DUI Laws & Sentencing
In the state of Georgia, it is illegal to drive or be in control of a motor vehicle while intoxicated. DUI arrests and prosecutions are not simply limited to people driving a car with a blood alcohol content above .08. DUI arrests and prosecutions can be based on driving while under the influence of many substances including alcohol, illegal drugs (such as marijuana or cocaine), and even legal medications prescribed by your physician.
Per Se vs. Less Safe:
In Georgia, a DUI prosecution can be based on two types of evidence. Many people are familiar with what is known as DUI Per Se, where the prosecution’s evidence is based on the results of a chemical test of your blood, breath, or urine.
The State also will pursue a DUI Less Safe conviction, where the evidence is based on your driving, interaction with the arresting officer, and the results of any field sobriety testing. Field sobriety tests include the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test, the walk and turn test, and the one leg stand test (see field sobriety section).
Georgia law requires stiff penalties after a conviction for a DUI including jail time, supervised probation, large fines, suspension of your driver’s license, ignition interlock device, alcohol evaluation and treatment, and community service. Many of these penalties are mandatory. This means the judge in your case must impose a certain level of punishment if you are convicted, regardless of the facts of your case.
If you are convicted, the indirect costs of a DUI can follow you for years. The price of your insurance coverage will increase. You may be prevented from purchasing insurance altogether. Employment can be harder to find and keep with a DUI on your record. If you drive for a living, a DUI can destroy your career altogether.
The penalties for a DUI grow increasingly more severe with each arrest and conviction for DUI. People with multiple DUI’s often face increased jail time, larger fines, and extensive periods of license suspension. If you have one or more prior DUI’s on your record it is critical to make sure you understand the seriousness of the potential penalties you face.