First Offense DUI in Georgia

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If you're convicted of a first-time DUI in Georgia, you should expect to spend 24 hours in jail (or 48 hours in some counties). In addition, expect a one-year license suspension. If you're over 21, you may be able to get your license back at the end of 120 days if you have completed an alcohol/drug risk reduction course and paid the appropriate reinstatement fee

Administrative Penalties

  • First offense DUI in Georgia results in administrative license suspension of one year but you may be able to get your license reinstated after three months (unless the arrest included drugs, in which case reinstatement will not occur for six months).
  • Refusals to submit under implied consent laws in Georgia results in one year license suspension, if applicable
  • License reinstatement for first offense, unless otherwise ordered by courts, does not require ignition interlock device, but will require serving out sentence and payment of reinstatement fines and fees

How Much Will it Cost?

To get an idea of how much a first offense DUI will cost you, see our article on the cost of a DUI.

Criminal Penalties

  • First offense penalties in Georgia DUI cases include mandatory minimum period of incarceration for one (1) day with potential of incarceration for period up to one (1) year
  • Fines in first offense convictions range from minimum of $300 to not more than $1,000, but fine amount does not include court costs, surcharges, expenses incurred during completion of terms of sentence, or reinstatement costs
  • Mandatory alcohol/substance abuse/driver education programs possible, as well as community service mandates
  • Convictions of first offense will influence sentencing and charges in subsequent second offense for a period of ten (10) years

Can I Get a First DUI Reduced?

Georgia law permits a prosecutor to reduce charges from a DUI to reckless driving. However, there are two things to consider: your record will continue to show a disposition for DUI, and you may recieve the same penalties as if convicted of a DUI. Reduction to reckless driving more typically occurs in first offenses.

In order to preserve the right to reduce the charges, you must enter an initial plea of not guilty. This will not only give you a chance to fight the charges, but will give you time to try to build a case and to work with the courts to reduce the pending charges. 

How To Reduce The Charges

In order to be able to reduce the charges, you will need to get the courts to look in your favor. You will also need to see if there were procedures performed incorrectly by the police and if they had a legitimate reason to pull you over in the first place. Look for these possible police errors:

  • No Miranda rights
  • No reason to pull you over
  • Improperly administered test

Getting Legal Help

The state of Georgia prohibits reduction of DUI charges into lesser criminal convictions as a plea option, however, within a given case, numerous avenues for negotiating a favorable plea deal still do exist. Likewise, defendants should actively seek out dismissal of charges altogether. In either case, you may need the assistance of an attorney.

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