Georgia DUI Laws: Atlanta DUI Lawyer & Law Book Author FAQs
A sizable number of online inquiries center around what happens when you get a DUI in Georgia. The Internet is the go-to source for information about DUI in GA. Eight out of 10 arrestees in Georgia are facing their 1st DUI in Georgia. Many citizens charged with drunken driving doubt their chances of beating a Georgia DUI, even if they hire the best DUI law firm near me in the State.
Atlanta DUI attorney William Head is widely regarded as Georgia’s leading DUI defense lawyer, due to creating and now co-authoring the leading treatise on DUI Georgia law. After 45 years of legal service across the State of Georgia, he has also created a network of other DUI attorneys in Georgia and other states, for referrals in some cases.
Plus, in dozens of legal seminars, Bubba Head (his nickname) has been the go-to speaker (across the USA) on topics like beating a DUI test (all types of DUI forensic testing of urine, blood, or breath). The most recent presentation was for the December 2020 Bernard Edelman Program for the Missouri Bar Association.
15 FAQs: Georgia DUI Laws and Penalties, if Convicted
The 15 questions and answers below cover over 90% of the inquiries posed by our clients when first calling or while interviewing with our criminal justice attorneys. Some are about beating a DUI blood test, the DUI procedures used by police at the roadside, and other FAQs are warning about the harsh reality of a DUI conviction in Georgia so that accused citizens see the value of fighting their cases.
- Should I answer the police officer’s questions at the roadway? Other than name and address, no other questions should be answered.
- Should I refuse the police hand-held breathalyzer offered at the roadway? Every requested roadside sobriety test is optional and voluntary, but if you submit to it, your participation will be considered voluntary. If you have had no alcohol at all, those person’s may consider blowing, but if the hand-held test shows no alcohol, the officer will immediately start a DUI-drugs investigation and try to argue that your silence indicates that you are hiding something.
- Is a DUI a felony in GA? Seldom are DUI arrests for a felony. The 3 exceptions occur for those facing a 4th DUI conviction within the past 10 years, using dates of arrest as the operative dates, or an impaired driver with three of more child passengers (under age 14) in that vehicle, or by being intoxicated (or stoned on drugs) and (in an accident) causing serious bodily injury or death to another human being.
- If I was in a parked car and sleeping, how can I be accused of being in actual physical control of any moving vehicle? Police collect “circumstantial” evidence from drivers, such as admissions (when the driver answers their questions. Plus, if the driver is behind the wheel, that circumstantially points to operation the vehicle. If the key or fob is in the vehicle, that provides access to crank the engine. If the hood is still warm, on a cold night, that circumstantially shows that the engine was running recently.
- What are the Georgia DUI penalties I face if convicted? First offense DUI penalties in Georgia include jail time in GA, and 40 hours (5 days) of community service, plus having a clinical evaluation for alcohol or drug dependency. The fines and surcharges commonly range between $650 and $2000, and 12 months of DUI probation is required, minus any time in jail. Later, a reinstatement fee at the Georgia Department of Driver Services and proof of conditions being completed are required to reinstate. See this GA DUI penalty chart for details on other repeat DUI offenses.
- Should I install an ignition interlock device (IID) or file for a GA DDS appeal? The DDS 1205 form that replaced your driver’s license covers these two options. This complex issue has no easy answer, but any driver charged with having refused the post-arrest test of blood, breath or urine MAY need to go with the IID option but talking to a lawyer before acting is imperative. Plus, getting an interlock installed takes time, so call today for targeted legal advice.
- Why was my plastic driver’s license taken and a form given to me that says I have a license suspension? Georgia implied consent law authorizes this, under the provisions of Georgia’s administrative license suspension laws.
- I submitted to a blood sample, so is there any chance to beat a blood test result in court? Even if your results were triple the Georgia DUI limit, if a pretrial motion excludes the test, then you have a good chance to win many cases. The Georgia BAC limit is only a problem when the State can use their forensic test results.
- I was arrested for driving under the influence of marijuana. Does the officer have to prove impairment to obtain a conviction for a marijuana DUI? No. Georgia laws permit conviction for having THC in your body and driving, which is called DUI per se marijuana.
- If this would be a 2nd DUI in GA, within the past 10 years, would a DUI second offense permit me to drive, after conviction? Possibly, if the first DUI arrest date was more than 5 years earlier. The driver’s license issues for a second DUI, of 3rd DUI (if outside the 5-year mark) would potentially allow a restricted GA license. Plus, recent legislation in Georgia empowers a judge in a DUI court accountability court to restore limited driving privileges.
- What is a felony DUI based on child endangerment? Every child passenger in a DUI driver’s vehicle carries a separate DUI conviction. So, a driver with his or her first offense DUI in GA, with five (5) under 14 children would be 6 DUI charges, three of which ate DUI felonies.
- For a person under 21, what is the legal alcohol limit in GA, under our motor vehicle laws? The Georgia zero tolerance law applies a 0.02 grams percent or less alcohol level. So, a driver in a DUI under 21 case must be under that number to not have a DUI alcohol per se charge.
- How much does a DUI cost? Not much for a public defender, but a filing fee is usually needed. The fees charged by private attorneys near me varies greatly, since the legal advocates who fight all cases, and are successful getting reductions and dismissals in most cases, will be charging more. This is directly related to the quantity of hours required on their cases.
- If this arrest would be my first lifetime DUI Georgia first offense, is DUI expungement possible after 7 or 10 years? No. under subsection (f) of O.C.G.A. 40 6 391, a first offender plea is banned, and the record restriction law has no applicability to any DUI convictions. A DUI in Georgia first offense will stay on your criminal record for life.
- Would a Fulton County lawyer from Atlanta GA be successful in defending my OCGA DUI GA charge in South Georgia or for a pending case near the Tennessee line? Our DUI lawyers track our success record, and our positive outcomes (i.e., obtaining a reduction, dismissal, or acquittal) are BETTER in remote counties within the Peach State. But the 4 metro Atlanta counties account for about 40% of all DUI arrests, so our base of operations is in Fulton County and Cobb County.
The Georgia DUI statute, OCGA 40-6-391 details criminal law sanctions for either a DUI less safe case or a DUI per se case. The difference is that a per se alcohol case has a BAC level above the legal limit for that person. A less safe DUI is often a refusal or the type of DUI case that remains after the State’s forensic test results have been excluded.
DUI Attorney Cory Yager and Larry Kohn, DUI Lawyer GA are also Legal Book Authors
Due to the Atlanta Georgia population size and number of cars and trucks passing through the Capitol City, Atlanta DUI arrests top all other municipalities. These misdemeanor cases start their journey in the Atlanta Municipal Court, which is the Georgia largest traffic court.
The Municipal Court of Atlanta can only provide a non-jury (judge only) trial. Therefore, many misdemeanor traffic offense cases are transferred over (for a jury trial) to the Fulton County State Court or the DeKalb County State Court since the city limits span parts of both metro counties. For a FREE lawyer consultation with lawyers near me, call today.