In most cases, the criminal charges will consist of two offenses: 1) driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI), and 2) driving with .08% or higher blood-alcohol concentration (the so-called “per se” offense). You can be convicted of both offenses, but only punished for one; the penalties are identical. If you refused to submit to chemical testing, you will be charged only with the DUI. Separate from the criminal charges, an administrative license suspension for either having .08% or refusing is administered by the Department of Driver Services.
Under current Georgia DUI law, a first offense is punishable by jail from a minimum of 10 days up to a maximum of 12 months. The judge may waive or suspend all but 24 hours of jail time. There is also a fine and assessments that amounts to over $1500. A license suspension of 12 months and attendance at a state-approved DUI school will be required. Community service of 40 hours will be required. Probation for 12 months will be required. Clinical treatment and evaluation is mandatory, unless waived in writing by the judge (possible waiver only applies to 1st offenders in 10 years). Some judges may also require installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) and/or attendance at “victim’s panels” or Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.
If the case involves a refusal to submit to chemical testing for blood-alcohol, the driver’s license suspension is for one year and there is no possibility of obtaining a work-restricted license. One or two prior convictions carry increased jail sentences and longer license suspensions; three or more “priors” changes the offense to a felony, punishable by commitment to state prison.
Jason won my DUI jury trial in the State Court of Chatham County, GA, yesterday. Jason’s passion for law, and for helping his clients is what convinced me to hire him in the first place. I’ve never had to hire a lawyer before, and I feel as though I got “lucky” when I took a chance in hiring him. I highly recommend his counsel. — Amy