DUIs are some of the most common criminal charges in the US, with around 1.5 million people facing charges every year. However, just because it is common doesn’t mean it is desirable.
Having DUI charges on your record has serious complications that ripple throughout your entire life, so avoiding a sentence at all costs can save you a lot of trouble.
Criminal Attorney Jarret Maillet offers a guide on the consequences of a DUI offense, what to expect at every stage, and how you can avoid a conviction.
Consequences Of A DUI: Jail
Even if it is your first offense, you will be arrested if you are found to have a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of over 0.8, or 0.2 if you are under the age of 21.
Jail is different from prison. Jail is where you are held after the arrest, and prison is where you may be sent after a conviction. You could spend the night in jail after your arrest, or even just a few hours. However, after the court date, you could face a maximum of 12 months in prison with a minimum of 24 hours, which can be waived in certain circumstances.
If you aren’t taken to jail after your arrest, you will be taken to the “drunk tank” where you will be put with other people arrested that night with similar charges. Regardless, you will be handcuffed, arrested, and booked.
After a judge sets your bail, you must pay it before being released. You will usually only need to pay about 10% of the bail upfront to be released. This will cost anywhere between $150 and $2500.
You will be given court dates when you need to appear before a judge to plead your case. You must get the right legal representation before your court dates.
For a first offense, jail time is certainly possible. The minimum sentence is 24 hours in jail, which is occasionally waived, but you could easily face up to 12 months. You will likely be facing a $300 fine, 40 hours of community service, and 12 months probation.
You will also be required to complete a course commonly known as “DUI school”. The judge may also determine it fit for you to take a course or treatment plan on substance abuse if they believe you have a drug or drinking addiction. This could be a 12-step program or counseling.
You will also face a license suspension with the possibility of a limited driving permit in certain circumstances.
If you are under the age of 21 and your BAC was below 0.8, there is no mandatory jail time. However, a judge is still able to sentence you as they see fit.
If this is your second DUI conviction within 5 years of the previous offense, you will need to surrender any vehicles registered in your name, as well as having your photograph taken with a notice of your conviction to the county. This will cost you a $25 fee.
This will also cost you a minimum of a $600 fine, going up to $1000, and up to 12 months in prison with a minimum sentence of 72 hours. It is most common that a second offense will face at least a 90-day sentence. You will also face between 12 and 36 months of probation.
You should also expect a license suspension, a red stripe on your license, and the installation of an ignition lock device in your vehicle.
If occurring within 10 years of the previous two offenses, your third offense will result in another 12 to 36 months of probation and a 5-year license suspension.
You will also face between 120 days and 12 months in jail, with at least 15 days of actual incarceration before your probation. You will also face 240 hours of community service, mandatory DUI school, surrender of license plates, and another photo released to the county. This will also come with a “habitual violator status”, which comes with serious complications if you’re ever pulled over or looking for a job.
A fourth DUI offense is a felony in Georgia. This will result in a minimum license suspension of 10 years, a $1000 to $5000 fine, 480 hours of community service, and mandatory counseling for drug or alcohol dependency.
You will have the status of being a convicted felon for life, and likely serve between 1 and 5 years in prison.
If you do have to serve any jail time at all, it doesn’t just take you away from your life for a few days. 15 days in jail could mean you get out without a job. Employers are not at all obligated to hold that space for you, and many companies cannot legally keep you employed after a conviction, especially if driving is part of your job.
Even after one conviction, you will be left with a criminal record, which can cause serious complications in your life for years to come. If you find yourself in this situation, we really can’t understate why you should hire an attorney. They can help you get the best outcome from your case and possibly save your future.
DUI charges, especially if it comes with a habitual violator status, can ruin your career, your status, and your life, so make sure you are properly prepared to fight these charges. It can make future penalties more severe, even if unrelated to DUI.
Don’t Do It Alone
Now that you know the serious consequences of a DUI in Georgia, you understand how important it is to avoid them at all costs. Drive safely, stay up to date with our legal news, and get the representation that you need. Be sure to find out when and how to hire a DUI lawyer!
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