What Happens When You Get a DUI in Georgia?

What Happens When You

Driving under the influence poses a danger to you and everyone in your vicinity and can change your life forever. While it is never wise to operate a vehicle after drinking or using drugs, knowing DUI processes and consequences is smart. If you have never received a DUI, you may wonder, “What happens when you get a DUI in Georgia?” We can help.

What Is A DUI in Georgia?

A DUI in Georgia is driving or being in physical control of a moving vehicle while intoxicated due to alcohol or drugs. Being intoxicated means:

  • You are under the influence of alcohol, drugs, glue, aerosol, other toxic vapor, or a combination of any of the preceding substances to the extent that it is not safe to drive.
  • You have a BAC above the legal limit within three hours after driving or being in physical control of a vehicle.
  • You have any amount of a non-prescription, controlled substance of marijuana in your blood or urine.

The legal BAC limit varies for typical drivers, drivers under the legal drinking age, and commercial drivers.

DUI Penalties You Might Receive

DUI convictions carry severe consequences in Georgia. A conviction can impact everything from your finances to your freedom. The severity of the penalties you receive depends on factors like your BAC level when arrested, prior DUI history, and if your DUI caused injuries or property damage.

Misdemeanor vs. Felony DUI

The main difference between misdemeanor and felony DUIs in Georgia is that DUIs become felonies when contributing events like causing severe injuries take place. Contributing events include:

  • Having too many prior DUI convictions.
  • Attempting to elude law enforcement.
  • Causing serious bodily injury or death of another individual or unborn fetus.

Common Penalties for Misdemeanor DUI Convictions

First-time misdemeanor DUI convictions result in different penalties depending on the circumstances of the offense.

Jail Time

Jail time can end up a harsh reality for many people convicted of a DUI in Georgia. While a first-time DUI offense with a BAC under the legal limit rarely results in mandatory jail time, people in different DUI circumstances can have their lives disrupted by even short jail sentences. Missing work, losing childcare arrangements, or the inability to hold yourself to responsibilities because of jail time can have a cascading impact on your life.

Potential jail time increases with higher BAC and subsequent offenses.


DUI convictions come with hefty fines, which can be hundreds of dollars, and court costs can increase your financial burden. While some people may not feel much impact from losing a couple thousand dollars, others may be unable to cover essential expenses, leading to debt and other financial hardships.

License Suspension

Losing their driving privileges is a major inconvenience for most people. Finding a different way to accommodate their daily routine can be challenging for some people. The severity of the DUI offense and your prior driving record can cause your suspension to last for a few months to a few years. Potential extended suspension can lead to loss of employment, causing new problems in your life.

Community Service and Alcohol/Drug Evaluation

Most DUI sentences in Georgia have a mandatory community service requirement. The number of hours received depends on the situation.

The state requires mandatory alcohol and drug evaluation to determine dependencies and recommended treatment options. Completing a recommended program can equip you with tools to avoid DUIs in the future.

How An Attorney Can Help With a DUI Charge

If an officer arrests you for DUI in Georgia, you must contact an experienced DUI attorney immediately. This attorney can help you understand your rights, know what you should and should not do, represent you in court, and work to minimize any penalties you face.

Attorneys can review the details of your arrest, identify weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, and negotiate favorable plea bargains. Sometimes, a skilled DUI attorney can get your DUI charges dismissed outright. Having an experienced DUI attorney represent you can significantly affect your case’s outcome.


Q: What Is the Penalty for Your First DUI in Georgia?

A: The penalties for a first DUI in Georgia depend on the severity of the charge. If convicted, you may spend months in jail while receiving hefty fines. Typically, all DUI offenses include community service. With a first offense, your community service allotment could be less than a day of hours if your BAC level was lower than the prohibited level.

A higher BAC level than the prohibited level necessitates a minimum multi-day community service penalty.

Q: Do You Lose Your License for First DUI in GA?

A: If convicted of your first DUI in Georgia, the time you may lose your license depends on your situation. People of the legal drinking age convicted of a DUI lose their license for months up to a year. Anyone who refuses to take BAC tests will also lose their license for months as well.

Suppose you are under the legal drinking age and have a prohibited BAC level. In that case, their license will be suspended for months.

Q: Can a DUI Be Dropped in Georgia?

A: While DUIs cannot be dropped from your record in Georgia, you may be eligible for a restriction of your records, or to file an appeal. If you seek a DUI dismissal, you need to be proactive with your charges by seeking help. It is unlikely to get a DUI dismissed or reduced on your own, and it is wise to consult a Georgia DUI attorney for help.

Q: What Is the Most Common Sentence for a First DUI?

A: The most common sentence for a first DUI can vary, but there are ranges in jail time, fines, and community service. Most DUI offenses are misdemeanor offenses, but certain factors can heighten a DUI to a felony. Factors that contribute to felony DUIs are:

  • An individual possessing three or more DUI convictions during the past decade
  • Fleeing an officer
  • Causing death or serious bodily harm to someone else or an unborn fetus

Your Representative for DUI Charges in Georgia

If an officer arrested you for your first DUI in Georgia, you are not alone. Enlisting an experienced DUI attorney can ensure the protection of your rights and that every avenue of defense will be explored to reduce the charges. Contact Miller North & Brill today to learn how we can help your DUI case.

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