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Atlanta Criminal Defense Lawyers > Blog > DUI > Georgia Is One of the Toughest States for DUI: Here’s Why

Georgia Is One of the Toughest States for DUI: Here’s Why

Drunk driving is still a very real problem in the United States. It not only costs money, but it costs lives as well. In 2015, drunk driving was the cause of just under 30 percent of all vehicle fatalities. Approximately 10,000 people die each year as a result of drunk driving, and the total monetary cost is over $40 billion. Although drunk-driving related fatalities are down compared to a decade ago, they are still considered high.

Even though the behavior is a problem across each state, some take a tougher stance on driving under the influence than others. When it comes to penalties for those convicted of drunk driving, Arizona is the toughest, followed by Georgia. Alaska, Kansas and Oklahoma round out the top five. States considered to have the least harsh penalties include Maryland, Idaho, North Dakota, Ohio and South Dakota.

The Newest DUI Penalty Data

WalletHub looked at each state with regards to their enforcement of and penalties for driving under the influence. Here’s some of the data that they found that reveals the true costs of DUIs:

  1. Hiring an Uber driver to take you from Philadelphia to Washington D.C. is cheaper than an average DUI fine. When it comes to the average cost of a second DUI, you could travel from New York to Washington, D.C.

  2. There are 44 states that allow for an automatic license suspension when someone is arrested for DUI, including Georgia. The case does not have to go to court for the accused person to lose their license.

  3. In Georgia, and 36 other states, a person convicted of driving under the influence is court-ordered to undergo an alcohol-abuse assessment and/or professional treatment.

  4. In some states, a DUI conviction will be removed from a criminal record after six years or more. In five states, DUI convictions are never removed from a criminal record. Georgia is one of the states in which you can never have a DUI expunged.

  5. In Georgia, a person faces a minimum of 10 days in jail for their first DUI conviction. The minimum amount of time a person faces for a second conviction is 90 days. The fourth DUI is an automatic felony, and an old DUI will be considered for 10 years in the event of any new DUIs.

  6. Conversely, in South Dakota, one of the “easiest” DUI states, there is no minimum jail sentence for a first or second DUI. A third DUI is considered a felony, and an old DUI will have an impact on a new DUI for 10 years.

Penalties for DUI in Georgia

The penalties in Georgia for a DUI conviction depend largely on how many times you have been convicted of the offense previously. Here is a breakdown of what you can expect if you are convicted of driving under the influence in the state.

  1. First Offense

The first time you are convicted of DUI in Georgia, you could be sentenced for up to a year behind bars. Your fines will range from $300 to $1,000, and your license will be suspended for one year.

  1. Second Offense

The second time you are convicted of DUI, you may be sentenced from 3 days to one year in jail. Your fines will be between $600 and $1,000, and your license will be suspended for three years. In addition, the court may order that you install an interlock ignition device on your vehicle.

  1. Third Offense

If you are convicted for a third offense, you may be sentenced to jail for 15 days to one year. Your fines may reach $5,000, and your license could be suspended for five years. You will be ordered to install an interlock ignition device on your vehicle.

  1. Fourth Offense

The penalties for a fourth conviction are similar to that of a third, but you will be facing imprisonment of between one and five years. Your license will be suspended indefinitely, and you will be ordered to install an interlock ignition device on your vehicle.

It should be noted that the “lookback” period for DUI convictions is 10 years. This means that if you are convicted of a DUI and had been convicted more than 10 years prior, your newest conviction will be looked at as your first.

The Real Costs of a DUI

The costs of a DUI conviction go far beyond those that you may be ordered to pay by a court. They follow you longer than a jail sentence. If you are convicted of a DUI, you may find it difficult or impossible to hold certain professional licenses. Your reputation within the community may be damaged beyond repair. You could lose your insurance coverage or be forced to pay higher premiums than the average driver. While a conviction is problematic, it is not something that goes away once you pay your fines and serve your time.

Talk to a DeKalb County DUI Lawyer Today

If you are arrested for driving under the influence in DeKalb County, you could have a long fight in your future. Georgia is one of the strictest states for the crime, meaning you need the experience of a knowledgeable DUI attorney on your side. Your reputation and livelihood are on the line. This is definitely not a battle you want to take on by yourself.

Reach out to Hawkins, Spizman Fortas today for a free case evaluation. We have over twenty years of experience defending cases like yours, and we are ready to put that experience to work for you. We understand that a DUI conviction can follow you for life, and we want to help ensure that you are not negatively impacted forever because of one mistake. Call our office today.

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