A driving under the influence (DUI) charge in Georgia can be very embarrassing for the person arrested. Many people do not realize until the police officer pulls them over that they were not in the right state to drive. Others may not actually be over the limit and might face arrest due to factors that may look concerning to a police officer.
A Georgia DUI charge can lead to jail time and thousands of dollars in combined fines and court costs. Someone who pleads guilty has a criminal record that shows up whenever employers or other parties conduct background checks. A judge can also suspend someone’s driver’s license over a DUI conviction in Georgia. In fact, license suspension is often a key component of the penalties imposed by the courts.
The exact penalties depend on someone’s driving record
Certain factors increase the possible penalties for a DUI offense. A history of other recent impaired driving charges is one of the main considerations. The judge hearing someone’s case will consider aggravating factors and the defendant’s record when imposing a sentence.
Someone without any recent violations faces the most lenient penalties. If this DUI charge is someone’s first offense in the last five years, they could lose their license for up to a year. However, some first-time offenders can apply for license reinstatement after serving the first 120 days of their suspension.
A second DUI within five years of the first will result in more serious penalties, including a longer license suspension. Someone could lose their license for up to three years. Early reinstatement is possible but may require the installation of an ignition interlock device. A third conviction within a five-year period could result in a five-year license revocation.
Being unable to drive can affect someone’s daily life, career and social relationships. Only those who avoid a conviction can know with certainty that their license privileges will remain intact. The possibility of worse penalties with each subsequent offense is a good reason to defend against even a first-time DUI charge in Georgia. Reviewing the situation that led to a DUI arrest with a skilled criminal defense attorney can help someone evaluate possible defense strategies.