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Georgia DUI Laws

Georgia DUI Laws

If you are charged with a DUI in Coffee County, Georgia, immediately contact a competent Georgia DUI lawyer such as Patrick Ferris. DUI laws in Georgia are complex. If information necessary to your defense is not collected, your chance of facing charges and penalties increases. A competent Coffee County DUI attorney can investigate your charges in order to obtain information, evidence, and testimony, and use these assets to fight for a beneficial resolution to your case.

If you are facing a Georgia DUI charge, you have ten (10) days to schedule a hearing with the Georgia Department of Driver Services in which you will appeal to keep your driving privileges. If your appeal is successful, then you will retain your driver's license, for the time being. Otherwise, you could lose your license for up to one (1) year. In the event that your license is suspended, you may be able to secure an Occupational Driver's Permit which will allow you to drive to and from work. With this limited license, may also drive to job sites if you have to travel for work.

Georgia DUI Penalties

The DUI legal process in the State of Georgia can take in between a few months and over a year. With a professional DUI attorney, this time can decrease. Cases that go to trial take longer than those that involve a plea bargain.

If you are convicted of a DUI in the State of Georgia, the DUI conviction will stay on your criminal record for the rest of your life.

If you are convicted of a DUI in the State of Georgia, you will receive other DUI penalties, as well. These DUI penalties include mandatory jail time, harsh fines, and other punishments. See below for an outline of the DUI penalties.

Second DUI Offense and Beyond

Each subsequent DUI charge within a ten-year period exposes you to increasing penalties. The range of consequences for each successive DUI charge is laid out below:

DUI Offense DUI Fine DUI Imprisonment DUI Community Service Other DUI Penalties Other Possible DUI Penalties
1st DUI $300 - $1,000 10 days - 12 months. If BAC over 0.08 grams, 24 hours of sentence must be in prison 20 hours for BAC less than 0.08 grams, otherwise 40 hours Completion of DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program and Clinical Evaluation Completion of a Substance Abuse Treatment Program
2nd DUI $600 - $1,000 90 days - 12 months with minimum of 72 hours in prison. The remainder can be probated At least 30 days Completion of DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program and Clinical Evaluation, public notice of your conviction with booking photograph at a cost to you of $25 Completion of a Substance Abuse Treatment Program
3rd DUI $1,000 - $5,000 120 days - 12 months with minimum of 15 days in prison At least 30 days Completion of DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program and Clinical Evaluation, public notice of your conviction with booking photograph at a cost to you of $25 Completion of a Substance Abuse Treatment Program
4th DUI (Felony DUI) $1,000 - $5,000 1 year - 5 years with minimum of 90 days in prison At least 60 days that can be suspended if you are sentenced to at least 3 years in jail Completion of DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program and Clinical Evaluation, public notice of your conviction with booking photograph at a cost to you of $25 Completion of a Substance Abuse Treatment Program

Douglas, Georgia Felony DUI

In the State of Georgia, the first and second DUI convictions with a ten-year period are considered misdemeanors. A third DUI within a ten-year period is considered a misdemeanor of an aggravated nature. With this third DUI, you will be considered a "habitual violator". A fourth DUI within a ten-year period is a felony offense. With this felony DUI, you will continue to be considered a "habitual violator".

Coffee County Drug DUI

In Georgia, driving under the influence is considered the same offense, with the same penalties, whether you are accused of driving with illegal or prescription drugs or alcohol in your system. The Georgia DUI laws treat possession or influence of illegal drug DUI and prescription drug DUI the same. Influence of alcohol is treated differently if your BAC is under 0.08 grams. There is no such threshold for prescription drug DUI or illegal drug DUI.

Georgia Marijuana DUI

In the case of marijuana DUI, cocaine DUI, or other illegal drug DUI, if these materials are found in your car, you may also face drug possession charges in addition to the drug DUI. When a person is found driving with marijuana in their possession, their case will be treated as a driving hazard whether that person is at the wheel or not. If you have been arrested and charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession, your driver's license will likely be suspended for six months. Misdemeanor marijuana possession is the charge for having less than one ounce in your possession. If you have more than an ounce of marijuana in your possession, you could be facing a felony charge as well as suspension of your license for one year.

