What Happens after a DUI?

After receiving a DUI conviction, a driver should be aware of the penalties that may arise in the future, as well as the potential options for restoring one’s ability to drive.

Although laws vary from state to state, additional DUI convictions can lead to increased complications, including potential jail time. In the case of a BAC exceeding state-established limits for high levels, child endangerment, chemical or breath test refusal, damage, or injury, a DUI sentence enhancement may be imposed. Sentence enhancements include a longer license suspension, jail time, mandatory classes, and other increased punishments.

Some states offer a provisional hardship license, wherein a driver may, under certain stipulations, drive to work or school following a DUI license suspension. Stipulations may include taking alcohol and safety classes, meeting with a probation officer, consenting to an ignition interlock device, and many other measures to protect the safety of the driver and community.

For more information about specific state regulations following a DUI conviction, visit an attorney or local law office.

About the Author:

Michael Vereen III is an attorney in the Canton, Georgia, area with over 20 years of experience as a sole practitioner. Mr. Vereen focuses particularly on bankruptcy, criminal, and DUI cases, and he is a member of the Georgia Bar Association.

Advertisements

Georgia’s DUI Laws

Before pleading guilty to a DUI (driving under the influence) charge, it remains in your best interest to consult with an attorney who specializes in these matters. At the very least, you should understand Georgia’s DUI laws. Law enforcement has the benefit of experience and the resources of the state prosecutor, and a DUI conviction stays on your criminal record permanently. Lack of preparation on your part can cause serious ramifications for the rest of your life.

First of all, the well-known 0.08 blood alcohol reading applies only to certain individuals. Those under the age of 21 must have a blood alcohol content below 0.02; otherwise, they may be charged with a “DUI – Less Safe” under state laws. In addition, the operators of commercial vehicles may not have a blood alcohol content above 0.04. The 0.08 limit applies only to individuals over the age of 21 operating private vehicles.

Secondly, law enforcement officials can charge an individual with more than one DUI at once. Officers can issue DUIs for alcohol or drug use, including both prescription and illegal drugs. The court may convict the individual of separate charges for each substance, leading to more than one sentence.

In Georgia, the first DUI offense is often considered a simple misdemeanor. Limits are imposed on this benefit, however, based on a five-year “look back” period into the defendant’s criminal record. Previous guilty or nolo contendere pleas prevent persons from receiving this special treatment. In addition, drivers with blood alcohol levels over 0.15 remain ineligible.

Repeat offenders face mandatory minimum punishment increases for each offense within the last five years. However, most judges look back at the entire criminal record, including convictions from other states, when deciding on a sentence. They can and often do impose more stringent sentences than the minimum. Any conviction that resulted from a guilty plea or verdict, or from a nolo contendere plea, counts as a previous offense.

Also keep in mind that, should you receive community service or probation, you maintain responsibility for paying for the costs of these activities on a monthly basis, instituting a de facto fine. In addition, should you fail to meet the requirements of your sentence, you may be placed in jail.

Rather than a minor penalty or fine, a DUI conviction constitutes a serious, criminal offense. In order to prevent a potential DUI conviction from permanently affecting your life, contact an attorney as soon as possible.

First-Time Offenders: What to Expect after a Georgia DUI

As a resident of Canton, Georgia, who is dedicated to serving the needs of fellow members of the community, attorney Michael Vereen advocates for the legal rights of those who are involved with a bankruptcy, DUI, or criminal case in Georgia. Since 1989, the year Michael Vereen gained membership to the State Bar of Georgia, he has served individuals in need of legal representation through a private practice in which he remains the sole practitioner. While a large portion of his practice is dedicated to bankruptcy law, Michael Vereen also offers his services to individuals who have been arrested under the suspicion of a DUI charge in the Cobb and Cherokee counties of Georgia, as well as some additional surrounding areas.

Those who have been charged with a DUI for the first time can expect severe consequences. Individuals can be arrested for a DUI in two manners, through being classified as a “less safe” driver who appears to be influenced by alcohol or drugs while driving, or by taking a DUI test that returns an unlawful amount of alcohol (.08 blood alcohol level, or BAC) in the individual’s system.

If a first-time offender is arrested on either type of charge, he or she faces between $300 and $1,000 worth of statutory fines. First-time offenders must serve 24 hours of jail time (if their blood alcohol level is tested at or above .08), and can face anywhere between 10 days and 12 months, depending on their sentence and possible suspended jail time. Those over the age of 21 must complete 40 hours of community service, while first-time DUI defendants under the legal drinking age face at least 20 hours of community service. First-time DUI offenders also run the risk of losing their driver’s license, which can be suspended for anywhere between four months to a year. Those who refuse to take a DUI test will automatically receive a one-year suspension of their driver’s license.