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Georgia DUI DWI Penalties



In Georgia, DUI for first-time offenders is considered a misdemeanor. Misdemeanors in general are punishable by less than a year in jail, smaller fines, community service, or a combination of any of these. However, repeat DUI offenses in Georgia warrant more serious punishments and, in fact, several DUI convictions can result in a felony.

If you have been arrested under Georgia DUI laws, you will want to understand the possible penalties that await you. In addition, you should contact a Georgia DUI attorney to represent you throughout the legal process.

The crime of drunk driving is usually referred to as DUI in Georgia although it may also occasionally be referred to as DWI, which stands for driving while intoxicated.

First-Time Misdemeanor Georgia DUI

As long as no one was seriously injured and there was no significant property damage, your first-time Georgia DUI offense will likely be considered a misdemeanor. However, just because it is not a felony does not mean there are not potentially serious consequences.

Some penalties that a court may issue you for your first Georgia DWI conviction include:

  • Imprisonment ranging from 10 days to a year
  • Fines ranging from $300 to $1,000
  • 40 hours of community service unless your blood-alcohol level was below .08 in which case it may be reduced to 20 to 40 hours
  • Completion of classes at a Georgia DUI school
  • Suspension of your driver's license for up to a year

Second-Time Offenders

If you break Georgia DUI laws a second time within five years of your first offense, the penalties will be more severe.

Penalties for a second Georgia DUI offense include:

  • 90 days to a year in prison
  • Fines ranging from $600 to $1,000
  • A minimum of 30 days of community service
  • Georgia DWI classes
  • Suspension of your driver's license for up to three years

Second-time offenders may also be forced to install an ignition interlock device in their cars. This device ensures the car will not start unless the driver has not been drinking.

Third-Time Offenders

Breaking Georgia DUI laws a third time within five years is a much more serious offense. Although in Georgia this is still a misdemeanor, it is raised to a higher degree of misdemeanor known as high and aggravated.

A third DUI offense in Georgia is punishable by:

  • Prison time ranging from 120 days to a year
  • Fines ranging from $1,000 to $5,000
  • 30 days of community service minimum
  • DUI classes
  • Suspension of your driver's license for five years

If you are caught drinking and driving a fourth time, you may have your vehicle permanently or temporarily confiscated. Recovering your vehicle in such instances can be a very costly endeavor.

Minors in Violation of Georgia DUI Laws

If you are under the age of 21 and are caught drinking and driving in Georgia, you may be subject to some very harsh penalties. Laws forbidding underage drinking and driving are often referred to as zero-tolerance laws.

If you are under 21 and violate Georgia zero-tolerance laws, you may be subject to jail time, community service, fines, driver's license suspension, and even vehicle impoundment.

Georgia Felony DUI Charges

If you have been convicted of drunk driving four or more times within a 10-year period, you may be subject to felony DUI charges in Georgia.

Penalties for felony DUI include:

  • Imprisonment ranging from one to five years
  • Fines ranging from $1,000 to $5,000
  • A minimum of 60 days of community service
  • DUI classes