to a driver convicted of driving under the influence. These penalties include:
1. Jail Time and/or Probation
You will face jail time even for your first offense DUI (a minimum of 24 hours and a maximum of twelve months). Penalties for subsequent DUI offenses carry more serious jail time. A term of probation can also follow some jail sentence. In certain cases, a judge could replace part of a jail sentence with probation.
2. Clinical Evaluation and Treatment
Everyone who is convicted of DUI is required to undergo a clinical evaluation conducted by a Georgia BHDD (Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities) approved counselor. He or she will determine whether or not you have dependency issues. If this is the case, a recommendation for treatment will be made. The court will require you to successfully complete any recommended treatment program. You are also responsible for covering any required costs of treatment.
3. Community Service
Everyone who is convicted of DUI is required to complete a certain amount of community service hours. You must complete your hours at a court-approved nonprofit organization.
4. Withdrawal of Driving Privileges
Your driver's license could be suspended or revoked if you are convicted of DUI. First time offenders face licenses suspension. If your license is suspended, your driving privilege has been temporarily withdrawn. After a specific period of time, you may apply for a driver's license once you pay any required fees and satisfy all Georgia Department of Driver Services requirements. First time DUI offenders face a driver's license suspension of one year. Subsequent offenders could face revocation. If your license is revoked, your driving privileges have been terminated and withdrawn. This is usually for a much longer period of time than a suspension. After this period of time, you may apply for a new driver's license once you pay any required fees and satisfy all Georgia Department of Driver Services requirements.
5. Risk Reduction Program / DUI School
Everyone who is convicted of DUI is must complete a risk reduction program (DUI School). This is a 20 hours program designed to educate drivers on issues of alcohol and drug abuse and the dangers of driving while impaired. You must make sure that the program you attend has been approved by Georgia DDS in order to get credit.
6. Fines and Fees
Everyone who is convicted of DUI will have to pay fines and fees. The amount you pay will depend on your offense and the circumstances of your case. The fines you pay are part of your criminal sentence. There is a broad range of fines: first time offenders can face a maximum of $1,000 in fines, while subsequent offenders can face a fine up to $10,000. You will could also have to pay a variety of fees for clinical evaluation, substance abuse treatment, DUI school, reinstating your driver's licence and/or installing an ignition interlock device.
7. Ignition Interlock Device
If you have been convicted of multiple DUIs within a certain time period, the judge will order you to install an ignition interlock device. To do this, you will need to find a mechanic who has been approved by DDS to install these devices. You are required to pay for this installation at your own expense. An ignition interlock is a machine includes a breathalyzer. When you want to start your car, you must breath into the machine. If any alcohol is detected, the interlock will prohibit your car from igniting.
8. Publication of Conviction in Local Newspaper
If you are convicted of two or more DUIs within a 10 year period, the clerk of courts will publish in your local newspaper a notice containing your name, photograph, city, county and zip code of your residential address and the details of your arrest (including date, time, place, and arresting agency).
This is only a broad overview of the possible DUI penalties you may face. If you would like a clear understanding of exactly what penalty you might face, please contact me. After we discuss your case in detail, you will have a good idea of what will lie ahead. If we choose to also work together, I can immediately begin advocating for your best possible outcome.