Penalties for a DUI Charge & Conviction in Georgia

A feeling of “Oh Sh**!” is expected when you see flashing blue lights in your rearview mirror. If you have been drinking alcoholic beverages, that feeling may be fear. Getting stopped for a DUI in Decatur, GA. may have the potential to create sheer panic. Our criminal defense experts at the SHElaw firm® can squelch some of that panic by helping you from the initial stop to the final resolution.

What Happens if I Have Been Drinking and Get Stopped?

Answer the questions the officer asks honestly and calmly. Do not elaborate more than necessary, or try to explain yourself. Do not try to talk them out of arresting you. Recorders capture the stop from start to finish with a bodycam, car cam, or both.

Anything you do or say can be used against you in court and will be. You do not want to mention arrest before the officer says it. The officer will ask you to perform field sobriety tests, or “just some simple little tests” You do not have to submit to these. They have proven to be unreliable in the past. There are no requirements to perform these tests, and no repercussions if you do not.

These tests can reveal drug use when the BAC registers lower than .08. Be polite and answer the questions posed by the officer. Do not argue, do not offer possible reasons for your difficulties, or divulge information that is not requested.

How Will the Arrest, Booking, and Incarceration Go?

The officer and any additional officers that join him from the Georgia DUI Task Force have determined you to be an impaired driver. They will place you under arrest, cuff your wrists behind your back, and put you in the back seat of the police car.

The officer will read your Miranda Rights and the Georgia Implied Consent to you. Listen carefully. The Georgia Implied Consent is very important. The officer will request that you perform a breathalyzer test.

The blood alcohol content measures the level of alcohol present in your system, and it is indicated in your blood and your breath. If the BAC is .08 or above for an adult or .02 for a minor, the officer will arrest you for DUI.

If you refuse to submit to the breathalyzer, the officer can still get a court order to draw blood and get the BAC. You can get an independent draw done, but they will follow it up with an order for a blood draw of their own immediately following yours.

You will be forfeiting your license for one year if your BAC results are .08 or above if you refuse to blow at the scene. The officer will then transport you to the detention facility.

There you will be booked, fingerprinted, and have a mugshot taken. Jail time for a DUI arrest in the state of Georgia is 24 hours minimum.

You will be sent to intake for clothing and bedclothes, and assigned a bunk. You eat when instructed, sleep when ordered, and follow the activities of the other inmates until your court time.

When Will I See a Judge?

At some time after 24 hours, you will appear before a judge that will determine your fate. To start with, you will have to surrender your driver’s license to the Clerk of Court.

The suspension will automatically be for 30 days or more. Your fine will be between $300 to $5000. That is in addition to the expenses charged for the bond and bureaucracy. Payment of this amount will have to be agreed on before you can leave if the judge allows you to be discharged on that day.

If the amount is more than you and your family can pay, a bail bondsman can help you with this. Second or subsequent DUI penalties can be severe.

Fines of $5,000, five years jail time, a felony conviction, up to five years suspension of driver’s privileges, and confiscation of your vehicle are common.

What Should I Do Immediately After My Release from Jail?

You must explain your absence to family members and possibly your employer. These types of tragedies always seem to happen at the worst of times. It is not easy to explain away a loss of 24 hours.

You may lose your job automatically for missing a day’s work and not calling in. That can alienate loved ones that blame you for their financial difficulties. You will also be without a driver’s license for at least 30 days.

You could end up with a felony on your record that can impact employment options, credit ratings, and future travel plans. It is crucial that you find a defense attorney at this time to begin working on your case.

Image is of Shequel Ross, owner of SHElaw firm®, DUI Defense Lawyer in Decatur, Georgia

Your DUI Lawyer Can:

File an appeal for hardship needs with the court to request a decrease in your license suspension period. This request is one reason that it pays to be well-behaved and cooperative during your stop by the officer and at the initial court ruling. You are more likely to get your license back quicker if you are respectful.


Advise you on the pros and cons of installing an ignition interruption device. An IID is a monitor installed on your car or truck that requires you to register a passing blow prior to starting your vehicle. There are some real advantages to having the IID installed, like continuing to drive, but there are some disadvantages too.

The decision should not be made uninformed. If you decide to install the device, you must get training on it, pay for the initial installation, get an IID license, and pay for monthly monitoring every month until your removal time.

If you have consumed alcohol, the monitor will display FAIL and will not allow the ignition to start. If you register too many fails or have someone else blow for you, the program discontinues and your license suspends. There are also erroneous failures.

The blow must meet the IID’s satisfaction. Different models and companies have different rules and requirements. The manufacturers are certified by the Georgia Department of Motor Vehicles.


Review all records for a reason to request complete dismissal of the charges. The arrest may have been illegal due to a procedural mistake, or a lack of proper communication of rights or regulations. A dismissal will get your record cleared, your driver’s license reinstated immediately, and even some of the money you paid refunded.


Identify the best defense for your case. Your Basic Constitutional Rights may have been violated at some step in your processing.

Did an officer violate your basic constitutional rights at some step in your arrest or processing? The official results may have been inadequate for the charges they brought against you. Were there simple, but required steps overlooked in your arrest or booking?

At the SHElaw firm®, we know what violations to look for and what procedures must be followed. We review your tapes as many times as needed to identify issues that need addressing.

We work with you, not just for you. Our team will consult you when considering ideas. We ask for your help as we develop your case. Your input is crucial, and we need open lines of communication to offer the best defense.

Get in Touch with a DUI Defense Lawyer as Soon as Possible

Retain legal counsel as early as possible following your DUI arrest. Many details and deadlines need addressing promptly. Our goal is that you get every opportunity available to you. We make sure you are aware of any deadlines relevant to your case and our recommendations on how to handle them.

We provide the knowledge, tools, and support you may need. Our team will do everything they can to put you in the best position for your court date.

At SHElaw firm®, we guarantee that to each and every one of our clients. Call us today at 470-378-1162 to schedule a consultation.

SHE Doesn’t Lose!

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