Driving under the influence convictions carry severe penalties in Georgia. Depending on the circumstances of the case, even a first offense may result in jail time.

If you are facing a DUI charge, understand the potential punishments and take steps to protect your legal rights.

First-time DUI penalties

Fines for a first DUI offense range from $300 to $1,000. You will also receive a mandatory minimum of 40 hours of community service, jail time of up to a year and license suspension of up to a year with a $210 reinstatement fee.

Penalties for second DUI

For a second DUI within five years of the first conviction, you will receive a mandatory minimum of 48 hours in jail with a possible jail sentence of 90 to 365 days. Fines range from $600 to $1,000. License suspension extends up to three years with a $210 reinstatement fee. Upon reinstatement, you must install an ignition interlock device in your car at your own cost. Second DUI also carries mandatory clinical substance abuse evaluation and potential treatment at your expense as well as at least 30 days mandatory community service.

Third DUI offense penalties

Another DUI within five years of a second conviction results in mandatory jail time of at least 15 days, license revocation for five years, 30 days mandatory community service and mandatory substance abuse evaluation and treatment. Your name, photograph and address will appear in your local newspaper at your expense and the Department of Motor Vehicle Safety will seize your license plate. Fines range from $1,000 to $5,000.

Additional penalties

Other fines and penalties associated with DUI may include the following:

  • Up to $200 fine for breaking the state’s open container law
  • Graduated license delay for 12 months for drivers ages 15 to 21 convicted of driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.02% or higher

When you receive a DUI charge, carefully document the circumstances of the arrest. Officer error, procedural abnormalities and other factors could result in reduction of penalties or even dismissal of your case.