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What is a DUI and a DWI in Georgia?

Georgia statutes offer guidelines for road usage and acceptable behavior for road users in the state. Violations of the state traffic code result in traffic offenses, one of which is a DUI. Persons who drive or operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicating substances are guilty of a DUI. Several factors may aggravate a DUI offense, including the volume of alcohol in the offender’s system, the presence of other persons in the operated vehicle, and whether the offender causes bodily harm or injury to another party.

Georgia’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the courts manage and penalize traffic offenses in the state.

What is the Difference Between a DUI and a DWI in Georgia

In Georgia, a DUI and a DWI are not different; however, the term DUI is more commonly used in reference to driving, operating, or being in physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or any other intoxicating substance. In Georgia, a DUI encompasses all the ways that a person may control a vehicle while intoxicated due to alcohol or drug consumption. The minimum percentage of alcohol allowed in a person’s body system that requires law enforcement to make a DUI charge is.08%.

What happens when you get a DUI for the First Time in Georgia?

A first DUI offense in Georgia is a misdemeanor. According to state laws, first DUI offenses are punishable by:

  • A fine of not less than $300 and not more than $1,000
  • Imprisonment for no less than ten days and no more than one year. The court may waive imprisonment; however, first time DUI offenders must face imprisonment for no less than 24 hours.
  • Between 20–40 hours of community service, depending on the offender’s blood-alcohol
  • Completing a Drug Use Risk Reduction Program or DUI alcohol program
  • A clinical evaluation, which the court may waive
  • 12 months of probation, excluding any imprisonment time

Depending on the DUI offense’s severity, the Department of Driver Services (DDS) may also suspend the offender’s driver’s license. The offender or the offender’s attorney may request an Administrative License Hearing to prevent a suspension of the offender’s license.

How Likely is Jail Time After a First DUI in Georgia?

As the state law provides, first-offense DUIs in Georgia may be punished by prison terms of no more than one year and no less than ten days. However, the court may waive the jail term and sentence the offender to an alternative method. Parties charged with first-time DUI offenses spend no less than 24 hours incarcerated.

What are the Typical Penalties for a DUI Conviction in Georgia?

DUI penalties in Georgia vary according to the severity of the offense. However, typical penalties include:

  • Fines: Depending on the severity of the DUI offense, offenders must pay between $300 and $5,000.
  • Surcharges: The court may also require DUI offenders to pay surcharges and other fees, including victims fees, insurance premium surcharges, and additional court fees.
  • Community Service: In some cases, the court may sentence a DUI offender to community service in place of jail time. Such persons may serve the community for up to 40 hours for a first offense.
  • Drug use program participation: As part of the court’s alternative resolution program, or in addition to other criminal penalties, the court may require a DUI offender to participate in a driver’s education program or alcohol use risk program. Completion of the program may determine whether the court dismisses a charge or reduces the offender’s sentence.
  • Clinical evaluation: After participation in a drug use program, the court may require the offender to participate in clinical evaluation.
  • Probation: In addition to criminal penalties or as part of an alternative resolution program, the court may place a DUI offender on probation. During this period, the court will monitor the offender’s compliance with other court’s requirements for the offender’s particular sentence.
  • Driver’s license suspension: DUI convicts in Georgia may get a license suspension for between one (1) to three years, depending on whether it is a first, second, or third offense. In some cases, the Department of Driver Services may permanently revoke the offender’s license. Additionally, depending on how many points the driver has accumulated on the driver’s record, the Department of Driver Services may suspend the offender’s license.
  • Imprisonment: Terms of imprisonment for DUI offenses in Georgia range from 10 days to 12 months, depending on the severity of the crime. DUI offenses that involve bodily harm, injury to another party, or endangering minors may carry higher terms of imprisonment.

How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record in Georgia?

A Georgia DUI offense stays on the offender’s record for ten years. After ten years, which is known as the “look-back” period, a Georgia DUI offender may petition the court to expunge eligible offense records.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.

Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

How do I Find DUI Checkpoints in Georgia?

DUI checkpoints are legal in Georgia; however, the checkpoints must abide by legal guidelines. For example, a Georgia DUI checkpoint must be identifiable and clearly marked. Additionally, officers performing roadside checks must be qualified and have relevant training. Law enforcement officers at DUI checkpoints must also use standard procedures to ensure minimal delay in driving. Typically, when law enforcement officers stop drivers, the officers request the driver’s license and registration and watch out for any signs of drinking and driving, such as slurred speech, open alcohol containers in the car, uncoordinated driving, and bloodshot eyes.

Which is Worse; a DUI or DWI?

In Georgia, a DUI is the same as a DWI; however, DUI is the legal term that the state employs. It describes any traffic offense where the offender drives or controls a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, any drugs, aerosol, glue, or any other toxic vapors to the extent that it is no longer safe for the person to drive. Additionally, persons with a blood-alcohol level of.08% or with marijuana or any other controlled substance in the urine or blood are guilty of driving under the influence (OCGA 40–6–391).. DUI offenses are punishable by fines, imprisonment, forfeiture, probation, and any other penalty that state laws specify.

What is an Aggravated DUI in Georgia?

The court considers repeat DUI offenses in Georgia aggravated offenses. That means that while first and second DUI offenses in Georgia are misdemeanors, a third and subsequent DUI offenses within five (5) years are felony offenses. Persons designated as habitual violators also attract higher penalties than first-time DUI offenders. Other examples of aggravated DUI offenses in Georgia include:

  • Repeated child endangerment DUI
  • Vehicular homicide
  • Vehicular feticide
  • Homicide or injury by interference with traffic devices

Aggravated DUI offenses are punishable by harsher penalties than misdemeanor DUIs or first DUI offenses.

What Happens When You Get a DUI in Georgia?

DUI offenses in Georgia are punishable by fines, forfeiture, license revocation, probation, drug treatment programs, and in some cases, jail terms. The applicable penalty depends on the severity of the offense and the offender’s criminal history. DUI penalties are only applicable to persons convicted of DUI offenses. A DUI charge does not automatically result in penalties.

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