Increased Penalties for DUIs in Georgia
The State of Georgia treats any DUI seriously, even a first-time DUI. While the penalties increase with subsequent DUI convictions, there are certain factors which can increase penalties even further. This includes a DUI with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.15 percent or higher; a DUI while driving with children in the car; or a DUI while on a suspended license.
The penalties for a first time DUI can include required DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Reduction Program; fines of up to $1,000, jail time, community service, a clinical evaluation and possible treatment program, probation and a one-year suspended license. These penalties can be increased, even for a first-time DUI if there were aggravating circumstances. Aggravating factors include:
- Speeding more than 30 miles per hour over the speed limit;
- Driving the wrong way;
- Refusing to submit to a chemical test after a DUI arrest;
- DUI in a school zone;
- DUI on a suspended or revoked license;
- DUI resulting in an accident that harms or kills another person; or
- Having children under the age of 14 in your car.
For example, it is a separate violation to transport a child under the age of 14 while driving under the influence. That means, the crime does not merge with the underlying DUI charge. In addition to all the penalties associated with a DUI, the driver may be penalized with imprisonment of up to 12 months in jail, and a fine of up to $1,000. A third offense for child endangerment DUI is a felony, which includes a possible penalty of from 1 to 3 years in jail, and fines of up to $5,000.
On top of those penalties, a driver may face additional charges if more than one child was in the car at the time. That means a first-time DUI with additional children under 14 in the car could result in multiple DUIs at the same time, and could even lead to the designation of a habitual violator.
Another enhanced penalty includes having an elevated blood alcohol concentration. The per se violation of DUI laws for most drivers is a BAC of 0.08 percent or greater. For commercial drivers, the per se limit is 0.04 percent or greater. For underage drivers, Georgia has a zero-tolerance policy, and any underage driver with a 0.02 percent or higher BAC is in violation. While many other states increase penalties for higher BACs from 0.15 up to 0.25 or greater, in Georgia a driver with a BAC of 0.15 percent or greater cannot plead nolo contendere.
Atlanta Enhanced DUI Lawyer
There is so much at stake with a first time DUI, but aggravating factors can add additional penalties, and even result in increased jail time and multiple criminal charges. With so much on the line, you need a skilled Atlanta DUI defense lawyer with experience representing people charged with all types of DUIs. I exclusively handle DUI cases in Atlanta and the North Georgia region. Don't risk a criminal record, time in jail, or being labeled a repeat DUI offender. Call me anytime 24/7, so we can get started on your case, to keep you out of jail, and save your license.