In most cases, the evening starts out innocently enough. You head out to blow off steam with some co-workers after work, and you indulge in a couple of beverages. Or, maybe you are going out for a night on the town with girlfriends, and it gets more out of hand than you realize. It’s entirely too easy to inadvertently drink too much, and then make the decision to drive home.

Like many other states around the country, Georgia has strict laws regarding driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you have been caught drinking and driving in Georgia, then you may find that you lose your driving privileges.

This is a frustrating situation for any driver, even if they recognize that they made poor decisions that could have had catastrophic consequences. While you accept your punishment and manage your consequences, you may be wondering what’s next?

According to the Georgia Department of Driving Services, here’s what you need to know:

Think it’s not that serious? Your first offense can result in a 12-month license suspension

Telling the judge that it’s only your first time drinking and driving and begging for mercy is not going to have much of an impact in Georgia. Drivers who are facing their first offense in the last five years often have their driver’s license suspended for a year. The only caveat is that many drivers are able to request reinstatement of their license after 120 days, but there are certain conditions that must be met.

There is a possibility that your license may be reinstated early, if you meet the criteria

A driver facing their first DUI offense may be able to get their license back earlier than anticipated if they meet certain criteria. First and foremost, reinstatement is not possible for at least 120 days. After 120 days of suspension, the driver can then apply for reinstatement. Then, they have to show proof that they have completed a course with a DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program. The program has to be completed through a school that is approved by the Georgia DDS. The goal is to educate drivers about their costly decisions and help prevent them from making the same mistakes in the future. Finally, after completing the course and providing the state with the completion certificate, the driver must be able to pay all applicable reinstatement fees in full.

The inplied consent law may have an impact on your suspension

It’s important to note that there is an implied consent law in Georgia. This law requires drivers to submit to chemical testing if they are suspected of driving while under the influence of alcohol. Drivers can refuse the testing, however, refusal results in a 12-month suspension of the driver’s license and ineligibility for reinstatement or limited use permits.

These rules and regulations apply to drivers over the age of 21 who are facing their first driving while under the influence of alcohol offense. For those who have been charged with a DUI multiple times in Georgia, the consequences will be more severe and far-reaching.

Mistakes happen, and you may have to pay the price for those mistakes. However, it doesn’t have to halt your life and inhibit your ability to move forward. If you have been charged with a DUI in Georgia, then contact an experienced attorney who can help you navigate the legal system. At our criminal defense law firm, we work to advocate for your rights and help you through this challenging time. For more information, contact us today.