Coffee County DUI Less Safe Law

If you refused to take a breath test or even if you took the test and blew under the legal limit, you can still be charged with a DUI. According to Georgia DUI law, you may be arrested and charged with a DUI to such an extent that it is "less safe" for you to drive. It is possible for you to be charged even if your blood alcohol content (BAC) was under the legal limit. Many drivers in Douglas, GA and Coffee County are unaware of this law and that this type of DUI offense does not require a breath or blood test in order for an arrest to be made.

If you have been arrested under Georgia's "less safe" law, your best opportunity to successfully defend the charge against you is to contact proven Georgia DUI defense lawyer, Patrick Ferris. With extensive experience in helping South Georgia residents overcome DUI prosecutions, Patrick Ferris has the knowledge to aggressively go after charges based on Georgia's less safe DUI regulations.

When making a less safe DUI case, Coffee County and Douglas, GA law enforcement is trained to observe and record everything you do that could be seen as a sign of impairment. The law enforcement officer is taking note of your driving, movements as you exit from your vehicle, speech patterns, and overall appearance will all be analyzed by the officer trying to build a Georgia DUI case against you. These deputies are trained to give field sobriety tests. These tests, however, are subjective and there are many ways the reliability and accuracy of these tests can be undermined.

If your DUI paperwork indicates a "less safe" or 391(a) (1) charge, Patrick Ferris is experienced in defending these cases as well as using expert witnesses to analyze and testify on the validity of your arrest. Less safe charges are penalized with jail time, community service, fines, driver's license suspension, and possible drug or alcohol evaluation and treatment. It is vital that your case is correctly resolved.

Douglas, Georgia Refusal DUI

If you have been charged with Georgia DUI, the police officer who arrested you probably asked you to submit to chemical testing of your blood, breath, urine, or other bodily substances. If you refused this testing, you should contact Patrick Ferris at your earliest opportunity. Refusal to submit to testing may result in certain administrative consequences such as driver's license suspension if you do not act quickly. You may have ten days or less to act. Your refusal to submit to testing might also be used against you in your Georgia DUI case if you do not promptly assert certain rights. Patrick Ferris has extensive experience with the defense of "refusal" cases, and knows how to take the most appropriate action to avoid or minimize the license consequences of your DUI arrest.

Child Endangerment DUI in Georgia

If a driver is pulled over for a potential DUI charge with one or more children in the vehicle under the age of fourteen, the driver will be accused of child endangerment in addition to the DUI. The child endangerment charges can multiply with the number of children in the car. During any child endangerment charge, you could be facing loss of child custody.

If you are convicted of child endangerment, you will face a fine of up to $1,000 in addition to the DUI penalties. The first offense carries a penalty of up to a year in jail, as well. This jail time is in addition to jail time applied for the DUI charge. These penalties escalate when recent prior convictions are present on your criminal record. A second offense will result in a fine in between $1,000 and $5,000 as well as up to a year in prison. A third offense is a felony with a minimum fine of $10,000 and up to five years in prison.

A child endangerment conviction cannot be combined with DUI in Georgia. Both offenses are treated separately with regards to license suspension. This increases your chance of becoming a habitual violator. If you are convicted of a DUI and two counts of child endangerment during the same arrest, you will be treated as a habitual violator even if it is for one incident. At this point, you license is suspended for five years.

DUI Plea Bargain vs. DUI Trial in Coffee County, Georgia

If the prosecution's case is in doubt based on the evidence provided by an effective Coffee County DUI lawyer, you may be offered a plea bargain for a lesser charge. Plea bargains take less time and are much simpler. There are some cases where the plea bargain will work for you. However, there are other cases in which going to trial will lead to your being found "not guilty". A "not guilty" verdict will result in your record remaining clean and not having to pay the Georgia DUI fines or other Georgia DUI penalties.

You need an experienced Georgia DUI attorney to help present the initial evidence and help you decided on a plea bargain vs. trial decision. Call Patrick Ferris in Douglas, GA today at (912) 384-1099 for your best chance at beating the charges.