DUI Charges in Columbus, Georgia
Driving under the influence or DUI is one of the most commonly charged crimes in Georgia. The legal limit and threshold for a DUI charge for most drivers is a .08 blood alcohol concentration. However, you can still be arrested and charged with DUI if:
- Your BAC is below the legal limit but the officer finds that you are impaired
- You are under the influence of any drug—even a prescription medication—and it impairs your ability to drive
A DUI in Georgia is actually two separate charges: criminal and administrative.
Criminal DUI Penalties
The criminal portion of the DUI charge carries certain penalties, depending on how many prior DUIs you have accrued within a 10-year period. The first three DUIs on a person’s record are considered misdemeanors:
- First offense: one day to one year in jail, a fine between $300 and $1,000, community service and various education programs
- Second offense: mandatory minimum 72 hours in jail, maximum $1,000 fine, substance abuse treatment program, ignition interlock device
- Third offense: three months to one year in jail, maximum $5,000 fine, community service, clinical evaluation, attend DUI Alcohol Risk Reduction Program
Administrative Drivers License Penalties
Aside from the penalties listed above, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will assess additional sanctions against your drivers license if you are convicted of DUI:
- First offense: One-year license suspension
- Second offense: Three-year license suspension with no limited driving privileges
- Third offense: Five-year license revocation
It may be possible to have your license reinstated or to obtain a provisional permit by requesting an administrative review hearing. Note that these penalties may be enhanced if you refuse to submit to a breath, blood or urine test of your blood alcohol content.
There are many ways to fight a DUI charge. Depending on the circumstances of your case, it may be possible to have the charge reduced to reckless driving, especially for a first offense. Challenging the stop, arrest and even the circumstances leading up to the officer’s assertion that you were intoxicated are also avenues that your attorney should explore.